Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the simplest casino games to learn. A novice can feel comfortable playing within minutes of sitting at a table. In fact, over the last several years, Caribbean Stud has grown in popularity due largely to its straightforward rules. It has also attracted thousands of gambling fans because it lets players place side bets on a progressive jackpot.
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On this page, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of Caribbean Stud to help you get started. We’ll explain the rules and describe how to play the game (including how to make the progressive side bet). You’ll also learn basic strategy, odds, and a few useful details about the house edge.
KickAssPoker.com’s Online Caribbean Stud Guide
- How to Play Caribbean Stud
- The Progressive Side Bet
- Basic Caribbean Stud Strategy and Odds
- Caribbean Hold’em
- How to Play Caribbean Hold’em
- Side Bets in Caribbean Hold’em
- Basic Caribbean Hold’em Strategy
- Caribbean Holdem vs. Caribbean Stud
- Places To Play Real Money Caribbean Stud Online
How To Play Caribbean Stud
Like Let It Ride and 3 Card Poker, Caribbean Stud is played between you and the dealer. Each hand is comprised of two bets: the ante and your raise. Once you place your ante bet, your cards are dealt face upward. With the exception of one card, the dealer’s hand is dealt face downward. Your decision whether to raise (by doubling your ante) is based on your hand and the dealer’s revealed card.
If you decide to fold, you’ll lose your ante. If you decide to raise, the dealer’s four downward-facing cards are turned over and the two hands are compared. The dealer must qualify with an Ace-King combo or better in order to beat your hand.
If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you’re paid even (1:1) on your ante and your raise is returned to you, regardless of your hand. If the dealer qualifies and beats your hand, you’ll lose both your ante and your raise. Alternatively, if you have a higher-ranking hand than the dealer, you’re paid on your ante and your raise. The ante is always paid out at 1:1 while your raise is paid out based on the pay table. We play Caribbean Stud at Bodog Casino, which uses the following table:
Royal Flush: 200:1
Straight Flush: 50:1
4 of a Kind: 20:1
Full House: 7:1
3 of a Kind: 3:1
Two Pair: 2:1
One Pair or less: 1:1
The house edge carried by Bodog’s pay table is 5.207%. This is slightly better than the 5.224% that you’ll find in most U.S. land-based casinos. If you like the live action of land based casinos you can also get in the games with online casinos that offer Real Money Caribbean Stud Games.
The Progressive Side Bet
The side bet in Caribbean Stud is a $1 wager that you can place on a Caribbean Stud progressive jackpot. It pays out for flushes, full houses, fours of a kind, straight flushes, and royal flushes. This side bet is offered in nearly all land-based and online casinos, though the payouts vary depending upon where you’re playing. Bodog Casino uses the following pay table:
Royal Flush: 100% of the jackpot
Straight Flush: 10% of the jackpot
Four of a Kind: $500
Full House: $100
The side bet is entirely exclusive of your ante and raise. Whether the dealer qualifies or not is irrelevant. Whether the dealer’s hand beats your hand or not is also irrelevant. That said, we suggest avoiding this bet because the odds are astronomical (not in your favor).
Basic Caribbean Stud Strategy And Odds
Though the rules for Caribbean Stud Poker are simple and easy to learn, playing with the proper strategy can be complex. If your hand contains a pair or higher, you should always raise. If you have anything less than an Ace-King combo, you should fold.
Caribbean Stud Strategy becomes complicated when your hand contains an Ace-King combo (assuming you’re not holding a winning hand). Your decision whether to raise will be based upon the dealer’s up-card and your other three cards. There are hundreds of scenarios. For example, suppose you’re holding an Ace-King and your other three cards are a Jack-8-7. If the dealer’s up card is a 6, optimal strategy demands that you fold. If the up-card is a 7, you would raise.
If you have ever seen the strategy grid used by blackjack players, you can imagine the number of scenarios possible for a 5-card hand. The grid used to play Caribbean Stud according to optimal strategy is much larger. Many experts throw up their hands and suggest players simply raise an Ace-King or better, and fold everything else.
Caribbean Holdem (also called Casino Hold’em) is a variation of Texas Hold’em. It is played in land-based casinos throughout the world, including distant countries such as Morocco, Romania, and Holland. Many online casinos that use the Real Time Gaming or Playtech platforms also offer the game.
There are three main reasons that Caribbean Hold Em has become popular. First, the house edge is relatively small if you play according to basic strategy. We’ll describe the edge and basic playing strategy below. Second, the gameplay is familiar to millions of Texas Holdem fans. They can migrate to a Caribbean Hold’em table and instantly feel comfortable. Third, the rules are simple for beginners. If you have never played Casino Holdem, you can learn the rules and start enjoying the game within minutes.
How To Play Caribbean Holdem
Caribbean Holdem Poker pits you against the dealer. Once you choose your ante bet, two cards are dealt to the dealer (face up), two cards are dealt to you (face down), and three community cards are dealt (face up). Traditional hold’em fans will recognize the last three cards as the “flop.”
After the initial cards have been dealt, you’ll choose whether to raise your ante (by doubling it), or fold. Your decision is based upon whether you think you can make a 5-card hand that outranks the dealer’s hand. If you fold, you’ll lose your ante. If you raise, two additional cards are dealt face up. These two cards are known as the “turn” and “river” in traditional hold’em.
Once the “turn” and “river” cards have been dealt, your original two cards are combined with the five community cards to make the highest ranking 5-card hand possible. The dealer’s original two cards are used to do the same. Then, both 5-card hands are compared.
The dealer must have at least a pair of fours to qualify. If he does not qualify, your ante is paid out based on the pay table and your raise is pushed back to you. If the dealer’s hand qualifies and beats your hand, you’ll lose your ante and raise. If you tie, both bets are pushed. If your hand beats the dealer’s hand, your ante is paid out according to the pay table, and your raise is paid out 1:1.
Side Bets In Caribbean Hold Em
Side bets come in two flavors depending upon where you’re playing the game. If you’re playing in a land-based casino (we’ve also observed this in a few online casinos), the side bet is known as a AA+ Bonus Bet. Payouts are based on the 5-card hand consisting of your original two cards and the flop (the first three community cards). Aces or better win. All other hands lose. There are two pay tables commonly used for this bet; one carries a house edge of 6.26% and the other carries the edge at 6.40%.
The second type of side bet in Caribbean Holdem is the progressive. If your 5-card hand (again, combining your two cards and the flop) makes a flush or better, you’ll earn either a defined dollar payout or a portion of a progressive jackpot. Here is the most common table used for the progressive side bet:
Royal Flush: 100% of the jackpot
Straight Flush: 10% of the jackpot
Four of a Kind: $500
Full House: $100 Flush: $75
The house edge on this bet ranges between 43% and 53%. The bigger the progressive jackpot, the lower the edge. The jackpot needs to reach $55,000 to bring the edge down to 43%. It’s a bad bet either way.
Basic Caribbean Holdem Strategy
Because there are so many possible hands, describing optimal strategy for Caribbean Holdem would require a book. That said, we can give you the following basic blueprint as well as our Caribbean Stud Poker Strategies which is very similar to Caribbean Holdem and will also be able to guide you in the right direction.
If you can make a pair using at least one of your two cards combined with the flop, raise. If you’re holding four cards to either a flush or outside straight (where the missing card is on one of the two ends), raise. You should also raise when one of your player cards is an Ace and the other card is between a four and an Ace. Likewise, raise if one of your cards is a King and the other card is between a seven and a King.
In all other scenarios, fold. You’ll end up raising approximately 82% of your hands.
Caribbean Holdem vs. Caribbean Stud
We’ve mentioned already that Caribbean Holdem is a variation of Texas Holdem and there are many similarities between the two. However, Caribbean Holdem is also a sister game to the popular Caribbean Stud poker and shares a few commonalities with this game as well. We’ve jotted down a few similarities and differences between Caribbean Holdem and Caribbean Stud Poker that we think are worth mentioning.
- Both Caribbean Stud and Caribbean Holdem are a game of the player vs. dealer. (unlike Texas Holdem which is player vs. player)
- Both involve an initial Ante before the cards are dealt and only one round of betting once the cards have been put on the table. This is when the player can either decide to fold (losing his/her ante) or raise (doubling the ante).
- There is a slight player advantage in both of these games due to the dealers hand being revealed to the player before the round of betting.
- These two games both offer progressive jackpots.
- There is a set minimum hand in both of these games in order for the dealer to compete with the player. (pair of 4’s, or Ace-King)
- In Caribbean Holdem, the player does not get to see their hand until the round of betting is over and all the cards have been dealt on the table. Caribbean Stud allows the player to see their cards after they have been dealt and before the round of betting.
- Caribbean Stud uses five cards dealt to both the player and the dealer. Caribbean Holdem uses two cards dealt to the player and dealer and five community cards for each to use.
- In Caribbean Stud, the ranking hand to qualify the dealer to compete is Ace-King. In Caribbean Holdem the qualifying hand is a pair of 4’s or higher.
A combination between Texas Holdem and Caribbean Stud, hence the name Caribbean Holdem, shows many similarities within these three games of poker. Having a basic knowledge of one will allow you to pick up the others quickly and easily. With that said, here are a few places to get started.
Places To Play Real Money Caribbean Stud Online
Most high-profile online casinos offer Caribbean Stud poker to their members. But each site offers a different gambling experience based on their individual features. Our list of recommended casinos focuses on the features we enjoy. They might differ from your preferences, which is why we encourage you to test drive each gambling site for yourself. With that, here are our top online casinos to play Caribbean Stud:
- Bovada – (aka Bodog) They have been around for many years, and have attracted hundreds of thousands of fans with their straightforward sign-up bonus, list of popular casino games, and top-notch customer support. Years ago, Bodog was part of the Real Time Gaming network. Since then, they purchased the source code for the RTG software, and designed their own flavor. Visit Bovada Casino today to grab an unlimited 10% match bonus, which will be added to your account within minutes of making your first deposit. Find more links and information on our Bovada Casino review.
The above will let you enjoy Caribbean Stud poker without risking your own money. Take the opportunity to test drive the playing experience offered.