Caribbean Draw Poker
As a close cousin of Caribbean Stud Poker, the hybrid table game known as Caribbean Draw Poker adds the element of exchanging cards to improve your hand, enhancing the excitement level found in the sometimes static stud-based version.
The guide below was written with new players in mind. You will first find a detailed breakdown of the game’s rules, gameplay mechanics, terminology, and wagering options. From there, a list of reputable online casinos and software providers that offer Caribbean Draw Poker. Finally, sharp players will appreciate the strategy section, which includes information on the game’s odds and probabilities, as well as the correct way to approach drawing situations.
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How to Play Caribbean Draw Poker
When you sit down to play Caribbean Stud Poker online for the first time, you should begin by taking a look at the lay of the land. For the most part, online casinos follow the same template in terms of table layout.
The first thing you’ll notice is the familiar table game setup, with you facing off against a dealer sitting across the table. All of the Caribbean Draw Poker games ran by the online casinos and software providers listed in the next section should employ the standard table format.
Your tools of the trade for this game will be the clickable chip icons located in the corner of the screen. Ranging from $1 to $100 in basic increments, these chips will be used to place your wagers on each hand.
A pair of betting circles will be located in front of you, with one labeled Ante and the other l
abeled Raise. Some online casinos will label the raise area as Bet. After you click on your chip of choice, click the ante button to place your first wager.
Next, you’ll find a trio of gameplay buttons somewhere low and in the center of the screen. These buttons will be labeled Fold, Raise, and Deal, and you’ll use these to control the action during each hand.
Finally, you might find an area on the screen labeled Progressive. Here, you can opt to place an additional side wager, usually for just $1, which entitles you to a portion of the online casino’s larger progressive jackpot when you land either a straight flush or a royal flush.
What You Need to Win
The objective of Caribbean Draw Poker online is to form a five card poker hand which beats the dealer’s hand, according to the standard poker hand hierarchy. The lowest possible poker hand is simply a high card, followed by one pair, two pairs, three of a kind, a straight, a flush, a full house, a straight flush, and the royal flush.
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 this game, however, you have the option to discard up to two cards from your original five card hand, with the dealer distributing replacements.
Steps to Play Caribbean Draw Poker
Place Your Bet
To begin playing online Caribbean Draw Poker, simply click on the chip icon of your choice before clicking the ante button. Every hand requires a mandatory ante bet to begin the action, and for the sake of this discussion the standard $5 betting increment will be used. Clicking on the deal button will begin the action.
Cards Being Dealt
The dealer will dole out five cards face up in your direction, before dealing themselves a five card hand as well. The dealer’s hand will be face down, except for a single card which is turned face up. As the player, your job is to assess the strength of your own five-card hand relative to the dealer’s up card, before deciding on the next course of action.
Keep or Discard Your Cards
In the event your first five cards come out to your liking, however, you can always stand pat. You may also fold out if your first five cards provide no hope of drawing to an improvement.
Using the standard ante/raise/fold structure common to the Caribbean family of hybrid table games, Caribbean Draw Poker allows players the three options listed above. When you either draw or stand pat, you’ll need to place an additional raise bet, which is always equal to exactly double your ante bet. Folding will cost you no additional chips, but you’ll forfeit your hand and your ante bet by doing so.
Using the $5 ante bet mentioned above, when you choose to continue the hand by either drawing or standing pat, you’ll automatically place an extra $10 wager in the raise circle. After that, the dealer will distribute your replacement cards when you’ve drawn, or in the case of standing pat, the dealer will simply turn over their own hand.
The dealer has the same ability to draw up to two cards as the player, so after you’ve completed your turn, the dealer will expose their five card hand and do the same. For online Caribbean Draw Poker games, the dealer must follow a simple set of rules dictating their draw, similar to the constraints placed on a blackjack dealer regarding when they must hit or stand. The most commonly used dealer drawing rules found in major online casinos can be found below, as the dealer must:
- Stand on any five card pat hands
- Discard one card with four of a kind or two pair
- Discard two cards with three of a kind or one pair
- Discard one card with either a four card flush draw or four-card straight draw
- Discard the two lowest cards when playing only a high-card hand
Once the dealer has completed their own discard and draw process, the final five card hands are then compared to determine a winner. An important aspect of Caribbean Draw Poker to keep in mind concerns the concept of the qualifying hand. Simply put, the dealer’s hand must reach a certain level of strength in order to qualify.
Deciding Who the Winner Is
The qualifying hand cutoff is slightly different depending on your online casino of choice, but it should always be written on the table just below the dealer’s box. For Bovada players, the minimum qualifying hand stands at a pair of eights, while other online casinos use either a higher or lower pair. Always be sure to check either the table itself or the online casino’s rules page to be sure about the dealer’s qualifying hand limit.
The reason you should care about the dealer’s hand qualifying or not is because your payout on winners depends on dealer qualification. In cases where the dealer fails to qualify, your ante bet will be paid out at even money when you win, while your larger raise bet will be returned as a push. However, when the dealer does produce a qualifying hand, you’ll get the same even money payout on your ante bet, along with a larger payout on your raise bet.
Optional: Side Bet
Lastly, you’ll have the option to place an additional side wager on the progressive jackpot before every hand. Most players opt to toss a $1 chip on this betting circle, in hopes of making a straight flush for 10 percent of the progressive jackpot pool, or even a royal flush for the full 100 percent. These progressive jackpots usually total five or even six figures, making them quite alluring for just a $1 bet, but as you’ll discover in the strategy section below, making this bet is always a losing proposition over the long run.
Caribbean Draw Poker Payouts
The standard online Caribbean Draw Poker payouts table has been included below, listing both the even money ante bet payout and the escalating raise bet payouts depending on the strength of your five card hand. In this game, the better hand you make, the higher your potential payout can reach, which makes the element of drawing to improve even more exciting. To see what you can win on the raise bet, when the dealer qualifies, check the payout table below:
|Hand Rank||Description||Ante||Raise Payout|
|Royal Flush||A, K, Q, J, 10 of same suit||1:1||100:1|
|Straight Flush||5 cards of the same suit in sequence||1:1||50:1|
|4 of a Kind||4 cards of same rank||1:1||20:1|
|Full House||3 of a Kind, plus a pair||1:1||7:1|
|Flush||5 cards of same suit||1:1||5:1|
|Straight||5 cards in sequence, mixed suits||1:1||3:1|
|3 of a Kind||3 cards of same rank||1:1||2:1|
|Two pair||2 pairs of different rank||1:1||1:1|
|One pair||1 pair (2 cards) of same rank||1:1||1:1|
|High card||One higher ranked card||1:1||1:1|
As an example hand, we’ll assume that you’ve placed an ante of $5 and received the K K K 2 3 as your five card hand. Obviously, with three of a kind already secured, you’ll place the additional raise bet for $10 more.
Now, the clear play is to discard the deuce and the trey, while drawing two more cards. In this example, you hit gin and collect the fourth K in the deck, giving you an extremely strong four of a kind.
This is where dealer qualification comes into play, because when you are fortunate enough to make a hand like four of a kind, you want the dealer to produce a qualifying hand in the worst way. When they don’t, your payout stands at just $5, even money on your ante bet, while your $10 raise bet is returned as a push.
When the dealer does qualify in this example, your payout is significantly increased. By consulting the payout table, you’ll see that a winner with four of a kind and the dealer qualifying results in the same $5 double up on your ante wager, along with a huge 20 to 1 payout on the $10 raise bet. That puts your total winnings on this one hand of Caribbean Draw Poker at $205, which isn’t a bad return at all for just a $15 risk.
Best Places to Play Caribbean Draw Poker Online
We only recommend the best online casinos here at OUSC. Be sure to check each of the casino reviews to see if they cater to players in your country. As such, we have a list of reputable online casinos that offer Caribbean Draw Poker:
Here are the major industry software providers powering a version of Caribbean Stud Poker within their clients:
Online Caribbean Draw Poker Strategy
As a partial information drawing game, Caribbean Draw Poker strategy provides different elements for players to consider. Depending on the strength of your own five-card hand, and the dealer’s up card, players must decide whether or not to raise, along with the amount of cards to draw, and the exact cards to discard.
Although the process isn’t exactly the same of course, these decisions can be broken down on a mathematical level just like blackjack basic strategy, to determine the optimal play given any scenario. One convenient tool to help you determine the correct course of action is the Caribbean Draw Strategy Calculator, which allows you to plug in any combination of five player cards and one dealer up card. With that information in place, the calculator automatically provides the most profitable play.
Caribbean Draw Poker Discard/Draw Chart
To read the chart, simply examine your five-card hand and determine the highest numbered possibility that you can make using those five cards. The higher the number is on the chart the better your hand. You should always draw to the higher number on the chart when possible.
How to Use the Discard/Draw Chart
As an example of how to utilize this Caribbean Draw Poker strategy chart, consider a five card hand consisting of the Js 9s 4s 2s Jc.
In this scenario, you already have a pair of jacks to work with, but you also have a four card flush and the chance to draw for a fifth spade. These are the close calls that define winning and losing over the long run, so take a look at the chart to see what the correct play happens to be.
The pair of jacks is #7 on the list, while the four flush is actually one rank higher at #6. By following the chart’s advice, you should always discard the extra jack and draw to the spade flush, because with the additional 5 to 1 payout on flushes when the dealer qualifies is considered, that hand is more valuable over the long run than the pair of jacks.
Notice, however, that if this exact scenario occurred with a pair of queens and a four flush, the chart actually advises to keep the pair of queens, #5 on the list, rather than drawing for the flush.
Avoid the Progressive Bet
Resist the temptation and avoid splashing around with small bets on the progressive jackpot. Although this side wager can seem irresistible when you see the massive amount up for grabs, mathematical analysis of Caribbean Draw Poker has demonstrated the bet is always a negative expectation play.
The house edge for this game stands at below 3 percent when you don’t bet on the progressive, making it one of the more player-friendly table games in any online casino. However, when you drop a $1 chip on the progressive jackpot the house edge balloons to over 20 percent.
Caribbean Draw Poker Created
The trademark for Caribbean Draw Poker was filed in 1997 by Progressive Games Inc., a company located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While the company eventually folded in the face of several lawsuits and was purchased by rival International Game Technology, IGT in 2009, the creation of Caribbean Draw Poker has stood the test of time.
Today, you can find Caribbean Draw Poker included in several of the most popular online casinos around the world, including Australia’s Roxy Palace. The game is not as prevalent as its stud-based relative, but as new players continue to discover the increased entertainment value and strategic elements of the drawing component, Caribbean Draw Poker is becoming more widespread.
Perfectly designed for the online casino arena, Caribbean Draw Poker provides an interactive gaming experience for players. With the inclusion of an escalating payout table, players can grind out small but bankroll sustaining wins, all while waiting to make a monster hand and collect significant winnings on relatively minor wagers. Add in a progressive jackpot element, a relatively low house edge, and a brisk pace of play, and it’s clear that Caribbean Draw Poker is a game which appeals directly to the new generation of online casino specialists.