Thanks to easy-to-understand rules and good odds, Caribbean Stud is one of the most popular table games available online. However, before you join millions of fans and start wagering real cash, make sure you understand rules and strategies. This will significantly improve your chances of winning and make the gaming experience far more enjoyable.
The objective in Caribbean Stud Poker is to use five cards dealt to form a higher-ranking poker hand than that of a dealer. All of your five cards are shown face up but you'll get to see only one of the dealer's cards. Your opponent has to get at least an Ace and King to qualify, and in case they don't, you'll automatically win even money on the ante. Otherwise, winner is whoever holds a higher-ranking hand, unless it's a tie and high card wins. Making an additional bet makes you eligible for a progressive jackpot, with the payout depending on the rank of your poker hand.
Same as in other table games, understanding payouts allows you to assess risk vs reward, so make sure to familiarise yourself with the paytable before starting to place real money bets. In the main game, you'll be paid:
Royal Flush 100:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Four of a Kind 20:1
Full House 7:1
Three of a Kind 3:1
Two Pair 2:1
One Pair 1:1
High Card 1:1
As mentioned above, progressive jackpot payouts depend on your hand only. If you were lucky enough to score Royal Flush, and providing you placed the side bet, you'll be paid 100% of the jackpot amount. Straight Flush delivers 10%, Four of a Kind R4,000, Full House R800, and Flush R600.
Strategy – Do's
The most important decision you need to make is whether you should call or fold the hand you've been dealt. There are a few basic rules as to what one should and shouldn't do, and a couple of tips for more advanced players.
The basic strategy is simple: always raise on a pair or higher, and always fold if you're holding less than the dealer's qualifying hand (in this case Ace +King).
It gets a bit more complicated if what you've got is an Ace – King combo. In this case you should stay in the game, but only raise if:
- Your third card is a Queen or a Jack and the dealer shows an Ace or a King
- Your third card is a Queen or a Jack and the dealer's hole card is any card from 2 to 5
- Your third card is a Queen and the fourth one is better than the dealer's hole card
- If the dealer's face-up card is a Queen or lower and makes a pair with a card in your hands
As far as the progressive side bet goes, there's no reason why you shouldn't play it as long as you're aware of the odds (you'll only be paid for Flush or higher) and the size of the jackpot justifies the investment. There are many who call this side bet „a sucker’s bet“. On the other hand, there are those who play it and win. An additional bet might be worth the risk when Royal Flush delivers a 6-figure amount on top of 100:1 standard payout, and even the 10% offered by Straight Flush can in this case make a significant impact on your bankroll.
Strategy – Don'ts
When it comes to most common mistakes, inexperienced players are likely to do one of two things:
- Play weak hands. Unless you have a minimum of an Ace and a King, the only way you’ll win is if the dealer gets nothing. Playing weak hands will provide occasional wins, as the dealer's hand doesn't qualify about 44% of the time, but you will surely lose money in the long run.
- Fold a low pair. Playing with a low pair can still make you a winner as it will not only deliver when the dealer holds nothing, but also beats their minimum qualifying hand (Ace King). This makes your chances good enough to justify staying in the game.
As with all other skill-based casino games, the way to master Caribbean Stud Poker is to practice. Springbok provides a free play option which you can exploit to master the rules and the strategy before you start wagering real money.