Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is a casino table game. Also known as casino stud poker, it is based on five-card stud poker. In stark contrast to traditional poker formats, Caribbean Stud Poker players take on the casino house instead of human players. This removes the common poker tactics of bluffing and deception. Plus the player does not need to worry about giving away tells.

Here at Betkiwi, we bring you an action-packed review of the popular table game Caribbean Stud Poker. Check out each section for an overview of the basics, key rules and gameplay, pros and cons, game strategies, progressive jackpots, game variations, and mistakes to avoid when playing.

Caribbean Stud Poker Basics

To familiarise yourself with the game, let’s cover some Caribbean Stud Poker basics.

  • No physical opponent is needed. Instead, you (and other players who join the game) play against a computer dealer.
  • There are no multiple rounds of poker betting.

Did You Know? David Skalnsky claimed to have invented Caribbean Stud Poker in 1982, but this is disputed by the international poker community.

Caribbean Stud Rules and Gameplay

Here are the basic Caribbean Stud Poker rules to remember. These rules are the US-based verison, which can vary between different regions.

Initial Dealing

All players at the table place a first bet to start, let’s say NZ$1 (an ante wager). The dealer deals 5 cards face down to each player who initially bet (the ante) at the table.
The dealer gets 5 cards, 4 face down and 1 face up. So the player(s) can only see one of the dealer’s cards, but players are allowed to look at their own cards.
Each player has the option to place a NZ$1 progressive jackpot side bet.

Betting/Folding Round

Once the initial dealing is done, a player checks their 5 cards to choose to continue betting the hand or not.
If you decide to carry on, the next bet is two times the value of your first bet (the ante). For instance, if your ante was NZ$20, your next bet is NZ$40.

Or if you choose not to continue playing this hand, fold and lose your ante stake.

Dealer Reveal

When the betting or folding round ends, the dealer reveals their hand. Your hand needs to beat the dealer’s, not other players at the table. If the dealer’s hand qualifies and beats yours, you lose the ante and your bet stake.

If the dealer’s hand qualifies but loses versus yours, you receive your ante stake back, plus an amount equal to or X times your bet stake. The latter is based on the strength of your hand.

If the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify, all players get their ante and original stake back.

So, Caribbean Stud Poker strategy is about the following decision.

If you believe you can beat the dealer’s hand:

  • Continue playing
  • Or if not, fold and wait for the next hand.

Did You Know? A Caribbean Stud Poker game cannot end in a draw. Either the house or a player wins.



Royal Flush

100 to 1

Straight Flush

50 to 1

Four of a Kind

20 to 1

Full House

7 to 1


5 to 1


4 to 1

Three of a Kind

3 to 1

Two Pair

2 to 1

One Pair or Less

1 to 1

For your reference, the table shows payout amounts on the raise bet.

Pros & Cons of Caribbean Stud Poker

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Caribbean Stud Poker?

  • Simple game experience for all skills levels
  • Less stressful than traditional poker
  • No bluffing
  • Slow paced game that frustrates advanced players
  • Single player experience is less social than other poker games

Caribbean Stud Strategies

House edge is usually 5%, so how can you increase your chances of success?

Much like blackjack, playing with an optimal strategy aims to reduce the house edge to under 5%.

In each hand, you have two decisions: to raise or to fold.

Common wisdom among poker enthusiasts suggest two basic approaches:

  1. Always play any hand (raise) with a pair or higher.
  2. Always fold any hand which is less than the dealer’s qualifying hand (ace/king).

If you stick to this simple premise, the main hand to consider is Ace-King (AK):

  • If the dealer reveals an Ace or a King, play your hand only if you have a Queen or a Jack. For example, A-K-Q-J-x.
  • Similarly, play (raise) if you are dealt a Queen and the dealer’s face-up card is lower than your fourth highest card, For instance, you have A-K-Q-8-4, and the dealer has 7.

Now we have basic strategy nailed down, let’s consider a fun side game.

Progressive Jackpots in Caribbean Stud Poker

Check the website for a list of trusted casino sites in New Zealand. We list the platforms that offer progressive jackpots in Caribbean Stud Poker.

To enter the progressive jackpot, place a NZ$1 side bet, and have the chance to hit a big win.

Based on US rules, typical payouts for different winnings hands are:



Royal flush

100% of the progressive payout

Straight flush

100% of the progressive payout



Full house




The Caribbean Stud Poker jackpot side bet is hard to win. Even with 5 types of jackpot hands, the probability of your cards aligning to these is low.

However, many players enjoy the experience of playing with chances to bag a large payout.

Variations of Caribbean Stud Poker

Players enjoy trying the various versions of Caribbean Stud Poker.

Progressive Caribbean Stud Poker

As explained above, this variety involves a NZ$1 side bet to enter a progressive jackpot. The jackpot value rises until a player wins a specific hand, say a royal flush.

The jackpot is totally separate to a main game, with the fun of a potential jackpot win.

Oasis Poker

An interesting variant, with the chance to exchange cards before you choose whether to fold or carry on playing. The exchange of 1 to 5 cards attracts a fee as follows:

  • 1 card = 1 times the ante
  • 2 cards = 2 times the ante
  • 3 cards = 3 times the ante
  • 4 cards = 2 times the ante
  • 5 cards = 1 times the ante

The 5-card exchange options, means you need to raise.

Cyberstud Poker

Cyberstud Poker was developed by MicroGaming. It was created specifically for online gameplay and includes interactive features with unique graphics and sound.

Caribbean Hold’em

A game that combines features from Texas Hold’em and Caribbean Stud Poker.
The dealer deals 2 cards face down and 5 cards face up. The idea is to form the best possible hand.

Caribbean Draw Poker

Five cards are dealt, only players can draw new cards to try to gain a better hand.
The game includes typical rules, with a fold or continue choice after the first round.

Caribbean Stud Poker with a Side Bet

These versions include side bets as an option. Payouts are made on a flush, full house, or other specified card combination.

Before playing, please check the poker rules and variations at your casino of choice.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Caribbean Stud

Caribbean Stud Poker involves both chance and strategy elements. If you want to improve your chances of hitting a win and enjoying your gameplay, try to avoid these common mistakes:

  • Folding low pairs. Novice players often fold pairs lower than 5. But under half of dealer hands qualify, so low pairs have at least 50% chance of success.
  • Poor bankroll management. Betting with too high a percentage of your overall pot. It is preferable to split your bankroll into units for each poker hand.
  • Lack of knowledge of the rules. Poor awareness of the game rules leads to incorrect decisions to raise or fold on specific hands.
  • Ignoring strategy. Trying to play randomly without regard to correct strategy. For example, raising with a weak hand, or folding a strong hand.
  • Chasing losses. If you have a losing streak, it is important not to increase bet stakes to try to recoup those losses. Rather, set a budget for bets and stick to it.

Final Thoughts About Caribbean Stud Poker

At Betkiwi, we roadtest the top casino table games. In this article, our goal is to give you a detailed look at the popular Caribbean Stud Poker game.

As an alternative to traditional poker, the game offers players an easy way to enjoy poker. Without the concerns of bluffing and tells, the game is simply player versus computer.

FAQ About Caribbean Stud Poker

Our casino experts have chosen a selection of popular questions and answers about Caribbean Stud Poker.

How do dealers qualify for Caribbean Stud Poker?

The rules state the dealer must have an ace and a king or higher value card to qualify.

How do you win at Caribbean Stud Poker?

There is no guarantee of winning. But try to play with a coherent strategy to give yourself the best chance of success.

What is the house edge of Caribbean Stud Poker?

Caribbean Stud Poker has a house edge of 5.22%.

What is the best starting hand in Caribbean Stud Poker?

The best 5-card hand is the Royal Flush, which consists of a straight flush from Ace to 10. The cards: A-K-Q-J-T all from the same suit.

What are the odds of hitting a royal flush in Caribbean Stud Poker?

While a royal flush payout is 100 to 1, the probability of hitting such a win is 0.000001%.

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Dudley Nader

Casino Game Expert

Dudley Nader is our casino game expert at Betkiwi. A University of Otago graduate in Statistics, he's leveraged his skills in a decade-long gambling industry career, earning recognition as a top casino specialist in New Zealand. In his free time, Dudley enjoys developing new game strategies and playing poker. You can reach Dudley at [email protected].

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