How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker Logo

One of three Caribbean table games taking the casino industry by storm is Caribbean Stud Poker online and land-based, a game very similar to the Caribbean Draw Poker.

Both games involve the same mechanics, including the ante/raise/fold betting structure, five card hands dealt to both the player and the dealer, and the option to place an additional jackpot bet in hopes of making a huge hand and getting paid out handsomely for your trouble.

You’ll only find one difference between Caribbean Draw Poker and Caribbean Stud Poker, but it’s a crucial variation. When you play Caribbean Stud Poker, the game does not allow you to discard and draw up to two additional cards while trying to improve your hand.

Therefore, when you choose to raise and play in Caribbean Stud, the five card hand you’re dealt is always the five card hand you must bring to battle against the dealer.

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Learn More About Online Caribbean Stud Poker

A Different Type of Poker

As one of the immensely popular hybrid table games currently revolutionizing the way casino games are played, land-based and online Caribbean Stud Poker incorporates aspects of both five card stud, draw poker, and even blackjack to create an exciting, fast-paced game that also provides the potential for huge bonus and jackpot payouts.

Players love games like Caribbean Stud Poker online because the house edge is quite low, on par with savvy player-favorites like blackjack and baccarat, so you can enjoy an extended session of play without breaking the bank. You can get a better idea about the look and feel of an online Caribbean Stud Poker match by visiting the Bovada Casino’s game page.

Learn to Play in a Few Minutes

Even better, the game only takes a few minutes to learn, but due to the decision-making processes that occur during the bet or raise phase of each hand, you’ll always be faced with an invigorating mental challenge. As mentioned, the rules and gameplay of Caribbean Stud Poker are nearly identical to the Caribbean Draw Poker format, so fans of the latter game will instantly feel at home while playing the former.

If you’re a new player to Caribbean Stud Poker online and would like to learn more or if you’ve played before and want to improve, the following guide to the game is the perfect resource.

The first section covers every step of the game’s rules and mechanics, from wagering to evaluating the dealer’s hand relative to yours, before the second section walks you through optimal strategy and ways to improve your odds.

Caribbean Stud Poker – Online vs. Land-Based

Online Caribbean Stud Poker and brick-and-mortar Caribbean Stud Poker have several differences. When you play Caribbean Stud Poker in a land-based casino, you sit at a gaming table while a dealer deals a hand. Players need to know which circles on the felt are used for which bets, while you need to memorize the game’s rules and strategies. In online Caribbean Stud Poker, the computer interface is more intuitive, while you have more time to study which decisions to make.

Learn As You Play: In a brick-and-mortar casino, the dealer can provide answers to any questions you have, but this might be embarrassing after a time. In an online casino, you can look up information as you play.

Go For The Big Payouts: The biggest differences between Caribbean Stud Poker online and in a land-based casino is the size of the payouts. You might find a land casino with a high fixed jackpot or progressive jackpot, but online casinos often have 6-figure Caribbean Stud Poker progressive jackpots on the side bet. For instance, and Bovada have a $130,000 progressive jackpot when you play Caribbean Stud Poker on their sites.

You won’t find jackpots as high in most land-based casinos, even when you play Caribbean Stud Poker in Las Vegas. Online casinos also provide welcome bonuses and game-specific bonuses for table games, though these are rarer than they should be. Keep reading to learn about bonus promotions that target Caribbean Stud Poker players.

Live Dealer Online Caribbean Stud Poker

Live dealer Caribbean Stud Poker online is a variation of the game all table poker players should try. One thing land-based gamblers don’t like about online Caribbean Stud Poker is the simulated gaming table and use of random number generators (RNGs). If you don’t like online or mobile casino simulations, but you can’t play in a land-based casino, try an online casino which offers live dealer gaming. The rules are the same as land-based Caribbean Stud Poker, but the cards are dealt by a real live dealer. Video is streamed to your computer in real time.

To play live Caribbean Stud Poker online, go to the homepage of an online casino like BetOnline or Betway Casino. In the list of gaming options in the header, click on “Live Casino”. This takes you into the list of games, which usually includes blackjack, baccarat, and roulette.

Online Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

  1. Ante Bet: The player makes an ante wager to begin the hand. For $1, the player has the option to make a progressive side bet.
  2. The Deal: Both the player and dealer receive a 5-card hand. All but one card is dealt face down, as one dealer card is face up. Players can peek at their cards, but cannot show their cards to other players at the table.
  3. Fold or Raise: After the deal, players must fold or raise. If the player folds, then he or she loses the ante bet and side bet. The raise bet is twice the ante bet.
  4. Dealer Shows: Once players raise or fold, the dealer shows their remaining four card. To qualify for the hand, the dealer must hold an Ace-King or higher. The lowest dealer hand which qualifies would be A-K-4-3-2.
  5. Showdown: If the dealer qualifies and beats the player’s hand, then the player loses the ante and raise bets. If the player wins, then the ante pays 1:1 and the raise pays according to the pay table listed below.
  6. Push Rules: If the player and dealer hands tie, then both the ante bet and raise bet ties. Even if you would have a huge payout on the raise pay table, you must beat the dealer to win the payout.
  7. Progressive Side Bet: The progressive jackpot is determined entirely by the player’s hand. If you win the progressive jackpot and the dealer somehow ties you, then you still win the progressive side bet.

How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker Online

Below you will find an easy guide that will teach you how to play Caribbean Stud Poker online in just a few minutes:


1. Starting to Play – Caribbean Stud Poker Ante Bet

A hand of Caribbean Stud Poker begins when you place a mandatory ante bet of your choosing.

After you ante up with a bet amount of your choosing, usually ranging from $5 up to $100 or more, the dealer will pass out five cards to you and five to themselves, with the deal alternating one card at a time.

2. Dealer’s Hand

Once you have your five cards laid out on the screen, you’ll notice that only one of the dealer’s cards is face up and exposed. This partial piece of information forms the strategic foundation of Caribbean Stud Poker, as your only decision is whether to raise and play or fold and surrender the ante bet.

3. Compare Your Hand Against the Dealer’s

Compare your five card hand to the dealer’s one up card, you should have a general idea about whether your hand can defeat the dealer’s hand upon showdown.

For example, should you look down to find a pair of aces among your five cards, while the dealer shows only a seven, it stands to reason that your hand will wind up as the best when the showdown occurs. Conversely, when you find nothing but a king high hand, and the dealer shows an ace as their up card, the choice to fold is no choice at all.

Caribbean Stud Poker Pay Table

Online Caribbean Stud Poker has multiple pay tables. The following pay table is used in most brick-and-mortar pay tables, so it is the most common pay schedule in online casinos, too. Study an online casino’s pay table carefully, because variations might change your Caribbean Stud Poker strategy.

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100:1
Straight Flush 50:1
Four of a Kind 20:1
Full House 7:1
Flush 5:1
Straight 4:1
3 of a Kind 3:1
Two Pair 2:1
Other Hands 1:1

Playing Real Money Caribbean Stud Poker Online

You’ll be playing more than folding for the most part, and when you decide to continue you must place an additional raise bet equal to exactly twice the amount of your ante.

When you ante for $5 and like your hand, you’ll be placing a $10 raise bet for a total wager of $15 on the hand. Keep in mind though, you can always fold when the cards exposed suggest that you’re holding the second best hand, and this action simply means you surrender the ante and move on to the next deal.

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Online Caribbean Stud Poker Bets

After you’ve made the raise bet, the dealer will then expose their five card hand in full, and both hands are then compared. The highest poker hand wins the pot, but there’s one crucial provision that dictates the gameplay for Caribbean Stud Poker: the dealer must display a qualifying hand for the raise bet to be paid out.

Dealer’s Qualifying Hand

In this game, the dealer’s qualifying hand strength begins with any ace-king high hand or better. So the lowest possible hand that does qualify would be A K 4 3 2, while the best hand that doesn’t qualify would be A Q J 10 9.

Keep in mind that your raise bet is only paid out when the dealer produces a qualifying hand. When the dealer fails to do so, your raise bet is simply returned as a push, while your ante bet is paid out at 1 to 1. So if you manage to make two pairs, but the dealer turns up any non-qualifying hand, you’ll win double your ante and push on the raise.

Caribbean Stud Poker Side Bets

One reason play online Caribbean Stud is the progressive side bets. The main bet (ante/raise) range from $1 to $500, but players like that they can wager one single dollar more to have a chance at a progressive side bet. Stud Poker odds include a house edge a little over 5%. Like online slots, players are willing to deal with that return-to-player, because they get a chance to win a progressive side bet. Here is how the Caribbean Stud Poker side bets work.

Caribbean Stud Poker Progressive Pay Table

The following pay tables are what you’ll find when playing Microgaming’s and RTG’s versions of Caribbean Stud Poker’s side bet. Microgaming is a popular online casino software found at trusted international sites like Betway Casino. US online casinos like BetOnline Casino and Bovada use RealTime Gaming software, so the RTG paytable is what you’ll find at BetOnline and Bovada.

Caribbean Stud Poker has at least 20 different progressive pay tables, so most of the payouts you’ll see posted online won’t fit your online Caribbean Stud Poker experience. In all versions I know, the royal flush pays out 100% of the progressive jackpot. I list the $0 payouts because it should remind you that those hands sometimes win at other online casinos. Betway Casino and 888 Casino each feature Evolution Gaming’s 5+1 side bet, so you’ll find the 5+1 Bonus Bet pay table below, too.

Microgaming Caribbean Stud Poker Jackpot

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100%
Straight Flush $20,000
4 of a Kind $500
Full House $100
Flush $50
Straight $0
3 of a Kind $0


RealTime Gaming (RTG) Caribbean Stud Poker Jackpot

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 100%
Straight Flush 10%
4 of a Kind $500
Full House $100
Flush $75
Straight $0
3 of a Kind $0


Evolution Gaming 5 + 1 Bonus Side Bet

Hand Payout
Royal Flush 1000:1
Straight Flush 200:1
4 of a Kind 100:1
Full House 20:1
Flush 15:1
Straight 10:1
3 of a Kind – 7:1
Two Pairs or Less $0


Caribbean Stud Poker Payouts

The real fun of Caribbean Stud Poker online comes from the bonus payouts awarded when you beat any qualifying dealer hand with a high ranking poker hand.

The table below illustrates the payouts for high hands that vanquish a qualifying dealer hand, but as an example, suppose you make a straight flush after betting $10 on the ante and $20 on the raise.

If the dealer’s hand ranks at ace-king high or better to qualify, your straight flush is awarded an additional payout of 50 to 1, so you’d win $10 profit on the ante, but an astounding $1,000 on your raise bet.

Hand Rank Description Ante Raise Odds
Royal Flush A, K, Q, J, 10 of same suit 1 to 1 100 to 1
Straight Flush 5 cards of the same suit in sequence 1 to 1 50 to 1
4 of a Kind 4 cards of same rank 1 to 1 20 to 1
Full House 3 of a Kind, plus a pair 1 to 1 7 to 1
Flush 5 cards of same suit 1 to 1 5 to 1
Straight 5 cards in sequence, mixed suits 1 to 1 3 to 1
3 of a Kind 3 cards of same rank 1 to 1 2 to 1
Two pair 2 pairs of different rank 1 to 1 1 to 1
One pair 1 pair (2 cards) of same rank 1 to 1 1 to 1
High card 3 cards of same rank 1 to 1 1 to 1

Caribbean Stud Poker Online Strategy

One of the best strategies for playing profitably Caribbean Stud Poker online concerns the progressive jackpot side bet. A staple of table games, these side bets entice players with truly massive payouts should they make the perfect hand (a Royal Flush pays 100% of the running jackpot amount, while a straight flush pays 10% of that sum).

Unfortunately, while the idea of winning one of these side bets is tempting, the mathematics of the game make the bet a loser overall. The house edge for Caribbean Stud is quite low, right on par with sharp games like blackjack and baccarat, but that’s only when you make the standard ante and raise bets while playing close to optimal strategy. When you throw $1 per hand at the progressive jackpot bet the house edge increases significantly.

Online Caribbean Stud Poker Winning Tips

Learning how to play Caribbean Stud is more than simply learning the rules. Players need to learn optimal strategy to achieve the best results. The Caribbean Stud Poker strategies below provide an easy-to-learn set of tips to keep in mind while playing. Read the advanced strategy in the next section to learn even more tricks.

  1. Pair or Higher: Always raise, if you have a pair or higher. Caribbean Stud Poker online optimal strategy suggests players should raise 52.23% of the time.
  2. Lower Than Ace-King: If you’re 5-card hand is less than the dealer’s qualifying hand of A-K, then you should always fold.
  3. Ace-King Hand Advice: The hardest hand to play in online Caribbean Stud Poker is when you hold an Ace-King. If your 3 singletons are higher than the dealer’s card, you should raise. If the dealer’s face card is Jack or less and it matches one of your singletons, play the raise bet (you can consult this handy Caribbean Stud Poker A-K chart* to determine the correct action for each scenario)
  4. Betting the Progressive: Two schools of thought exist involving the Caribbean Stud Poker progressive side bet. One school thinks it’s a sucker bet, because it has a high house edge. The other school thinks Caribbean Stud Poker isn’t worth playing, if you don’t have that small chance of hitting the progressive. Both are legit points of view, so make your decision and live with it.

Common Mistakes when Playing Caribbean Stud Poker

  1. Folding Low Pairs: Many beginning players fold pairs that are 5 or lower. That is a huge mistake, because the dealer fails to qualify with an A-K 44% of the time. If you have any pair, make a raise bet, because you’ll win more than 50% of the time holding a low pair.
  2. Playing Ace-Queen: Players often play the A-Q hand, because it has two high cards and looks to be a winner. In truth, the dealer qualifies 56% of the time. You only win holding A-Q if the dealer busts, so you’re going to lose more times than not.
  3. Bluffing: New Caribbean Stud Poker players make the mistake of thinking they’re playing Stud Poker, in which you can bluff a player out of the pot. Bluffing has no effect in Caribbean Stud Poker, so play the hand and not the player.
  4. Positive Expectation Side Bet: Even if you think the progressive is a sucker bet in Caribbean Stud Poker, if the jackpot reaches a certain level, it’s wise to make the $1 side bet. Especially in RTG casinos, when you have a chance at a 100% jackpot and a 10% jackpot for a lesser hand, consider making the side bet when the progressive reaches several hundred thousand.
  5. Raising with A-K: Advanced Caribbean Stud Poker strategy comes down to how you play a hand with Ace-King. Many players make the raise bet 100% of the time holding A-K, which is a mistake. Others fold too often with this hand. Study Caribbean Stud Poker basic strategy to learn when to play an Ace-King hand.

Best Online Casinos to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

It’s important it is to find a good casino site to play online Caribbean Stud Poker. Good online casinos offer large welcome bonuses, high betting limits, and fast withdrawals. The best online casinos provide realistic bonus terms and reliable payouts.

Bettors who want to play Caribbean Stud Poker online for real money need access to a mobile Caribbean Stud Poker app for Android and IOS, as well as the ability to play live dealer Caribbean Stud Poker. Finally, players need the kind of ante bet Stud Poker payouts and progressive side bets pay tables that produce fair Stud Poker odds. The following four online casinos are the best in the business at combining all the aforementioned elements.

For Non-US Players

  • Betway Casino: Betway Casino has live Caribbean Stud Poker streamed from the Hippodrome Casino in London, England. Betway’s live dealer Caribbean Stud Poker allows main bets ranging between £0.1 and £1000.
    • Side Bets: the traditional progressive side bet and the 5+1 side bet for a £/$/€1,000 jackpot.
    • Welcome Bonus: Betway offers a £/$/€1,000 welcome bonus to new players, as well as a large variety of
    • Withdrawal Methods: Players can receive payouts in 9 different currencies using Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard, iDebit, Neteller, Entropay, EcoPayz, fast bank transfers, eCheck, EFT, and ACH.
  • 888 Casino: 888 Casino provides live Caribbean Stud Poker with a huge betting range between £0.01 and £1000, so penny players and high rollers alike should enjoy this version of Caribbean Stud. 888 Casino uses Evolution Live software (like Betway),
    • Side Bets: Progressive side bet or the 5+1 side bet for a £/$/€1,000 jackpot.
    • Special Bonus: 888 Casino is known for its £888 no-deposit bonus
    • Payout Methods: Once you win, international players can make withdrawals using Apple Pay, PayPal, Skrill, NETELLER, Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, EntroPay, iDebit, Postepay, QIWI Visa Virtual, WebMoney, and bank wire transfer.

For US Players

  • Bovada: Bovada Casino has $1 to $500 Caribbean Stud Poker with a $1 side bet that offers a 100% payout for a royal flush and a 10% payout for a straight flush. Bovada does not offer live Caribbean Stud Poker at the moment but has Caribbean Stud Poker for desktop and mobile computers.
    • Welcome Bonus: Bovada offers a $3000 welcome bonus and a $5000 bitcoin bonus, so new players can spend a lot of house money playing Caribbean Stud Poker.
    • Payouts: Payouts are available via Bitcoin wallets, courier checks, and fast bank transfers.
  • BetOnline Casino: BetOnline Casino also features RTG Caribbean Stud Poker, so it has bet limits between $1 and $500 and the same 100%/10% payout structure on the $1 progressive side bet. While BetOnline does not offer live Caribbean Stud Poker at the moment, BetOnline Live Casino exists and offers more exotic games like Super 6 Baccarat, so it likely plans to expand it live dealer games list in the future.
    • Welcome Bonus: BetOnline has a $1000 casino welcome bonus on your first three deposits.
    • Payout Methods: BetOnline has many payout methods, including Bitcoin, Litecoin, Neteller, Skrill, Skrill One-Tap, Person2Person, ATM, check by mail, courier check, and bank wire transfers.