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Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker is a variation of standard poker, which is played at a blackjack-sized table. The game begins with each player making an ante bet in a designated square on the table. The dealer than gives each player five cards, dealt face down. Players are not allowed to show their cards to other players. The dealer receives four face down cards and one face up.

Each player now has the option of either raising or folding. To raise, the player puts twice his ante in the raise box. If the player folds, the dealer takes the player’s cards and ante bet. After all players have made their decision, the dealer turns over his face down cards to reveal his hand. The dealer’s hand must be at least an Ace and a King in order to qualify. If the hand does not qualify then all ante bets pay even money and the raises are a push. If the hand does qualify, each player’s hand is compared against the dealer’s hand. Players with losing hands lose both their ante and raise bets. If the player’s hand is higher, the ante pays even money and the raise pays according to a set pay table (see table below). In the event of a tie, both ante and raise are a push.

Caribbean Stud Poker Payouts

Poker 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
Pair 1 to 1
Ace and King 1 to 1

In addition to the ante and raise bets, there is an optional $1 side bet for being dealt a flush or better. The payoff for the side bet is based on a progressive jackpot for straight flushes (10% of jackpot) and royal flushes (100% of jackpot). Sometimes a cap is placed on the straight flush payoff amount. Other payoffs vary from casino to casino. The average house edge for the side bet is 26.46%. This is generally not a wise bet.

Caribbean Stud Strategy

The optimal strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is relatively simple. First off, stay away from the optional side bet. The progressive pot can look awfully enticing, but it’s generally a poor bet. For the raise bet, you should raise on any pair or better, fold on anything less than Ace/King, and should sometimes raise and sometimes fold on Ace/King. The Ace/King hand is the only time things get a little tricky. You should raise if the dealer’s up card is a Two through Queen and matches one of your cards.

You should also raise if the dealer’s up card is an Ace or King and you have a Queen or Jack in your hand. Finally, raise if the dealer’s rank does not match any of yours and is less than your forth highest card and you have a Queen in your hand. Fold under any other condition. If these rules are too much to remember then your best strategy is to simply raise on any pair or better and forget about the Ace/King.

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