Caribbean Stud poker is a casino table game with rules similar to five-card stud poker. However, unlike standard poker games, Caribbean stud is played against the house rather than against other players. There is no bluffing or other deception. Caribbean Stud Poker is a registered trademark owned by SHFL entertainment, Inc., formerly Shuffle Master, Inc.
The following rules are typical of play in U.S. casinos, but some of the details, such as payouts and betting limits, vary by location.
To play, each player places his ante on a marked spot on the table playing surface (“the layout”) where indicated; all ante wagers must be placed prior to the dealer announcing “No more bets”. Each player also has the option to participate in the progressive jackpot feature of the game. This is also done before the dealer announces “no more bets”, by dropping a chip in the slot on the table which activates the progressive jackpot light for that seat and that particular hand of play. Each player and the dealer will then receive five cards, face down. The dealer will turn over one of his cards, then push the cards toward the players, after which the players may look at their cards. They may only look at their own cards, and may not discuss what they have with any other players at the table.
Players have the option to either play or fold. Any player choosing to play places his raise (an additional wager equal to twice the amount of the ante) into the box in front of him marked Bet. Any player who chooses to fold forfeits his ante. After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals his four hole cards. The dealer only qualifies (plays) if his hand either (1) contains both an ace and a king or (2) forms a pair or any higher-ranked poker hand. The dealer then compares his five-card hand to those of the other players, individually, starting with the player farthest to his right, and both the ante and the raise bets of all players whose hands beat the dealer’s qualified hand win. If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, only the ante bets of players whose hands beat the dealer’s get paid while the respective raise bets all push (return to their respective players unpaid). If a player ties with the dealer, both ante and raise bets push.
There are some major rules in Caribbean Stud Poker that must be observed at all times while playing:
Only one hand per player. Players cannot hold or wager on multiple hands at the table.
Players choosing to play the Progressive Payout feature are responsible for ensuring their $1 wager has been inserted into slot and the “Indicator Light” is ON.
Players may not exchange or communicate information regarding their hands to other players or the dealer. Player violation will result in a dead hand and forfeiture of all wagers.
Incorrect amount of cards to the player constitutes a dead hand (or push) for that player only.
The decision of the table/casino supervisor is final.
If the dealer is dealt four cards of the five-card hand, the dealer shall deal an additional card to complete the hand. Any other misdeal to the dealer shall result in all hands being void and the cards shall be reshuffled.
Each player shall be required to keep the five cards in full view of the dealer at all times. Once each player has examined his or her cards and placed them face down on the layout, they may not touch the cards again.
If a hole card is exposed prior to the dealer announcing No More Bets, all hands shall be void.
It is possible for a player to reduce the house or casino edge in Caribbean Stud Poker. As a general strategy, you should never fold any pair (or higher hand rank) that you are dealt and always fold anything less than A-K. This is very basic Caribbean Stud Strategy - Play any pair and fold less than AK.
It is the playing strategy of A-K in Caribbean Stud Poker that really reduces the house edge. To play A-K profitably in Caribbean Stud Poker, there must be one of a number of conditions present.
If the dealer shows an ace or a king as their face up card, you should raise A-K-Q and A-K-J, as you have blockers to their pairs and more than likely the best A-K hand.
Raise A-K if the dealers face up card is a deuce through queen and you have that same card in your hand. * Blocker Effect
If the dealer shows deuce through five as the turned card, raise A-K-Q and A-K-J as you will more than likely have the best A-K hand.
Essentially, playing A-K optimally is the only way to reduce the house/casino edge in Caribbean Stud Poker. Using the strategy above, the house edge can be lowered by up to 2.3%, which is pretty significant.
Using optimal strategy the house edge is 5.224% of the player’s ante bet. This strategy can be complicated and does not lend itself to practical use in a casino. Using a strategy of raising with Ace/King/Jack/8/3 or better the house edge is 5.316%, very close to the optimal strategy house edge.
Knowledge of what other players hold can decrease the house edge. It has been estimated with the knowledge of six other players’ hands (30 cards) and associated optimal strategy the player can gain an edge of 2.3%.