Caribbean Stud Poker


Poker is America’s favorite game and lots of its variants are known today in brick-and-mortar and online casinos alike. Caribbean stud poker is one of the best-known variants of the game that is played against the house. In this game, you won’t need to bluff, and you only need a limited strategy. The rules can be learnt in a matter of minutes and this game gives great entertainment to casual players as well as poker enthusiasts. 

If you are after a poker game that is a tad more complex than video poker yet doesn’t require you to be a pro to have a chance at winning, casino Caribbean stud poker is for you. So read on, as we’ll tell you how it is played, and teach you the basic strategy that can help reduce the house edge. We’ll also tell you where US players can play the game in land-based casinos and online.

Online Poker in New Jersey

What is Caribbean Stud Poker?

The principles of Caribbean stud poker are the same as those of five-card stud poker but with one huge difference. Here, you play against the house and not against other players. That being said, you are still playing with a dealer and not against a machine, like in video poker. You may sit alone at the poker table (besides the dealer) or with other players, but their hands have no effect on your gameplay at all. Similarly, to blackjack, you only play against the dealer, and you may sit together with your friends and cheer for each other. At the end of each round, the dealer compares his/her hands against all the players who haven’t folded, and a separate outcome is determined for each player. 

If you play in a land-based casino, there’s one rule to keep in mind though. You shouldn’t show your cards to the other players as this could give them an advantage against the dealer. Players who break this rule may be asked to leave the table.

The history of Caribbean Stud Poker

Just like many other gambling games, the origins of Caribbean stud poker are unclear. We are not sure who invented the game or wrote down the Caribbean poker rules for the first time. David Sklansky, the author of the successful “The theory of poker” book, claims he did it in 1982 under the name Casino Poker. He didn’t manage to patent the game though. Actually, another player patented the game in Aruba under the name Caribbean Stud Poker. Yet, another story tells that the game was played on a cruise ship around Aruba and then brought to the United States. Whichever story is true, one thing is for sure. A great game was born. So how do you play Caribbean stud poker? We’ll break it down for you.

How to play Caribbean Stud Poker

Like, in all types of poker games including video poker, Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Three Card Poker or 7 card stud poker games, you’ll need to know the card rankings to understand the basics of the game. When you play Caribbean stud online, the hand rankings will be displayed for you on the screen together with the payouts, yet you should be aware of the ranks before you sit down to play. Here are the rankings starting from the most valuable:

  • Royal Flush: highest straight flush
  • Straight Flush: five cards in a row that have the same suit
  • Four-of-a-kind or Squads: four cards of the same rank
  • Full House: three cards of the same rank and two of another
  • Flush: five suited cards
  • Straight: five cards in a row of whatever suit
  • Three-of-a-kind or Trips: three cards of the same rank
  • Two pair: two cards of the same rank plus another two cards of the same rank
  • Pair: two cards of the same rank
  • High card: the highest card if there is none of the above combinations.

Texas Hold'em poker cardsThe objective of the game is to get a higher hand value than that of the dealer. In a land-based casino environment, before the game starts, you’ll have to place your ante into a box. You can also place a bet in the jackpot field if you wish to participate in the jackpot game. The dealer will deal five cards to each player as well as to himself. One of the dealer’s cards is turned face up so that all players can see it. Now, players can pick up their cards and make a decision. Basically, there are two choices: 


  • Fold – giving up the hand and losing the ante
  • Play – placing a bet that is double the ante


When everybody has made their decisions, the dealer reveals the rest of his cards, and the outcome is determined for each player. 

When you play Caribbean stud poker online, you play alone so the gameplay is much quicker. Here’s our step-by-step guide to playing Caribbean stud online

  1. Log into your casino account and select a game
  2. Tick or untick the jackpot button
  3. Set your wager for your ante
  4. Click on the “Deal” button
  5. You’ll get your 5 cards, and you’ll see one card of the dealer
  6. Click on “Bet 1x” if you want to continue playing or “Fold” if you want to give up your hand
  7. The dealer’s face-down cards are now revealed
  8. The outcome is determined
  9. Play again

The payout is a little different in Caribbean stud than in other table games since players who continue playing place two bets: the ante and the play bets. 

Your ante bet pays 1:1 if your hand is stronger than the dealers. However, your play bet only pays 1:1 if the dealer qualifies – has an Ace-King or better combination. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, you get paid for your ante bet but the play bet is pushed – it is returned to you without a profit. 

If you win with a hand that is stronger than a pair the payouts will be between 2:1 and 100:1 (see the paytable further down).

Caribbean stud poker online

Now, that we have covered the basics of the game, let’s take a look at your choices of playing the game online. 

Online gambling is regulated differently in different states of the US. At the moment, 6 states allow online gambling, and these are Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Residents and visitors to these six states can play casino games online legally as long as they are over the legal gambling age. 

Caribbean stud is a very popular table game and most online casinos will offer at least one version of it. These games are fully automated in an online casino, meaning, that the computer does the dealing, and a random number generator determines the outcome of the game. The great thing about playing this game online is that you can play it with very low minimum bets that are usually set at $1. The standard cost of participating in the jackpot game is an additional $1. Just like other computerized table games, there’s usually a demo version available that you can play for free. This way you can get some practice to make sure you fully understand the game before you play it for real money. 

If you miss that “real casino feel” you can opt for playing a live dealer title. Game producers such as Evolution Gaming offer Caribbean stud with live dealers. In these games, a real-life dealer shuffles and deals the cards and announces the outcome. Everything is broadcasted in real-time using multiple HD cameras and players can communicate with the dealer through a chat box. 


Mobile play

You can not only enjoy Caribbean stud poker online but you can play it even on your mobile. Literally, all online casinos that offer the game on their desktop version also offer it on their mobile sites. And the cherry on the cake is that you don’t even have to download separate software to do so (like with other poker games). Simply access your favorite casino’s website through your mobile browser, search for the game and play real money or free stud poker online no download

Live dealer titles are also available on mobile devices; however, you’ll have to have a stable internet connection to ensure flawless streaming.

Caribbean stud online vs in land-based casinos

This version of poker is very popular in land-based casinos and online alike. Since players here play against the dealer and not each other, there’s no reason for you to make your way to a brick-and-mortar casino other than for the social aspects. Caribbean stud is a fun game and perhaps the least stressful version of the popular card game so many people make a night out of playing it with friends in Las Vegas or Atlantic City casinos. If you live far away from any brick-and-mortar casinos you should go for the online version. Here’s how online and brick-and-mortar casino Caribbean stud games compare:


Online version

Land-based casino version

Minimum bets start at $1

Minimum bets start at $5

Jackpot is normally $1

Jackpot is normally $1

Play at your own pace

You’ll have to wait for all players to make their decision

Can be played 24/7

Can be played when the table is open 

Where to play Caribbean Stud Poker

Players who like to visit brick-and-mortar casinos are spoilt for choice when it comes to Caribbean stud poker. You can play it in several Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos and in many other locations around the country. Here’s a list of some of the casinos that offer this version of poker:


  • Wynn Las Vegas
  • Tropicana Las Vegas
  • MGM Grand Las Vegas
  • Planet Hollywood Resort Las Vegas
  • Normandie Club Los Angeles
  • Hollywood Casino Aurora in Illinois
  • Beau Rivage Casino in Mississippi
  • Borgata in Atlantic City
  • Turning Stone Resort & Casino New York


Players who want to play Caribbean stud poker online have similarly many options. Six states allow online gambling and issue gambling licenses, so as long as you are within these states’ lines, you can play the game online. We only recommend licensed and legit casinos on our site so as long as you choose from our list of casinos, you have nothing to worry about. 


  • These are some of the best places where you can play the online version of the game:

Caribbean stud poker house advantage and odds

The house edge of Caribbean stud is 5.224% which is significantly higher than that of video poker, blackjack or even many other poker variants. However, when you consider that this game includes a potentially high jackpot, the somewhat high house edge percentage makes sense. Players can decide to participate in the jackpot game or not. The jackpot pays for having a royal flush, but lower hand rankings can also pay a certain percentage of the pot, or a certain amount based on the casino’s own rules.

In the below table you can see the payouts the different winning poker hands offer and your probability of getting them. 





Player wins with royal flush

100 to 1


Player wins with straight flush

50 to 1


Player wins with four of a kind 

20 to 1


Player wins with a full house

7 to 1


Player wins with flush

5 to 1


Player wins with straight

4 to 1


Player wins with three of a kind

3 to 1


Player wins with two pair

2 to 1


Player wins with pair or less

1 to 1


Caribbean poker strategy

The strategy of Caribbean stud is not nearly as complicated as that of Texas Hold’em or Omaha poker. Here, you only need to make one decision and that is whether to fold or raise. The two basic rules are these:

  • Always fold if your hand is weaker than the dealer’s qualifying hand (Ace/King)
  • Always raise if you have at least one pair

To make sure the house edge is as low as possible, you’ll need to apply a strategy if you have an Ace-King combination. There are three scenarios here depending on what the dealer’s face-up card is.

  • If he has either an A or a K you should raise with A-K-Q and A-K-J hands.
  • If the dealer’s face-up card is anything between 2 and Q and you have the same card in your hand, you should raise.
  • If the dealer’s up-card is lower than your fourth highest card and you have a Queen, raise.


You’ll find many land-based casinos in the US that offer this popular game from Las Vegas to Atlantic City. If you want to play the game online, you can check out, for example, Borgata Online, 888 Casino or Ceasars Online.

Yes, as long as you are over the legal gambling age, and you are living or staying within one of the 6 states that allow online gambling.

No. In fact, this version of poker is one of the easiest. It requires minimal skills or decision-making. You should be able to learn the Caribbean poker rules in a matter of minutes.

As long as you play at a licensed casino, you don’t have to worry about rigged games. In automated poker games, random number generators determine the outcome ensuring that all results are random and fair.

Even though the probability of a royal flush is only 0.000001, you can still win fair sums with a straight flush, four-of-a-kind, full house, or a flush, therefore we recommend always ticking that jackpot box.

Most online casinos that offer Caribbean stud poker games, will let you play the games in demo mode, some even without registering. Please note, that live dealer games cannot be played for free.