Caribbean Stud Poker

For years, casinos have been trying to recreate the thrill of poker at its table games, and back in the 1980s, someone finally got it just about right. David Sklansky claims to be that someone, having helped popularize a casino poker game on cruise ships around Aruba. Sklansky’s creation evolved into Caribbean Stud poker, and the game has since become one of the most popular casino games around. Parlors around the world now feature Caribbean Stud on their floors, and you can find it at our recommended online casinos listed below:

How to Play

Caribbean Stud poker is not too dissimilar from your standard five-card stud poker, except for in Caribbean poker, players are wagering against the dealer instead of each other.

Typically, Caribbean Stud games begin with each player placing his or her ante on the table, and also has the option to wager on the game’s progressive jackpot feature — more on that below.

Once all antes have been placed, each player receives five cards, all face down, while the dealer receives five cards and flips one of his face up. Players are not allowed to communicate their cards to each other, and at this point, have the option either to play or fold. In order to play, players must make a raise equal to twice the ante.

After all players have either played or folded, the dealer reveals his four hole cards. In order to qualify, the dealer must have a poker hand of Ace-King or better. If the dealer has this, then his or her hand is compared to that of the players. If a player has a better poker hand, he or she wins and is paid out accordingly. Gamblers get paid even money on their ante, and then usually receive the following payouts on their raise:

  • Royal Flush: 100 to 1
  • Straight Flush: 50 to 1
  • Four of a kind: 20 to 1
  • Full House: 7 to 1
  • Flush: 5 to 1
  • Straight: 4 to 1
  • Three of a kind: 3 to 1
  • Two pair: 2 to 1
  • Pair: 1 to 1

Players can only be paid out on their raises if the dealer qualifies with Ace-King.

Now, for the progressive jackpot: These are triggered by flushes or better. If a player wagers on the progressive jackpot and ends up with either a flush, full house, four of a kind, straight flush or royal flush, they receive an extra payout, with the size of that payday dependent on the table.

Caribbean Stud vs. Poker

The biggest difference between Caribbean Stud and regular poker, obviously, is that players are competing against the dealer instead of each other. This makes for a different social dynamic, for one, as players aren’t looking to bluff or fool each other. It also means that if you’re new to the dynamics of poker — such as the order of winning hands, for instance — Caribbean Stud is an excellent beginner’s game, because others around the table might be able to help you out (although you can’t share your hand with other players during gameplay).

One other advantage is that you don’t have to worry about playing against superior players. In regular poker, one talented player could potentially take all your money from you in a matter of a few hands. Wins and losses in Caribbean Stud are more based on luck than skill — although you do get to control your down destiny some — so it’s a safer gamble for new players.

Playing Caribbean Stud Online

Playing Caribbean Stud online is a very similar experience to playing in a casino, so if you’ve mastered one, playing on the other should be a breeze. We recommend the casinos in the table above for a few reasons. For one, they offer solid versions of Caribbean stud that you’ll enjoy. Secondly, all those casinos offer demo modes so you can practice free Caribbean Stud poker without wagering real money. Lastly, we recommend the welcome bonuses at those casinos, so you’ll get a generally strong experience there even beyond the Caribbean Stud.

Caribbean Stud Tips

Players who use optimal strategy should be able to bring the house edge down to about five percent on their ante bet, making Caribbean Stud a pretty solid table game. Learning the optimal strategy can take some time, but is easier to do in front of a computer screen than at a casino table, and at least learning the basics can go a long way to helping win some money.