Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

As with most card games, the strategy behind the successful Caribbean Stud Poker player is an enormously complicated one, but there are a couple of ideas which may save the day for players – both professional and amateur. Remember that the odds are stacked in favour of the house, as much as 5.2%, so always be aware of the payouts.

Caribbean Stud is played with the traditional 52-card deck which are normally dealt from a multi-deck ‘shoe’ or by automated shuffling machines which deals in groups of five hands.

When to Raise and when to Fold

There are two sweeping statements which will generally cover most hands, and these are

  • Always raise with a pair or higher
  • Always fold if you are holding less than the dealer’s qualifying criteria – Ace/king or higher

The last rule or suggestion may prove to be a bit tricky and it always alleviates a crisis if the three single cards remaining are high, or the dealer’s exposed card is a jack or less, and matches one of the cards in your hand – this will obviously lessen the odds of the dealer forming a pair.

It is advisable to raise on the ace/king should any of the following rules apply:

1. Raise if the dealer’s up card is a two through Queen and matches one already in your hand

2. Raise should the dealer’s exposed card be an Ace or king and you have a Queen or Jack in hand

3. Raise if the dealer’s rank does not match any of yours, and only if you have a Queen in the hand and the dealer’s up card is less than your fourth highest card.

A Common Error

Many Caribbean Stud Poker players exercise the option not to bet on low pairs like twos, three and fours, and strong Ace highs, as they seem to lose more often than they win. Statistically they are correct, they do lose more than they win but what they don’t realise is that by folding on them each time they automatically lose their ante and in the long run it is markedly more expensive than taking a chance and betting on them!

The Progressive Payout or Jackpot – to play or not to play?

The Progressive Payout Feature or Jackpot is a separate side game and normally costs in the region of £1. Many experts advise never to play the jackpot as the house advantage is simply too high. This is, in effect, true when the player is getting the common 50/75/100 short payout and the jackpot is under £15 000, but when you calculate in a full payout and progressive of over £30 000 then the picture looks a lot rosier for the player. So, our advice is to always play the jackpot ad look for high dollar progressives and the full payouts – Good Luck!