Caribbean Stud Poker Guide – We should start with Game Rules. Caribbean Stud Poker is a form of 5-card stud poker, except with a progressive jackpot. In land-based and online casinos, Caribbean stud poker is fast gaining popularity at levels that known poker games like Texas Hold’em, 7-card stud, and Omaha poker have enjoyed.
What makes this casino game so appealing is that it combines the challenge-based aspect of a table game with the luck-based aspect of a progressive jackpot game. With an estimated 50 million players in the United States alone, poker is considered America’s most popular card game.
The easy part is when your five-card hand is high or low enough to decide its own fate. If you have a Flush or better, you would want to call your bet. If you have worse than an Ace-King or pair, you would obviously want to fold your bet. Not a lot of internal struggle happens there, and you can rest assured you have done the right thing. The awful, painful part is all the other hands in between. When is it best to risk it and when to drop it?
Pairs. As a rule of thumb, you should always call on all pairs, no matter what the dealer’s up-card is, because profitable pairs outnumber unprofitable ones. There are 13 possible pairs in a standard 52-card deck. Seven of those pairs have positive expectations—the high pairs of A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8—and are bound to win more than lose in the long term. Three of those pairs—the middle pairs of 7, 6, 5—have positive expectations provided the up-card is not higher than the pair. Only three of the possible pairs—the low pairs of 4, 3, 2—have negative expectations and are bound to lose more than win in the long term.
Even though the three low pairs are the least profitable, they are less so than forfeited ante bets, which jack the house edge up to a terrible 7%. Also, the odds remain good that your pair will find itself competing with a non-pair. The chances of a pair being dealt is a bit over 42%, which means the likelihood of a non-pair is a bit over 50%. In addition, the odds of the dealer being dealt an Ace-King are no doubt low, at roughly 6%. All these mean that a low pair can lose less money than folding your bet.
Non-pairs. The favored rule is to fold any non-pair without an Ace and a King. Otherwise, the only times to call your bet are as follows:
Player’s Hand Dealer’s Up-Card
Any Pair Any
A-K-Q-J + any card Any
A-K-Q + any 2 cards Matches one of the player’s cards
A-K-J + any 2 cards Matches one of the player’s cards
A-K-10 + any 2 cards Matches one of the player’s cards
When the dealer’s up-card matches one of the player’s cards, the dealer is less likely to have a pair, so this is a vital part of the strategy.
Progressives. As a general rule, a progressive jackpot bet should be placed only when the jackpot prize is over $263,000.