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How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Although many online poker variations can be complicated, games like Caribbean Stud are appropriate for virtually all players. In fact, the primary aim of it is to introduce people to casino table games. So naturally, it comes with very simple rules and a slower pace. This version of the game is based on five-card stud poker, hence why sometimes it’s just called stud poker. However, what makes it unique is that you get to play against the house and not other players. You can find Caribbean Stud games at most online casinos in the Philippines. But if you don’t know how to play yet – our full guide will be all you need.

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What is Caribbean Stud?

Originally named Casino Poker, this game was created to introduce more players to the already popular game of poker. Although the origin of Caribbean Stud is not well documented, David Sklansky is touted to be the game’s inventor. Allegedly, Sklansky invented the game in 1982 basing it on five-card stud poker. However, the rules were somewhat different from those in use today. Moreover, at the time the game lacked a progressive jackpot and the dealer revealed two cards instead of one. 

Due to patent laws, Sklansky wasn’t able to patent the game. But a few years later, a veteran poker player brought the game to Excelsior Casino in Aruba (formerly The King International Casino) and patented it. Together with the casino owner, the poker player slightly changed the rules to create the Caribbean Stud poker we play now.

Caribbean Stud Poker Online

Basic Glossary

Like many other casino table games, Caribbean Stud has a few terms of its own. Here are the basics that everyone should know about:

  • Ante – a mandatory amount of money each player bets before cards are dealt. 
  • Arc-en-Ciel/Rainbow – 3 completely different cards in a given suit. 
  • Hand – a player’s best five-card combination, including both open and closed cards.
  • Matched – cards with the same color. 
  • Coupled – cards with the same numerical value. 
  • Three-Of-A-Kind – a hand in which all three cards have the same value. 
  • Call – when the player’s bet is equal in value to the dealer’s bet. 
  • Four-OF-A-Kind – a hand with four cards of the same numerical value. 
  • Pair – two cards of equal value. 
  • Push – when both the dealer’s and the player’s hand have the same total. 
  • Flush – a hand of 5 cards in numerical order and from the same suit.
  • Fold – when a player gives up their hand and forfeits the ante. 
  • Full House – a hand with three of a kind and a pair.
  • Fill – used to denote that a player needs to draw a card to complete their hand. 
  • Royal Straight Flush – a flush but with an ace.
  • Pot – the entire pool of bets on a table during a betting round. 
  • Chips – units of betting, used instead of actual money.
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How to Play Caribbean Stud

If you have played five-card poker before, Caribbean Stud will be a breeze. The hand ranking is the same but this time you’ll be playing against the house. Moreover, in this variation, there’s no bluffing. So here’s how the game goes:

Setting Up

First, all players place an ante wager and an optional one for the progressive side bet. Then the dealer hands out five cards to each player, all facing down. The dealer also gets five cards but four are face down and one is facing up. After flipping your five-card hand, you can choose to raise or fold. 

If you place a bet on top of the ante, it’s usually equal to it or two times larger. But if you fold – you relinquish your cards, lose your ante and your side bets. Once everyone is done betting, the dealer will return their four cards and look at your hands.

Revealing the Outcome

For the dealer to qualify/open their hand, he or she must have ace-king or higher. So the least qualifying hand is of an ace, king, 4, 3, and 2. On the flip side, the highest non-qualifying hand consists of an ace, queen, jack, 10, and 9. If a dealer doesn’t qualify, the player gets their original ante. Moreover, if you placed an extra bet it’ll be returned to you because it’s a push. 

However, if the dealer can open his/her hand but yours is higher – you’ll receive even money (1:1 to your ante bet). If you made an additional bet, it’d be paid according to the table’s chart. Alternatively, if the dealer can open their hand and beat all players, everyone loses the ante and the raise. But if both the player and the dealer tie, the raise and the ante will push. Finally, the progressive jackpot depends on the player’s hand poker value.

How to Play Caribbean Stud

Pro Tips and Strategies

The most important thing in Caribbean Stud is to lower the house edge and you can apply some poker strategies to do so:

  • Know the basics. Understanding the rules is always crucial, so make sure you know how to play.
  • Avoid folding small pairs. Pairs of a low combination are common and you should utilize them. Don’t fold as they are often valuable to beat the dealer. 
  • Avoid playing weak hands. If you acquire a weak hand, fold it. Typically a weak hand is a no-name combination, often without a king or ace.
  • Fold hands without at least a high card. The dealer’s hand qualifies 50% of the time and the risk is not worth it. But play a hand of this caliber if your high card matches the dealer’s hole card. 
  • Call hands consisting of pairs or better. But fold it if the dealer has an ace or a king while you have a jack. 

The Progressive Jackpot in Caribbean Stud

The progressive jackpot in Caribbean Stud works similarly to other casino games and allows players to place side bets. In a nutshell, all side bets contribute to a pool of cash that you can win with the right circumstance. For instance, the likes of Royal Flush, Full House, Four of a Kind, Straight Flush, and Flush pretty much guarantee a jackpot win. But essentially, if you acquire a higher ranking hand you can win. The progressive jackpot in Caribbean Stud has an average house edge of 29.46% on all progressive side bets. Hence concentrating on that is generally not worth it. You can see how big the prize pool is from the progressive jackpot meter.

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To Fold or Not to Fold

The big question in Carribean Stud always is when to fold and when to raise. Generally, dealers qualify for the hand about 53% of the time. So it’s a good idea to consider the following strategies:

  • If you have been dealt a pair or higher, raise the hand. 
  • If you have been dealt a king, jack, 8, 3 or better – raise. Otherwise, you should fold. 
  • The house edge differs based on how players play. So when folding anything less than A, K, J, 8, and 3, players give up a 5.3% house edge. 
  • Raise on a pair or better (5.4% house edge) when the dealer’s up card matches (5.3% house edge).
  • Raise on Ace, King, or better (5.7% house edge).


Caribbean Stud is a form of stud poker where you play against the house/dealer. This game doesn’t allow for bluffing, making it an ideal option for solo players online. But what makes the game so easy to play is that there are no community cards or draws. Moreover, Caribbean Stud offers a progressive jackpot, so you can place an optional side bet if you like. However, winning isn’t easy due to the higher house edge. If you’d like to try it out for yourself, check out casino reviews to find the best gaming destination for you.


Caribbean Stud is a poker variation where you play against the house and not other players. The game is especially popular with novice players since it's slow-paced and has simple to grasp rules.

Caribbean Stud Progressive Jackpot games have a higher house edge - 29.46%. Hence you are unlikely to win but if you manage to get an edge over the house - it's worth taking the chance.

Since Caribbean Stud is a variation of poker, knowing how another variation works is certainly helpful. However, it is worth getting yourself familiar with the rules first.

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