Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker: A Guide to Rules, Strategy, and Winning


Caribbean Stud Poker, also known as Casino Stud Poker, is a popular casino table game that has been around since the 1980s. It’s a variant of traditional poker, which I’ve written about, but instead of playing against other players, you play against the house. This game is known for its simplicity and the potential for big payouts, which makes it a favorite among casino-goers.

The game starts with each player making an ante bet. Then, each player and the dealer get five cards each. Players can see all of their cards but only one of the dealer’s cards. The goal is to have a better poker hand than the dealer. If you think your hand is good, you make an additional bet. If not, you fold and lose your ante. The dealer needs to have a qualifying hand for the game to proceed; otherwise, players win their ante bet. There’s also a progressive jackpot feature in some versions of the game, which adds to the excitement.

Quick Tip for Caribbean Stud Poker

Always check the dealer’s visible card before making a decision; it can greatly influence your strategy.

Rules for playing Caribbean Stud Poker

Understanding the rules is crucial for anyone who wants to play Caribbean Stud Poker. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

  1. Players make an ante bet and have the option to place a side bet for the progressive jackpot (depending on specific casino rules).
  2. Each player and the dealer receive five cards face down, except for one dealer card that’s face up.
  3. Players look at their cards and decide whether to fold or raise. If they fold, they lose their ante bet. If they raise, they must place a bet double the size of their ante.
  4. The dealer reveals their hand after all players have made their decisions. The dealer must have an ace and a king or higher to qualify.
  5. If the dealer does not qualify, players win even money on their ante bet, and the raise bet is returned.
  6. If the dealer qualifies and beats a player’s hand, the player loses both the ante and raise bets.
  7. If the dealer qualifies and the player has a better hand, the player wins even money on the ante and the raise bet is paid out according to the game’s paytable.
  8. If the player’s hand qualifies for the progressive jackpot side bet, they may win additional payouts or the entire jackpot, depending on their hand.

Equipment and Setup for Caribbean Stud Poker

The game is played on a special table similar to a blackjack table, with spots for players to place their ante, raise, and jackpot bets. A single deck of 52 cards is used, and there’s also a slot for the progressive jackpot side bet. Before the game starts, each player makes their ante bet and decides whether to participate in the progressive jackpot.

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Playing Caribbean Stud Poker involves a few key steps:

  1. Key Game Mechanics: The game combines elements of poker hand rankings with the simplicity of playing against the dealer.
  2. Setup: Players make their ante bets and optional jackpot bets. Cards are shuffled and dealt.
  3. Gameplay: After receiving cards, players decide to fold or raise based on their hand and the dealer’s visible card.
  4. End of the Game: The dealer reveals their hand, and outcomes are determined based on whether the dealer qualifies and who has the better hand.

How to Win at Caribbean Stud Poker

Winning at Caribbean Stud Poker requires a mix of luck and strategy. Knowing when to fold or raise is key. The odds of winning can vary, but the house edge is typically around 5%. Understanding poker hand rankings and the dealer’s qualifying hands can help you make better decisions. The progressive jackpot side bet has a high house edge but offers the chance for a large payout.

Best Strategies for playing Caribbean Stud Poker

To increase your chances of winning, consider these strategies:

  • Always raise with a pair or higher.
  • Fold with less than the dealer’s qualifying hand (ace-king).
  • Consider the dealer’s visible card when deciding to fold or raise.
  • Be cautious with the progressive jackpot bet due to its high house edge.


There are several variations of Caribbean Stud Poker around the world. Some casinos offer different payouts or side bets, and the rules for the dealer’s qualifying hand may vary. It’s important to understand the specific rules of the game you’re playing.


Good scenarios include having a strong hand like a flush or full house, which gives you a high chance of winning. Bad scenarios involve having a hand that’s lower than the dealer’s qualifying hand. In these cases, it’s usually best to fold and minimize losses.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Caribbean Stud Poker

  1. Q: What should I do if I have a weak hand?
    A: If your hand is weaker than the dealer’s qualifying hand, it’s generally best to fold.
  2. Q: Can I bluff in Caribbean Stud Poker?
    A: No, bluffing is not a part of this game since you’re playing against the house, not other players.
  3. Q: Is the progressive jackpot worth it?
    A: The jackpot offers a chance for a big win, but the house edge is high, so it’s a personal choice based on your risk tolerance.

For more information on Caribbean Stud Poker, check out these resources: