Online Caribbean Stud Poker for Real Money
Playing online Caribbean Stud Poker gives you access to this popular table poker game from your laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other Web-capable gadget. Caribbean Stud Poker is a casino-banked, table-based version of five-card stud.
What about that weird name? Researching online, I read a few different takes on how this five card stud variant came to be called Caribbean Stud – the game made its premiere in a casino in Aruba that mostly catered to cruise ship tourists. Once Americans got a taste for the game while on a cruise, it was only a matter of time before it hit the American mainland.
Top 3 Caribbean Stud Poker Sites
The phrase “Caribbean Stud Poker” can actually refer to two different games – one is the trademarked table game for brick and mortar casinos (owned by SHFL, formerly ShuffleMaster)–the other is actually a series of games, imitations of the trademarked version.
Caribbean Stud Poker is an interesting poker variant for a couple of reasons – for starters, it’s played entirely against a dealer, with no competition among players. Depending on how you look at it, that either makes the game boring or liberates players from the need for bluffing and psychology. Of course, that difference only matters at land-based casinos. Online casino gamblers are used to playing table games heads-up against a dealer.
How to Play
The game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards. The goal is to have a hand worth more than the dealer’s after both betting rounds.
You start a game of online Caribbean Stud Poker by placing an ante bet. Once the ante is placed, you have the option of placing a progressive side wager for an additional $1. More on this side wager below.
After those bets have been placed, you and the dealer will be dealt five cards apiece. Your cards are dealt face-down; four of the dealer’s cards are face-down, one is face-up.
The only information you’ll have to make your next decision is the content of your hand and the dealer’s one up-card. At this point, you can fold and avoid further losses, forfeiting only your ante and progressive wager (if placed).
Or you can choose to place an additional bet, in hopes that your hand is stronger than whatever the dealer is holding. You don’t get to choose your wager – instead, you have to bet twice the amount of your ante.
If you decide to place your additional bet, the dealer will reveal his entire hand. If you notice that your hand is better than the dealer’s, don’t get too excited – his hand must also “qualify” for you to win a payout. To qualify, his hand must contain at least an Ace and a King. If his hand doesn’t qualify, he’ll fold, and you’ll earn an even-money payout on your original ante wager. Your additional bet, unfortunately, is push.
What happens if the dealer’s hand qualifies? He’s forced to compare his hand to yours, with rankings based on standard poker rules. If you have a better hand, your ante is returned at a rate of 1:1. Things get really interesting when you calculate your winnings for your additional wager. Here’s a standard set of payouts for the additional bet:
- Pair – 1:1
- Two Pair – 2:1
- Three-of-a-kind – 3:1
- Straight – 4:1
- Flush – 5:1
- Full House – 7:1
- Four-of-a-kind – 20:1
- Straight Flush – 50:1
- Royal Flush – 100:1
Let’s say you placed a $5 ante, drew three Jacks, played through, and beat the dealer’s qualified hand. You’d have wagered a total of $15 and earned $40 for your trouble. What happens if the dealer wins outright? You lose both your ante and your secondary bet.
What about the progressive bet? Here’s where it becomes important. If you were lucky enough (and the odds are pretty slim for most of these hands, so luck is a factor) to be dealt a flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush, or royal flush (after placing the $1 progressive) then you win a prize as spelled out by the rules of the specific online Caribbean Stud Poker game you’re playing. Every online casino has a slightly-different pay schedule for this wager, so check before you play.
Online Caribbean Stud Poker Odds
According to this page on house edge comparisons at Wizard of Odds, Caribbean Stud Poker gives the casino an advantage of 5.22%. But the use of different rules and pay tables at different online casinos means their games all have slightly different numbers in that category. I’d say the average edge is about 5.5% – I base that on the game rules found on four different software platforms.
At a house edge of between 5.2 and 5.5%, Caribbean Stud Poker is not an advantage gambler’s dream come true, but it’s not even close to one of the worst bets in the casino. In fact, this game offers players about the same odds as even-money bets on an American-style roulette wheel.
What can that number tell you about your future sessions? Basically, it indicates how much of your total action you should expect to hand over to the casino. In the case of this game, you’re giving up about 5.5% over any given session. Understand that this number assumes you’re playing ideal strategy. If you play this game according to ideal strategy at $1 a hand, you should expect losses of around $10 per hour. That number is accurate for the online game, which moves much faster than the way it’s played at a brick and mortar casino.
For whatever reason, modern gamblers love their table-style poker variants. Caribbean Stud Poker is one in a series of such games trademarked by SHFL, similar to the story of Three Card Poker. The addition of the progressive side bet is a nice concession to players who aren’t used to these games giving the house an edge above 3 or 4 percent.