In Caribbean stud poker, the aim of the game is to accumulate a better hand than the dealer. The stronger your hand, the more you are likely to win, but it is rarely as straight-forward as this due to the house edge of 5.2 per cent. Here are some tips for improving your success rate when playing Caribbean stud poker.

The Basic Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy
You are dealt five cards, and must win a better hand than the dealer in order to win. It is not as easy as it sounds though, as the dealer must “qualify” with an Ace and a King (or better) before a payout will be allocated to you. This will often mean that your presumed “winnings” do not actually materialize to the extent that you anticipated. Although there can be numerous other players involved in the game at the same time, they are also playing against the dealer and are not in direct competition with you.

The strategy behind Caribbean stud poker is relatively simple. On any pair or better, you should raise as there is a good chance that this will beat the dealer’s hand. If your hand is less than “Ace-King”, it is probably better to fold. Some strategies advocate folding on a hand that is less than “Ace-King-Jack-8-3″ hand. This is termed the “beacon” hand due to the fact that it is the one that is most likely to see you break even. You may not win with this hand, but you are less likely to lose out altogether from a financial viewpoint.

There are certain situations in which it can be advantageous to play an “Ace-King” combination. For example, if you have a hand containing “Ace-King-Queen” or “Ace-King-Jack” and the dealer’s face-up card is either an Ace or a King, you are likely (but not guaranteed) to be in possession of the best “Ace-King” hand. If the dealer’s face-up card is anything from a deuce to a Queen and you have the same card in your hand, he or she is less likely to be able to make a pair. If your hand contains “Ace-King-Queen” and the dealer’s face-up card is on the low side (for example, anything from deuce to five), it is likely that your hand will beat the dealer’s hand. If you can use the best strategy as far as the “Ace-King” combination is concerned, you can reduce the house edge to around 2.5 per cent.

Don’t place large bets
Given the house edge of 5.2 per cent, it is better to bet smaller amounts in Caribbean stud poker as there is a good chance that you will lose. If you place several smaller bets instead of one or two large bets, you can limit your losses more effectively.

Avoid progressive bets
Many casinos offer a progressive “side” bet in which you can claim a huge jackpot if you win a game with a “flush”. As tempting as these bets may be, the house edge of at least 22 per cent means that you are quite literally throwing your money away.