How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

A game similar to Five-Card Stud, Caribbean Stud Poker is enjoyed at land-based and online casinos around the world. The player attempts to beat the dealer, while the prospect of a progressive side bet offers an interesting take on this great table game.

Caribbean Stud Poker Table Layout

Caribbean Stud Poker Table
  • ADealer
  • BHouse Chips
  • CJackpot Bonus Slot
  • DAnte Betting Spot
  • EBetting Spot for Placing Chips
  • FPlayers Seat

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Caribbean Stud Poker is usually played with one deck. The player begins by making an ante wager, after which both they and the dealer are dealt five cards each. Only one of the dealer’s cards is placed face-up, which means that the player has to decide whether to fold or raise based on the dealer’s up card and the strength of their own hand. Should the player choose to fold, they will lose their ante as well as any side bet they made.

If the player feels they have a viable hand, they raise and place twice the amount of their ante into the “bet” space on the layout. The dealer must then reveal their hand; if the dealer does not have a hand containing an ace and a king, or they do not have a high-ranking hand, then they do not qualify and the player wins. However, if the dealer’s hand beats the player’s hand, the player loses their ante and their bet, along with any side bets.

In general, the payouts for winning hands are as follows:

Royal Flush Card Ranking

Royal Flush

Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten - 100:1

Straight Flush Card Ranking

Straight Flush

Five cards in sequence with the same suit - 50:1

Four of a Kind Card Ranking

Four of a Kind

Four cards of the same value and another unmatched card - 20:1

Full House Card Ranking

Full House

Three of a kind and a pair - 7:1

Flush Card Ranking


Five cards of the same suit, not in sequence - 5:1

Straight Card Ranking


Five cards in sequential order, not of same suit - 4:1

Three of a Kind Card Ranking

Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same value - 3:1

Two Pair Card Ranking

Two Pair

Two sets of two cards, with the same value in each pair - 2:1

One Pair Card Ranking

One Pair or Lower

Set of two cards with the same value or a high card - 1:1

Many casinos, both online and land-based, also offer a progressive side bet with Caribbean Stud Poker, with a place on the layout for setting an additional chip (usually £1) if you wish to do so. The pot is generally seeded by the casino to provide a base jackpot, after which a proportion of every bet is allocated to the pot. Should the player make a side bet and possess a high-ranking hand during the round, they will win part of the fund or even the entire pot. Payouts vary, but land-based casinos tend to pay out the whole jackpot to a player who holds a royal flush and ten percent of its total value to anyone holding a straight flush. You can also win cash for a flush, full house or a four of a kind in some instances. However, you need to place the bet and make sure it’s acknowledged by the dealer to get in with a chance!


Players are not allowed to talk about their hands during play or at the tables and must always keep their cards in the dealer’s line of view. Cards may not be touched after the player has lifted them, seen the hand and placed the cards face-down again.

General casino etiquette applies - treat the dealer and other players with the same respect and consideration you want them to give to you.


The quick and dirty strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is to raise if you have a pair or higher or fold if your hand is anything less than a qualifying hand for a dealer - that is, an ace and a king - unless your three other cards are a queen, jack and a ten.

However, a pair can’t always guarantee that you’ll beat the dealer. You’re simply betting on the dealer being unable to qualify for the hand, giving you the payout even if you’re holding a pair of threes. However, you will win your ante and raises made in the round. If you fold when you don’t have a qualifying hand, you don’t lose your raise bet.

It starts to get complicated when you do have an ace and a king, and you will need to take into account the dealer’s up card as well as the other three cards in your hand. In general, you should raise against the dealer (no matter what their up card) if you had a royal flush or any combination of A-K-Q-J and a number card. With a hand of lesser value you may still beat the dealer, but it is nowhere near as certain.

While the progressive side bet is an extremely tempting prospect, it has an incredibly high house edge in land-based casinos, pushing as high as 26.46 percent. In addition, some online casinos only pay out if you have a royal flush, the odds of which are low. Feel free to put your bet down, but acknowledge it as a bit of fun rather than a way to win big fast.

The house edge for the main Caribbean Stud Poker game is 5.22 percent, which doesn’t make it the most profitable table game out there for the punter, but you can still enjoy it as part of a great casino experience by managing your bankroll and knowing when to walk away.

Important Terms:

You can discover other Casino terms at the Glossary page.


A wager made to start the game.

2Progressive Side Bet

A side game offered in Caribbean Stud Poker that collects money from side bets to offer a jackpot to a player who holds a royal flush and who has made the side bet.

3Qualifying Hand

For the dealer, a qualifying hand - one that lets them continue against the player - will contain at least an ace and a king or a higher-value hand.


To increase your bet after receiving your hand.

You can discover other Casino terms at the Glossary page.

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