Tips and Tricks for Caribbean Stud Poker Fans

Earning the reputation of one of the most popular casino games over a couple of decades it’s been around, Caribbean Stud is something to consider. It appeared in the 1980s and became a standard in any respectable casino. Its online twin is no less successful.

One of the most alluring aspects of Caribbean Stud is the progressive jackpot. The chance to get a tremendous amount of cash is too tempting to resist for many of the players. But is the prize worth the hassle? Let’s go through the rules and strategies and see how attainable that massive jackpot really is.


Unlike its older brother Poker (in its various incarnations), Caribbean Stud is a game you play against the house. The other players are not your opponents, and you aim to beat the host. In this way, it is similar to Blackjack.

The first thing to do in the game is to place the initial bet, which is called the ante. There will probably be the minimum as well as the maximum amount. How high or low depends on the casino you play at. This will be the time to decide whether or not you are going to go for the progressive jackpot. To participate, you will have to place a side bet. The casino will specify that amount as well.

The host will then deal the cards. The player gets five of them, all facing up. The host gets five as well, but only one will be up. Now is the time to fold or call. By folding you surrender, and your initial and progressive bet go to the house. By calling, you continue to play and will need to place an additional bet. It has to be double the initial wager.

The host will then reveal their cards, and the winner will be declared. The hand rankings are the same as in Poker.

  • If your hand outranks the dealers, you win the ante (pays even money) and the call bet. How much you win on the call bet depends on the casino rules. You should always check those before you play.
  • If the host has a better hand, you lose both ante and the call bet.
  • There is also a possibility of the dealer’s hand not qualifying. This means that they don’t have an ace-king or higher (Pair, Royal Flush, etc.) In this case, the house returns your initial bet. In other terms, no one wins.

Seems pretty straightforward? And it is. However, to actually win some money on Caribbean Stud, you cannot merely rely on luck.


Like every other casino game, Caribbean Stud has a built-in house edge. It means that there is a mathematical advantage in favor of the casino. You should definitely consider this factor for any game you play.

Caribbean Stud has a high house edge that amounts to 5.22%. However, applying the strategy can reduce it to a staggering 0.001%. Sounds awesome? Of course, it is. But you will have to learn the tactics and apply them at the right time for the strategy to work.

Basic Strategy

It is not complicated and is effortless to apply. There are two main tactical points to follow.

Stud-Poker Basic Strategy

Don’t Fold Small Pairs

This can be confusing for inexperienced players. Quite often, you will get such hands, and you should definitely not fold when you do. The fact is that the dealer gets an unqualifying hand 44% of the time. It leaves you with 56% chances of winning. It makes sense to continue. Otherwise, you lose the ante.

Don’t Play Weak Hands

If you get a weak hand, feel free to fold. Don’t be stubborn or afraid to withdraw because in this case, the odds are against you. So if you don’t have an Ace, a King, a Flush, Four-of-a-Kind, Full House, etc. just let go.

Advanced Strategy

This one is more complicated. You should really take your time to learn the rules of the basic strategy and perfect the implementation. Only then will you be able to go for the advanced version. It will be a much easier skill to obtain if you master the basics. There are also two focal points in this one.

Call When You Have a Pair or Better

It’s not complicated, and it’s the right move. To go into the details a little bit more, check the following:

  • If the host has two to King and matches one of your cards, call.
  • If they have an Ace or a King and you have a Queen or a Jack, call.
  • If you have a Queen and the host’s up card is worth less than your fourth highest card, call.

Fold If You Don’t Have at Least One High Card

To put it simply, if your high card can match the host’s, you call. The host’s hand still qualifies around 50% of the time, so you should be sure that your hand is good enough. With the risk of being repetitive, if your hand is weak, don’t hesitate to fold. Sometimes, luck is not on your side, and no strategy will help you win.

When you do get to be an advanced player, there is the Optimal Strategy to take you to the next level, but the step-by-step approach is essential.

Progressive Jackpot

Progressive Jackpot Caribbean-Stud-Poker

And now, let’s talk about the big prize! Similar to other casino games that have this feature, Caribbean Stud progressive jackpot is the prize available in linked games, where all the players contribute to it. Since a lot of gamblers participate, the amounts can be over-the-top and super seductive.

Your initial bet will not be enough, so to take a chance at winning, you will need to place a side bet. To actually win, you need to get Royal Flush. In other words, you are betting on whether or not you’ll receive Royal Flush. There are other rankings that pay out, but it would not be the entire amount.

  • Royal Flush — the whole prize
  • Straight Flush — ten percent of the prize
  • Four-of-a-Kind — from $100 to $500
  • Full House — ten percent of the prize
  • Flush — from $100 to $500

For Straight, Royal Flush, or Full House, there will be a guaranteed minimum the casino will pay out. You get whatever reward is greater at the moment.

The whole thing sounds tempting, but the expert opinions are conflicting. Many say that it’s a bet for suckers. The house edge is sky-high regarding this one, and it goes up to 29.46%. Too high to take the risk unless the jackpot reaches the amount that makes it worth trying. The best advice to follow at this point is only to take the chance if the prize is really outrageous and can make you rich.

The Odds

Relying on the statistical data that the host does not qualify 44% of the time, it would make sense to call more than to fold. However, applying the strategy is essential if you want to make the most out of the game. Keeping the house edge as low as you can is the best way to increase your odds. Don’t go random; it will take you nowhere!


The game is fun and easy to play, so you should give it a go. The best course of action is to learn the rules and the strategies because the house edge is too high to leave everything to luck.

It’s one of those things that can make you rich with that ever-increasing progressive jackpot. However, go for it only if the prize is really impressive. Smaller amounts are not worth the risk.

In the end, make sure you get a lot of practice! There are demo mode versions available, and take advantage of them. You will get the hang of the game and a chance to apply the tactics before you invest your resources. Become a pro before you take a seat at the table.