Caribbean Stud Poker

Simple and straightforward, Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the most basic versions of poker offered. It’s easy to learn and fun to play. You can find the game at nearly all online and land-based casinos around.

A simple Game

Caribbean PokerSimple and straightforward, Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the most basic versions of poker offered. It’s easy to learn and fun to play. You can find the game at nearly all online and land-based casinos around.

The rules are not complicated and the game moves fast. This combination makes it an excellent option for gamblers looking for an exciting game to play.

A great thing about Caribbean Stud Poker is that there is no transition period or learning curve when switching from playing at home online to going to the brick and mortar casinos. The only difference is at the casino there are other players sitting around you also playing against the dealer.

At home, there are no other players, nor is there even a dealer. It’s just you and the site. Plus the bag of chips and ice cold soda you might want to have by your side!

Next time you are walking through the casino floor or combing through the online casino lobby, you might be surprised how much you enjoy Caribbean Stud Poker!

Before you start playing and racking up winnings on your account, check out the organized guide we put together on all things Caribbean Stud Poker. From its origin and roots to its rules and where you can play, read on below to learn everything you need to know about this great game.


There is really no definitive truth to how and where Caribbean Stud Poker was started. More than a few people have staked their claim in being the inventor of the game.

David Sklanksy

What we do know is former Poker Professional and gambling specialist David Sklanksy says his version he created he called “Casino Poker” back in 1982 was the true beginning of the game. He states he was unable to patent his game because of the strict laws surrounding gaming patents at the time.

According to Sklanksy, another poker player took his idea and ran to Aruba where he teamed up a casino owner and were able to get the game patented. A few changes to the structure and a name change and poof-Caribbean Stud Poker was born. The trials and tribulations of having his idea stolen have proven to be quite the headache for the David.

The casino owner went on to sell the patent for over $30 million to Mikohn, a large slot machine company at the time. Besides the missed opportunity on that enormous sum of money, Sklanksy had to make a deposition about the entire ordeal. Needless to say, David has not forgotten about the sore subject.

Cruise Ships and Resorts in Aruba

Around the same time in the mid-1980s, several people on a cruise chips in Aruba have said they were the first ones to play the game. Other individuals staying in the resort hotels in Aruba have exclaimed that they were actually the first ones to play the game.

Either way, it is apparent that the beautiful Caribbean island known as Aruba played a large part in the history of where the game was started. Unfortunately, the uncertain history of how and where the game was originated will always be disputed.

When Was the Game Introduced to the Casinos?

It was the early 1990’s that Caribbean Stud Poker had found its way across the waters and into the smoky corridors that are the Las Vegas casinos. By the year 2000 when Online casinos were gaining momentum and becoming popular, Caribbean Stud Poker was being found in the game selection area.

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find casino properties and online casino sites that don’t offer the game.

The rules of Caribbean Stud Poker are fairly easy to understand, especially if you have some background knowledge in other forms of poker.


If you are acquainted with 5-Card Stud Poker, the move into Caribbean Stud Poker will be a breeze. If you have no idea what 5-Card Stud Poker is, that’s ok too. That’s why this guide was created!

In a nutshell, the dealer and player each get dealt five cards. The objective is to have a better hand than the dealer.

Poker Hand Rankings

The Ante

Like many forms of poker, the game starts with the player placing their ante bet. This bet is required before any cards are even dealt. You don’t have the option of placing an ante bet, it is mandatory.

Before the cards are dealt, you do have the option of placing a side bet on the progressive jackpot.

Progressive Jackpot

The progressive jackpot is an exciting element that frankly keeps gamblers engaged. Chasing that chunky amount flashing above you can certainly be addicting.

Progressive jackpots are essentially prize-pools that grow each time the game is played, but the jackpot is not won. The more money put into a game or machine, the more the progressive jackpot rises. Once the jackpot is hit, the winner collects whatever the current progressive jackpot sum is. It is then reset, and the same process continually repeats itself.

After your initial bets, which will vary in amount depending on the stakes you are playing, the dealer deals you five cards.

Five Cards Face Down

The dealer will deal the player five cards face down. Five cards are also dealt to the dealer, with one card being revealed face-up. Now the player is faced with an important decision.

Raise or Fold

This is our first major decision to make during the hand.? Do we just want to forfeit the hand and not lose any more potential money? Or do we like our hand enough to challenge the dealer’s hand?

Folding means we choose not to wager any additional money. We throw our cards away and we wait for the next hand.

Raising means we like our hand and want to wager additional money because we think our hand is better than the dealer’s hand. The raise amount will be twice the amount of the original ante.

Further discussion about which hands we should be looking to continue with and which hands we should fold will be covered in the strategy section below.

Now What? What Hands Qualify, What Do They Pay?

After the player or players have either folded their hands or made a raise, the dealer will open his or her remaining four cards. Here’s is where it is decided on who wins the money.

The Dealer must have a minimum of Ace-King high to be eligible for the pot. That means if the dealer’s five card hand doesn’t have at least a pair, it must include and both ace and a king to qualify. When the dealer doesn’t qualify, player’s win their ante bet and push their raise bet.

Let’s say you ante €5, your raise will be €10. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you win the €5 from the ante bet, and push (break-even) on the €10 raise.

Now, let’s say the dealer does have a qualifying hand. We must beat the dealer’s hand in order to win the pot. If we do, we are awarded our ante bet, and our raise bet is paid out in the following fashion.

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Four of a Kind 20:1
Full House 7:1
Flush 5:1
Straight 4:1
Three-of-a-Kind 3:1
Two Pairs 2:1
One Pair 1:1

Unfortunately, when the dealer beats our hand, we lose both of our bets. When we tie the dealer, we simply push all bets and are returned our wagers from that hand.

If you choose to bet on the progressive jackpot before the hand starts, you will also win money based on the strength of your hand. Be sure to check what these payouts are with the local casino or online site you are playing on. Depending on what region you are playing, these payouts may slightly differ.

Now that you have a good idea how to play and how the betting works, you will need to know what strategies to employ when sitting down to play.

What’s the Best Strategy?

Keep in mind that Caribbean Stud Poker is a form of poker played against the dealer. That means there is no bullet-proof plan to keep us invincible from losing money. Games offered in the casinos that are played against the dealer will always put us at a disadvantage, so it is even that much more important to make sure we are playing the best strategy possible. What is that strategy?

Basics-When to Fold

An easy way to make sure you don’t lose any additional money with a raise bet is to fold your hand when you don’t have a qualifying hand. If you have no pair and no high card, your chance of winning the hand go down dramatically. By folding, we deny the casino’s chance to take any more money from us that particular hand.

Basics-When to Continue

The easiest way to remember which hands to continue with and place a raise are the ones that qualify on the hand chart. Clearly any pair or better hand we want to proceed with as chance are the dealer won’t be able to beat a pair. But any hands containing an ace and a king are worth hanging on to.

Advanced-When to Fold and Continue

Things become a little tricky and less vague when getting into the nitty-gritty of how to play optimally. Playing optimally just means giving yourself the absolute best mathematical probability to win the hand. Doing that requires you to pay close attention to not only your five cards but also to the dealer’s face-up card.

Obviously, any time we have a pair or better we know we continue, regardless of what card the dealer is showing. But there are a few nuances to be aware of when we have hands with just a high card in them.

We look to when the dealer is showing an ace or king. When the dealer is showing an ace or king, we have to be cautious with our ace-king high hands. We would like to see another high card, preferably a queen or a jack to go along with our ace-king high. This is because in the instances when the dealer also only has ace-king high, our “kicker” or next high card will come into play.

What we do is essentially use and account for “blockers.” Blockers are cards that “potentially block” other made hands. Let’s use an example- if we have three-of-a-kind aces, the likelihood of the dealer having an ace is far lower. This is because there is now only one ace left in the deck.

If we have a hand with no aces in them, the four remaining aces are still out there- thus making it more likely the dealer may have an ace in his or her hand.

There are a couple rules you can follow that are said add minuscule edges to the player.

  1. If the dealer is showing an ace or king and you hold a jack or queen, proceed with a raise.
  2. If the dealer is showing any card not an ace or king and that card is also in our hand, proceed with a raise.

You can, of course, skip all those tiny steps and follow this one rule that is said to give the player the best chance to win.

Play any hand A-K-J-8-3 or better. Fold any hand worse.

The casino edge in Caribbean Stud Poker is roughly 5.22%. Mathematicians have calculated that by playing the optimal strategy, the house edge can be lowered to 2.56%.

Stay Away from Progressive Jackpot Bet

We know this is tough to do. The large chunk of money staring at you while you play is surely enticing, that can’t be denied. What also can’t be denied is the profits the casino makes off the player by offering this bet.

You have to realize that while this bet is extremely tempting- it is offered for that exact reason- to attract and temp the bettors. Believe us, if this was a profitable bet in the long-run, it wouldn’t be offered at the casinos and online sites.

A Fun Alternative Version

Caribbean Stud Poker is a pure game. It’s simple to play and easy to understand. However, the regularity of not having strong hands and having to fold our hands can get boring at times. Fortunately, for those of you who enjoy the game, but are looking for more action, we may have found your sweet spot. We introduce- Oasis Poker.

Oasis Poker

Oasis Poker is a very fun iteration of Caribbean Stud Poker. Instead of your five cards dealt being set in stone, you have the option of swapping out any number of the cards. The payouts are then adjusted depending on how many cards you exchange.

Cards Swapped Payout
0 1x ante
1 1x ante
2 2x ante
3 3x ante
4 2x ante
5 1x ante

By adding this element to the game, the action is automatically “spiced-up.” Trading out cards for new cards increases our chances of making the strong, qualifying hands. Here is an example-

Say we are dealt five cards, with four of them beings Clubs. We can now swap out the fifth card that isn’t a club and hope to hit our flush. It is extremely rare to be dealt a straight or flush on the first five cards. The ability to chase our straights and flushes by drawing new cards certainly adds a level of excitement to an otherwise, relatively mundane game.


We hope this guide leaves you with a good foundation and base of knowledge to Caribbean Stud Poker. We wanted to make you feel comfortable enough to crank open these sites and start playing. Nobody should play a game without a full understanding of the rules and payout structures.

Our job here is to be the providers of that information. Your job isn’t to do all the homework and research- that’s what we are here for. You are here to take this information and use it to win some money.

Start firing away and enjoy the action!