Caribbean Stud Poker is a type of casino poker, i.e. you try to win money from the house, not from the other players at the table. Most casinos that offer Caribbean Stud Poker will have a progressive jackpot tied to the game, which can be won by players that elect to do a special side bet. It is this voluntary side bet that feeds the progressive jackpot.
Caribbean Stud Poker is played with one deck of cards of the standard variety, i.e. the one with 12 hearts, 12 spades, 12 diamonds and 12 clubs. No jokers are included and no cards are wild.
Since Caribbean Stud Poker is played with a single deck, players are not allowed to show each other their hands, talk about their cards, etc. If players were allowed to share hand info, it would be pretty easy for them to find out if certain hands are possible or impossible for the dealer to have, and adjust their play accordingly.
Playing Caribbean Stud Poker
When you play Caribbean Stud Poker, you start by making an initial wager called the ANTE. At this point, you can also make the side-bet, if you want to be eligible for a progressive jackpot win.
Each player will receive a face-card hand, dealt face down. You should pick up and look at your hand, but must keep its content a secret. The dealer will also receive a five-card hand face down, but she will turn over one of the cards so that everyone can see what it is.
At this stage, you have the option to fold your hand and leave the round. If you have a poor hand, cutting your losses can be the best course of action.
The other option is to stay in the round, but this requires a new wager. In order to keep playing, you must make a wager that is exactly twice the size of your ante – no more and no less. This wager is called the BET.
When all the players have acted (by either folding or making a bet) the dealer will reveal her hand. Her hand must be high enough to qualify. What’s high enough to qualify varies from one casino to another, but requiring at least ace + king is a common rule. (It’s a good idea to check this before you start playing at new table, to avoid surprises.)
What happens if the dealer’s hand doesn’t qualify?
If the dealer’s hand isn’t good enough to qualify, all players that are still in the round will get paid 1:1 on their ANTE. It doesn’t matter how good or bad your hand is, you will automatically get paid when the deal fails to qualify. This is why player’s sometimes elect to stay in the round and make a bet even when they have been dealt a really crappy hand.
You will not get paid on your BET, but you won’t lose it either.
If you have made a side bet and your hand is good enough to be entitled to money from the progressive jackpot, you must alert the dealer, because she will normally not look at player hands when her own hand hasn’t qualified.
What happens if the dealer’s hand qualify?
If the dealer’s hand is good enough to qualify, the dealer will look at each player’s hand and compare it to her own hand.
If your hand is worth less than the dealer’s hand, you lose your ANTE and your BET. You will get money from the progressive jackpot if your hand is good enough to be entitled to money from the progressive jackpot.
If you hand is worth more than the dealer’s hand, you get paid 1:1 on your ANTE and you will also get paid your BET. How much you get paid on your bet depends on the rank of you hand. A list will be available at the table that shows the payout for one pair or less, two pair, three of a kind, straight, etc all the way up to the Royal Straight Flush.
This is one example of what the paytable can look like for winning bets:
|Royal straight flush||
100 to 1
50 to 1
|Four of a kind||
20 to 1
7 to 1
5 to 1
4 to 1
|Three of a kind||
3 to 1
2 to 1
|One pair or less||
1 to 1
The progressive jackpot
As mentioned above, Caribbean Stud Poker is usually tied to a progressive jackpot. This is true online as well as offline. The progressive jackpot is fed by voluntary side bets. Only a player that has made a side bet can win money from the progressive jackpot.
Winning money from the progressive jackpot is independent from the dealer’s hand. It doesn’t matter if the dealer doesn’t qualify, if the dealer’s hand is better than yours or if the dealer’s hand is lower than yours – if your hand is high enough to qualify for jackpot money you will get jackpot money.
This is a commonly used paytable for the progressive jackpot:
100% of the progressive jackpot
10% of the progressive jackpot
As you can see, the three lowest levels will give you a fixed payout rather than a percentage of the progressive jackpot.