Caribbean Stud Poker Rules, Odds and Strategy Tips!

How To Play Caribbean Stud Poker

  • The player first makes an ante as his original wager.
  • Each player and the dealer are then dealt 5 cards.
  • All cards are dealt face down except one card from the dealer.
  • The player may then examine his cards but is forbidden to share information with other players.
  • A player can then either fold or raise depending on the strength of his cards and the dealers up card.
  • By folding the player forfeits his original bet.
  • By raising the player must double his ante bet and the game is taken to a showdown.
  • In order for the dealer to win they must “qualify”. A qualifying hand is at least ace or king high.
  • If the dealer does not qualify, the player will win even money on his ante and the raise will push.
  • If the dealer qualifies and beats the players hand, then both the ante and the raise is lost.
  • In the event of a tie, both the ante and the raise push.
  • If the dealer qualifies and loses to the player, then the ante will be paid out at even money and the raise will be paid out using the table below. (Note that these are typical payouts for US games, payouts vary in different versions of the game)

Caribbean Stud Poker Payouts

Hand Payout
Royal flush 100 to 1
Straight flush 50 to 1
Four of a kind 20 to 1
Full house 7 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
Straight 4 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
All other 1 to 1

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

In Caribbean stud poker the optimal strategy is to raise 52.23% of the time. This means that you should raise slightly more often than you should fold and should use your starting hand and the dealers up card as an indicator of whether you should raise or fold.

We have formulated the following strategy for doing well at Caribbean stud poker.

  1. Always raise when you have a pair or higher.
  2. Fold when you do not qualify.

After you have those basics down we recommend that when your hand is ace king high you do the following:

  1. Raise when the dealers card is 2-queen and matches one of the cards in your hand.
  2. Raise if the dealers card is ace or king if you have a queen or jack in your hand. IE AKQxx
  3. Raise if the dealer’s card does not match any of your cards and you have a queen in your hand and the dealer’s card is less than your fourth highest card.

Following this strategy the house has an approximate 2.55% edge on the player.