Caribbean Poker - the BEST poker

The Caribbean Islands have given us three great table game variations of standard games.  In this tips article, we’ll talk about Caribbean Draw Poker.  As in all the games offered at an online casino such as Springbok, one of the big benefits to players is that you don’t have to give up the game you were playing if you would like to sample another game.

So, check out Caribbean Draw Poker.  If you like it, you will have found another exciting poker based game to play.  If you decide to leave, the game you were playing will be there ready and waiting for you.

How Play Begins

In regular draw poker, all players get five cards unseen by the others.  In online draw poker, both you and the dealer get five cards.  In Caribbean Draw Poker, you get five cards up and the dealer gets one card up and four cards down.  The challenge to you is to first fathom the hand the dealer might have and to raise your bet accordingly.  If you decide to continue, you get to draw up to two cards in an attempt to improve your hand.

Keep in mind that you can fold your hand after the initial deal and there are times when that is your best play.

So, play begins with your bet, usually referred to as the ante bet, and the dealer deals the cards.

Play or Fold

Clearly, you can never be sure what the dealer might have with four cards down. So you have to analyze your own hand.  If you like your hand, you continue by making a second bet that is twice your ante bet.  Then you can draw up to two cards.  If you don’t like your chances after the deal, you can fold and surrender your ante bet.

Let’s assume that you continue.  You place your second bet and decide how many cards, if any, to draw.  Now the dealer has to draw as well.  The dealer doesn’t make deep analyses.  He or she is bound by the rules of the game which are:

  • The dealer must stand on any hand that forms a full hand such as a straight, flush, or full house.  This applies even if you have a flush and the dealer has a straight.  This rule works to your advantage.
  • The dealer draws one card when he has four of a kind or two pair.  In the rare case where you get a hand higher than a full house, the dealer will be bound by the rules and draw to a losing outcome.  Although unusual, this rule also works in your favor.
  • The dealer draws two cards when he has three of a kind.
  • The dealer draws the maximum of two cards with a hand that holds one pair.
  • The dealer draws one card if she has four to a flush or four to a straight
  • The dealer discards his two lowest cards if he doesn’t have a pair or any of the other hands mentioned here.

Determining the Winner

After both you and the dealer have drawn, if you choose to do so, the dealer’s hand is opened.  If you win, you get 1-1 for the ante and your second bet carries a value based on its strength.  We’ll get to that in a moment.

The dealer must have at least a pair of eights to qualify to win.  If he doesn’t have at least a pair of eights, your ante bet will be paid on a 1-1 basis and the second bet is returned to you as a push.  This is one way the house gains a slight advantage.  If you have a great hand, you might not benefit from it because the dealer failed to get the required pair of eights.

Rewards for Winning the Second Bet

Here are the extra payouts for getting a winning hand when the dealer qualifies:

  • For one or two pair: 1-1
  • Three of a kind: 2-1
  • Straight: 3-1
  • Flush: 5-1
  • Full House: 7-1
  • Four of a kind:  20-1
  • Straight Flush: 50-1
  • Royal Flush:  100-1


This area can be fairly complicated so we’ll try to reduce all 22 (!) separate strategic possibilities into fewer to make playing easier.  The easiest way to understand Caribbean Poker strategy is to realize that you can fold if you wish but then you lose your ante bet.  Sometimes, that’s the best decision.  If you bet, you might win, you might lose, you might tie the dealer, or you might win but not qualify for the extra payout because the dealer didn’t qualify with a pair of eights or higher.

  • If you have a five card “made” hand keep it and hope the dealer qualifies.
  • Keep four of a kind, of course.
  • If you have a good hand such as three of a kind, two pair, or a high pair, trade in the cards that are least likely to help you defeat the dealer.  Remember, unlike in video poker where you can draw as many as five cards, in Caribbean Poker you can draw only up to two cards.
  • What happens when you have three or four good cards but you don’t yet have a powerful hand?  Go for the highest possible hand.  Go for a straight flush or a royal flush if the cards are connected.  Draw two to a flush or one to a straight.
  • If you have four to an inside straight, draw two cards and keep high cards.
  • What if you have a poor hand?  In this situation, it’s important if the dealer’s visible card beats your high card.  In that case, if you pair your high card, the dealer might pair her high card and you’ll lose.
  • However, even if you have a low pair, you might either win or push with the dealer.  Let’s say you have a low pair.  That pair won’t win if the dealer qualifies.  But you might get a second pair or three of a kind or if you’re really lucky a full house or four of a kind.  If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you win your ante on a 1-1 basis and push on the extra bet.

High Payouts

Caribbean Poker is so popular because it has a very high payout and because it’s so different from most other poker variations.  It’s a great game to add to your poker repertoire.