Caribbean Stud Poker | Complete Guide

Written by: Sadonna Price , Expert in Online Casinos and Poker
Caribbean Stud Poker Royal Flush with Palm Trees

Caribbean Stud Poker is a popular card game at land-based and online casinos. You only get five cards, and no draws or exchanges to beat the dealer. It is a simple, easy-to-learn poker game with only one decision to make. Do you raise or fold?

This guide to Caribbean Stud Poker explains the rules and how to play, with an easy step-by-step guide. We’ll show you the best online casinos with the game and some fun variations. Lastly, we’ll teach you about the payouts and winning strategies to give you an extra edge.

Caribbean Stud Poker Guide

Everything You Need to Play & Win

What is Caribbean Stud Poker?

Caribbean Stud Poker combines elements of blackjack and poker to form a quick and exciting table game. Many casino regulars can’t get enough of the quick rounds, low house edge, simple rules, and escalating payout table.

Caribbean Stud Poker Casino Game

SHFL Entertainment, previously Shuffle Master Inc., created Caribbean Stud in 1993 to join their other hybrid table games like Casino War and Let It Ride. Shuffle Master and its gaming portfolio were later owned by Bally Technologies, which Scientific Games eventually purchased.

The game has quickly become a staple of land-based casinos and online gambling sites everywhere. Look for Caribbean Stud Poker wherever you play real money games.

Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

Caribbean Stud Poker only has a couple of simple rules. Like most table poker, the game’s objective is to beat the dealer’s five-card hand with your own.

Chip stack with up arrows

After you make the ante bet, you get five face-up cards, and the dealer gets five cards too, but only one is face-up. Based on your hand and that single house card, you must decide whether to play or fold.

If you decide to play, you must wager an additional 2x your ante bet to see the dealer’s cards. If you fold, you forfeit your ante and move on to the next round.

Dealer Qualification

King and Ace Cards Icon

The dealer’s hand needs to be of a certain strength to “qualify” and, in turn, payout on both the ante and raise bets. At most casinos, the house must have at least an ace and king to play.

Even if you have the stronger hand after you raise, you’ll only get a 1 to 1 payout on your ante bet if the dealer didn’t qualify. You get your other, larger wager back, and it is essentially void.

Hand Rankings and Payouts

Caribbean Stud Poker uses the standard poker hand ranking order. However, the unique escalating payouts mean a stronger hand not only wins, but is also more rewarding. The chart below is the standard paytable you’ll see at most casinos.

Remember, you’ll only receive the higher raise bet payouts when the dealer produces a qualifying hand. So even if you get a straight flush, the house still needs at least A-K for you to collect the 50 to 1 payout on your raise wager.

Hand RankDescriptionAnte PayoutRaise Payout
Royal FlushA, K, Q, J, 10 of same suit1 to 1100 to 1
Straight Flush5 cards of the same suit in sequence1 to 150 to 1
4 of a Kind4 cards of the same rank1 to 120 to 1
Full House3 of a Kind, plus a pair1 to 17 to 1
Flush5 cards of same suit1 to 15 to 1
Straight5 cards in sequence, mixed suits1 to 14 to 1
3 of a Kind3 cards of the same rank1 to 13 to 1
Two pair2 pairs of different rank1 to 12 to 1
One pair1 pair (2 cards) of the same rank1 to 11 to 1
High cardA hand without at least a pair1 to 11 to 1

Caribbean Stud Table Layout

The Caribbean Stud table layout is very basic. The felt usually has the game’s logo and displays the minimum hand for the dealer to qualify. Otherwise, you have an area to place your chips and a few cards. Some casinos also have an additional spot for a progressive jackpot wager.

Caribbean Stud Poker Table Layout

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Now we’ll walk step by step through a hand of Caribbean Stud Poker. The hands are quick since there is only a single decision to make.

  1. Place the Ante Bet

    Like most poker games, you’ll need to make an ante bet to see your hand. You simply put your chips in the betting area on the felt at the start of the round before the deal.
  2. Dealing the Cards

    The dealer gives five cards face up to all players that anted up, before dealing themselves five cards. The dealer’s hand will have four cards face down and one exposed. That is the only information you get about the house hand.
  3. Decide to Fold or Raise

    Compare your five-card hand to the dealer’s lone exposed card. If you think you can beat them, raise with 2x your ante to see their remaining cards. Otherwise, you fold the hand and forfeit your ante.
  4. The Dealer’s Hand

    If you raise the bet, the dealer will turn his hand over to compare it to yours. Keep in mind that their hand must be a specific strength to qualify and give you a payout on your raise. Usually, the cutoff is ace-king high or better.
  5. Winning the Game

    When the dealer fails to produce a qualifying hand, you get a 1 to 1 payout on your ante bet, and your raise bet is a push. On the other hand, when they do qualify, you win on the ante bet and the raise based on your hand and the escalating paytable. If they beat your hand, you lose both wagers.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

Despite being a simple game, Caribbean Stud Poker does have a strategy to win more money. Just like in blackjack, every scenario has an optimal play. Follow the basic guidelines listed below to make the best choice on when to raise or fold.

  • When you hold a pair or higher, you should always raise.
  • When you have less than ace-king, you should always fold.
  • Raise if the dealer’s face-up card is not an ace and matches one of your cards

Avoid the Sucker Bet

Bag of Money with Coins Crossed Out Icon

Some tables have an optional side bet. You’ll be tempted to throw an extra $1 chip at the progressive jackpot. While this extra cost might seem minimal at first, it is a losing proposition. The house edge soars to more than 26% when you make this wager.

We suggest avoiding the progressive side bet altogether and sticking to the raise/fold guidelines listed above. That gives you the best chance to enjoy profitable sessions of Caribbean Stud Poker over the long run.

Raise & Fold Strategy Chart

This Caribbean Stud Poker strategy chart shows you how to win more by letting you know when to fold and call. You can use this same cheat sheet at the table when playing Caribbean Stud in Las Vegas.

Find the dealer’s face-up card in the top row and compare it to all your other cards in the first column. The F stands for fold and the C stands for call or raise. If any of them meet on a green C box, then you should make the raise bet.

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy Chart

Caribbean Stud Poker Online

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Practice Caribbean Stud Poker Online Free

Caribbean Stud is a really straightforward, no-nonsense table game. Play a few hands here for free to see how everything works. Test the basic strategy and try using the chart above.

Online Caribbean Stud Poker Games

Most online casinos have Caribbean Stud Poker. Look for these logos at your favorite sites. The bet limits and paytable for the raise bet might change slightly, but the rules and gameplay will be the same.

Caribbean Stud Poker Logo BetUS
Caribbean Stud Poker Logo
Caribbean Poker Logo
High Limit Caribbean Stud Poker Logo

Similar Games

You may also see one of the numerous real money poker games related to Caribbean Stud. Some let you draw cards, while others have shared community cards or additional side bets. They all share the format with limited player decisions, which makes gameplay quick and easy.

Caribbean Hold’em

Caribbean Hold’em is similar to Casino Hold’em, except for one specific rule change. Under the usual table game layout, you sit across from the dealer running the game. You may have up to two other players at the same table.

Most online versions of either game are one-on-one affairs, so you’ll be playing yourself while wagering on one, two, or three different hands.

Caribbean Draw

Caribbean Draw Poker is a close cousin of Caribbean Stud Poker. The objective of the game is to form a five-card poker hand which beats the dealer’s hand, according to the standard poker hand hierarchy.

The crucial difference between online Caribbean Draw Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker is that the latter doesn’t permit players to draw cards in hopes of improving your hand. In Caribbean Draw Poker, you have the option to discard up to two cards from your original five-card hand, with the dealer distributing replacements.

Evolution Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Live Dealer Caribbean Stud Poker

If you want the Vegas experience of real cards at an actual table, then look for live Caribbean Stud options online.

These games provide the same rules and gameplay but take the RNG out of the equation and let you interact with a human dealer.

You’ll enjoy an HD streaming table with human interaction and the hustle and bustle of the casino floor.

Play & Win With Our Caribbean Stud Poker Guide

After reading this Caribbean Stud guide, you should know the rules, how to play, and the best strategy to win more money. The next step is to find a table and beat the dealer. With a bit of luck, you’ll be taking home some extra cash.

Visit any of the real money casinos above to play Caribbean Stud Poker right in your web browser. Make sure you avoid the sucker bets, and most of all, have fun!

Caribbean Stud Poker FAQ

Below are a few of the common questions we get about Caribbean Stud Poker.

Is Caribbean Stud worth playing?

Yes, Caribbean Stud is worth playing at the casino. Players enjoy the escalating payouts and a house edge around only 5%. That means it’s as favorable as many slot machines.

Where can you play Caribbean Stud Poker in Vegas?

There are plenty of Vegas casinos that carry the game. Visit our Las Vegas Caribbean Stud Poker table survey for more information.

How do you win in Caribbean Poker?

To win in Caribbean Poker, you need to beat the dealer. You get the highest payouts when they have a qualifying hand of Ace-King or higher

What are the best online casinos to play Caribbean Stud Poker for real money?

Check out our recommended best Caribbean Stud online casinos you can visit today and play for real money.

Sadonna Price

Sadonna Price Expert in Online Casinos and Poker

Sadonna is a gambling content writer and former professional poker player that loves using her creativity to provide insight into the most interesting aspects of the casino world.

Learn More About Sadonna