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Caribbean Stud Poker for Beginners


What Exactly is Caribbean Stud Poker?

 Caribbean stud poker is not dissimilar to 5 stud poker, but in this game, rather than playing against other players as you do in most forms of poker, in Caribbean stud poker, the player is pitted against the dealer.

There is no element of bluffing in this variant of poker – either your cards beat the house or not, and the main strategy is focused on knowing when to bet and when to fold.

Also, there is a progressive bet, usually one dollar per player per hand, which is added to a jackpot, which the player wins or wins a part of it depending on the hand he or she has.

Image Credit: Steven Depolo

How to Get Started?

On first impressions, the rules for playing Caribbean stud poker seem tricky, but it’s not so difficult once you get it, and our Caribbean stud poker for beginners guide will definitely help you.

As the player, you make an initial bet called the “ante”. Once you’ve paid this, the dealer will give you five cards and then will deal him or herself five cards with one card up turned.

The player examines the cards and if you have a good hand, then you place a bet, which is twice the value of the ante. If you have a bad hand, you can forfeit and you only lose the ante.

Once the bet is made, the dealer reveals the cards. Now, this is where the game gets interesting. The dealer needs to qualify for action by either having a pair or above, or an ace and a king. Otherwise, only the ante payout is even money. If the dealer doesn’t qualify the player is returned the bet, but nothing more, even if he or she has a royal flush.

If the dealer does qualify, then the player receives a payout from their original bet based on the hand (see table in next section).

Also, each player pays $1 into the pot as part of the progressive bet for each hand. If the player gets a flush or more, than he or she gets a certain share in the pot (see next table).


Basic Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

 The basic rules of Caribbean poker are not difficult, but in order to play well, and just like in draw poker, you have a hierarchy of hands that determine your winnings, so you know whether to bet or not. Also, with the payout rules and the progressive bet, it’s good to know what the deal is here. The order of the hand value is given in the table below, running from high to low from the top:


HandDescriptionBet PayoutProgressive Bet
Royal FlushThis is the highest hand you can get in poker, when you have an: ace, king, queen, jack and 10 in the same suit. 100 to 1100% of jackpot
Straight Flush This consists of 5 cards of the same suit in a sequence. Like 6,7,8,9,10 of spades, for example. 50 to 1 10% of jackpot
Four of a KindRanking just below a straight flush, this set is when you have four of the same valued cards, like four aces or four 5s. It doesn’t matter what the value of the fifth card is. 20 to 1Depends on the country:
Full HouseThis hand is made up of three cards of one denomination and two of another, like three 5s and two 3s. 7 to 1Depends on the country:
FlushThis is when all cards belong to the same suit and not in a sequence. 5 to 1 Depends on the country:
StraightFive cards in a sequence not belonging to the same suit. 4 to 1
Three of a KindThree cards of the same rank, like three 10s, a 2 and a 5. 3 to 1
Two Pairs Two cards of one rank and two cards from another rank, for example: K, K, 10, 10, 2. 2 to 1
One PairThere are two cards of one rank in the set. Like 9, 9, 5, 2, K. 1 to 1
No Pairs


Caribbean Stud Poker Tips and Tricks

 While it’s a mouthful to explain the rules of Caribbean stud poker, playing it and employing basic strategy to win is pretty easy, while advanced strategy is highly complicated and the chances of anyone knowing how to use it is probably zero. However, in spite of that, here are some tips on succeeding in Caribbean stud poker.

  1. Always bet with a pair or higher.
  2. Always fold if you have less than the dealer’s qualifying hand (ace and a king)
  3. Raise if the dealer’s card is a 2 through queen and matches one of your cards.
  4. Raise if the dealer’s card is either an ace or a king and you have a queen or a jack in your hand.
  5. Raise if the dealer’s rank does not match any of your cards, but you have a queen in your hand and the dealer’s card is less than your fourth highest card.


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About the author

Barbara is a German-born Austrian with unresolved identity issues and a degree in Ecology and Nature Conservation. She doesn't have a degree in journalism or any related field, but such details can't keep her from being one of the best.

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