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Caribbean Stud Poker

: Game Rules & Strategy
Object: The object of Caribbean Stud Poker (also called Cyberstud Poker) is to have the strongest possible five-card poker hand that beats the dealer's qualifying hand.

The Deck: This game is played with a standard 52-card deck that is shuffled after each round. The rank of the cards is: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, Ten, then Nine through Two in order. Suits are a consideration in the game (for making flushes and straight flushes), but the four suits of Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, and Spades are equal to one another.

Table Layout

a sample caribbean stud poker table layout

Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

and Hand Rankings: Hand rankings are as follows, with the highest hands first:

Hand Ranking Description Example
Royal Flush 5 suited cards in sequence, topped with the ace.

For example, a Royal Flush in Spades.

Royal Flush
Straight Flush 5 suited cards in sequence.

For example, an Eight-high Straight Flush in Diamonds.

Straight Flush
Four of a kind 4 cards of the same rank.

For example, four Queens.

Four of a kind
Full house 3 cards of the same rank, plus 2 cards of the same rank.

For example, a full house with 3 aces and 2 fives is a Full House, Aces full of Fives.

Full house
Flush 5 cards of the same suit, not all of which are in sequence.

For example, a Diamond Flush.

Flush
Straight 5 cards in sequence, not all of which are the same suit.

For example, a Ten-high Straight.

Straight
Three of a kind 3 cards of the same rank.

For example, three Queens.

Three of a kind
Two pair 2 different occurrences of 2 cards of the same rank.

For example, Two Pair -- Jacks and Nines.

Two Pair
One Pair 2 cards of the same rank.

For example, a pair of Queens.

One Pair
Ace-King An Ace and a King, with any three other cards.

For example, Ace-King high.

Ace-King

If two or more hands are the same ranking, the winner is the one having the higher cards. For example, a Flush with an Ace high beats a Flush with a King high. If the poker hands remain tied, then the highest card not being held in common (the kicker) determines the winner.

Should poker hands be absolutely identical in ranking, the dealer wins.

Overview: After making an Ante bet, each player that has made a bet is dealt five cards face down; the dealer is also dealt five cards, but shows one of his cards to the table. At this point, the player looks at his cards (and his cards alone -- players may not see each other's cards) and can Fold or Call. Players that Fold lose their Ante bet; players that Call must do so for an amount of twice their Ante. The dealer then reveals the additional four cards in his hand and bets are resolved as follows.

  • If the dealer does not have an Ace-King or higher, the dealer is said to have 'not qualified'. Regardless of the value of your hand, Ante bets are paid at 1 to 1, and your subsequent Call bet is returned to you.
  • If the dealer does have an Ace-King or higher, the dealer is said to have 'qualified'.
    • If your hand is lower than the dealer's hand, you lose both your Ante bet and your Call bet.
    • If your hand ties the dealer's hand, both your Ante and Call bets are returned to you. This is rare.
    • If your hand is higher than the dealer's hand, your Ante bet is paid at 1:1, and your Call bet is paid according to the value of your hand. A typical payout schedule is shown below, although there are slight variations:
 Hand Ranking    Payout 
Royal Flush 1000 for 1
Straight Flush 200 for 1
Four of a Kind 100 for 1
Full House 15 for 1
Flush 10 for 1
Straight 6 for 1
Three of a Kind 4 for 1
Two Pair 2 for 1
One Pair 2 for 1
Ace-King 2 for 1

Progressive Jackpot:You may find that the table where you are playing has a progressive jackpot bet in addition to the normal bets described above. Players that Ante may optionally make this bet; after making this bet, players that Call their Ante bet are paid an additional amount when they hold a premium poker hand. The progressive jackpot payout schedule varies widely by casino, but here is a typical progressive jackpot payout schedule:

 Hand Ranking     Payout 
Royal Flush Jackpot
Straight Flush 20000 : 1
Four of a Kind 500 : 1
Full House 100 : 1
Flush 50 : 1

Strategy

  • A simple strategy is to Call when you have a pair or better, regardless of the dealer's up card. The house edge is about 5.5% with this strategy. This is better than the so-called 'dealer' strategy -- Calling when you have an Ace-King or better, regardless of the dealer's up card -- which has a house edge of about 5.7%.
  • There is a complicated, optimal strategy that can be found in many books, but that strategy will only reduce the house edge to about 5.2%. For my money, I just play the pairs and don't worry about the 0.3% that I am giving away by doing so.

Online Play: There are many online sites that offer Caribbean Stud Poker. You can try

free Caribbean Stud Poker

by utilizing the free, no-deposit welcome bonuses that are offered at many sites; if you decide to play for real, then be sure to play at a site that offers an initial deposit bonus of at least 100%.

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