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Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy


Caribbean Stud is one of the more recent casino games. The game was first played on Aruba and on ships circling the islands. With the popularity of the game growing, it was soon adopted by the Las Vegas casinos. You only need to make one decision in this game, but it can make or break you so it’s best to learn the optimal Caribbean stud poker strategy to ensure you make the right call at that all-important moment.



What Should You Know About Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy?

You can learn a basic strategy or more advanced strategy;

Your only aim is to get a hand stronger than the dealer's hand;

You can play the progressive side bet for fun, but the house has a much greater advantage. 

Caribbean Stud Strategy – Your Objective

As a player, you only make one choice in Caribbean Stud: Whether or not to continue with your hand when you’ve seen your five cards and the dealer’s up-card. This first and only decision is obviously important as it will determine the entire outcome of the game. What you want to accomplish is to get a hand which is stronger than the dealer’s hand, who is the only one you are playing against. You have to determine whether you think your five cards are good cards or not and can beat the dealer.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

optimal caribbean stud strategyYour level of skill, how committed you are to the game, how often you play, and how much you want to bet when you play online will determine what kind of strategy is best for you to learn and take into the game when you are playing. You can learn a basic strategy to get you going and if you are not too invested in the game and want to have a bit of fun. Read further below for a higher level strategy if you want to place some bigger bets and really want to get into the game. 

Obviously, first thing is first and you do need to learn how to play Caribbean stud poker by reading some rules first. If you are not yet acquainted with the hand rankings also used in regular poker you can go over them as well. But once that is done and dusted you can lower the house edge by playing with one of the strategies outlined here.

Basic Raising Strategy

1. Fold any hand without a pair or better that doesn't contain at least an ace and a king (same as the dealer's qualifying hand.)

The folding part is easy enough – it's the unpaired ace-king hands that are difficult to play. As a rule of thumb, you want the dealer's up-card to match one of the cards in your hand in order to raise.

2. Raise with any pair or better - even the small pairs, even though they have a small chance of winning if the dealer qualifies.

In fact, even a raise with a pair of deuces plus low side cards yields positive expectation in the long run – even though it’s very close to breaking even. The dealer will qualify a little over half the time in the long haul – 56% to be exact – so if you have a playable hand, you’re in good shape to beat the dealer.

This strategy is not optimal, but it is very close. The regular gambler will do well just remembering the basic strategy above, and he will only give up a fraction of a percent to the house.

If you don’t even want to remember that while you are playing, at least try to memorize the most simple rule you can possibly remember which is: Raise when you have AKJ83 or better than that, if not fold. The house edge remains practically the same anyway.

More Advanced Strategy

Caribbean stud poker strategy advanced small1) Raise with an AK if you have any of the following situations:

• If the dealer has an A or K and you are holding a Queen or a Jack.
• If the dealer has a 2 through to the Queen card and just one of their cards is a match to yours.
• If the dealer’s card is lower than the fourth highest card and you also are in possession of the Queen card.

2) Fold with less than AK:

• If you look at your hands and you are holding an AK or even worse than that, then fold. The reason being that it’s even below the dealer’s qualifying hand so you will lose out.

Additional Caribbean Poker Strategy Tips

If you follow the advice on this page, you will have a lot of fun and success playing this game online. Apart from the optimal basic and advanced Caribbean Poker Strategy, also try to avoid doing the following:

1) Playing with absolutely no strategy at all
2) Not determining the strength of your hand before deciding to raise or fold.
3) Betting for the sake of betting. This is a common error which sees players lose a lot of money in Caribbean Stud Poker. Bet when you have analysed the hand and determined its strength, not just because you deem it fun to make a bet.

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The Progressive Jackpot Side Bet Optimal Strategy

The progressive-jackpot side bet can certainly add to the excitement, but under normal circumstances, it's not very profitable. You want the jackpot to be quite large in order to play, but if it's large enough, you could even have a positive expectation from the side bet. This also depends on the house rules, but in order to reach break-even in most casinos, the progressive jackpot should contain at least $150,000.

This is rarely the case, and in most online casinos there’s a $10,000 or $5,000 cap on the jackpot. As you may understand, this makes the Caribbean Stud side bet one of the true sucker bets in the casino. On average, the house has a 25% advantage. Ouch!

Caribbean Stud Poker House Edge

Caribbean Stud has a comparatively high house advantage, a little over 5% if you play optimally. It is very similar in fact to the house edge in online roulette. However, if the dealer only pulls non-qualifying cards in his or her hand during the game then you have an advantage of around 17% over the house.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy – The Payout Odds

In order to determine the likelihood of winning in this game, it’s a good idea to understand how many ways you can make a particular hand and the probability that you will be able to win with any particular hand of cards. Look at the payout tables below to learn about the house odds for each hand type. 

Hand Type

No. Of Ways to Make a Hand

House Odds

Royal Flush 4 100:1
Straight Flush 36 50:1
Four of a Kind 624 20:1
Full House 3744 7:1
Flush 5108 5:1
Straight 10200 4:1
Three of a Kind 54912 3:1
Two Pair 123552 2:1
One Pair 1,098240 1:1
No Pair (A-K High) 163,980 N/A
No Pairs (Apart from A-K High) 1,138560 N/A

 Perfect Your Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy by Practicing for Free

This may seem like common knowledge, but just in case you don’t have it in your head yet you should remember that practice makes perfect. The more you play the game, the better you will get at learning when to fold and when to raise, and increase your chances of winning against the dealer and making winnings when you play online. You obviously don’t want to have to use all your hard-earned dollars just to perfect your game performance which is why free games come in handy.

You can play the Caribbean Stud Poker for free here at CasinoToplists, and what’s more, you can play as often as you like until you feel comfortable enough to start playing for money. Keep this guide handy along with the Caribbean Stud rules page when you start out and you will soon get the hang of it. If you are ready to graduate to the big league then select an online casino from the toplists on this page to play Caribbean Stud Poker online. If you don’t know the difference between the online casinos presented read the online casino reviews.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy – FAQs

  What Caribbean Stud Poker strategies can I use when I play online?

Which strategy you use will depend upon how serious you take the game, your budget, how often you want to play, and if you are playing for a bit of casual fun or to become an expert.  You can use a very simple strategy, more advanced strategy, and optimal strategy, all outlined in this article.

  Is it possible to practice Caribbean stud poker online for free before playing for money?

Yes, it is! You can visit our free Caribbean stud poker game on our website to play as often as you like before playing at an online casino for money.  

  Is there a Caribbean Stud Poker optimal strategy I can use?

The optimal strategy is for the more serious of the players, but you can take look at the table on this page and follow the suggestions to know when to fold and when to raise.

  What rules do I need to know before I start playing Caribbean Stud Poker online? 

You will need to know how the hand is played, when to bet, and also the hand ranking in order to play. You can learn this by reading through our Caribbean Stud Poker rules.

Play Caribbean Stud Poker at Your Favorite Online Casino Today!

As said earlier, playing a perfect game is quite complicated, but if you follow the tips in this article you should end up with a 5.3% advantage in the casino’s favor. As you can see, optimal blackjack or good bets in craps, for instance, offer much better odds, but if you feel like playing casino poker, why not give Caribbean Stud a shot. At least it’s better than most slot machines and most wagers in craps and the odds are even on par with American roulette.

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