Those who know the basics of Five-Card Stud Poker or Oasis Poker (a variation of Caribbean Stud), will feel at home at the Caribbean Stud Poker table. Here you’re playing against the dealer, trying to second guess and beat their hand rather than the other players’, so you’ll be less consumed with trying to work out everyone else’s strategy than in other poker games. For this reason, some gamblers don’t recognise it as “true” poker and many traditional poker techniques will be of no use when playing it.

That doesn’t mean to say it’s straightforward though, as there’s plenty of depth and strategy to this very popular game. Hybrid table games like this one have stood the test of time because they have a wide-ranging appeal. Committed poker players can jump right in with it being such familiar territory, while blackjack players can get their kicks going after straights and flushes – but won’t get wiped out as often and completely as they might have become accustomed to in their usual gambling pursuits.

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Play Caribbean Stud Poker

Despite being a relatively new format, the exact origins of this are somewhat unclear, although its more recent history is better documented. Poker itself was developed around about the 19th Century. Some say this game originated on the island of Aruba. Gambling expert David Sklansky claimed to have created the concept of Caribbean Stud back in 1982 though, albeit with a set of rules that looked a little different than they do now. A group claimed they played it (but under a different name) while travelling to Aruba on a cruise ship, following on from which a major casino owner picked it up and brought it to his casino, The King International. Dennis King, a property tycoon also claimed the creation of the game – he once owned a hotel in Aruba. So, whatever its true inception story, Aruba it would seem, was somewhere in the mix. The stunningly scenic island has become its nominal home, a suitably glamorous location for a casino game. Caribbean Stud Poker has become somewhat of an incumbent tourist attraction with many aficionados making a yearly pilgrimage to play the game on its exotic adopted home island. It wasn’t until many years later when a progressive jackpot was introduced, that it really took off. The game spread quickly, and by the 1990s, was readily available in US casinos. Alternative names the game is sometimes known by these days include: Caribbean Poker, Island Progressive Stud Poker, and Cyberstud Poker.

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A Tropical Table Game

Playing Caribbean Stud online is a slightly different experience, because the internet proffers opportunity for players to get together and collude against the house. By everyone sharing their Caribbean Stud hands, they increase the chances of predicting what the dealer might be holding. Do be aware though that even with that presumed advantage, the dealer house will still hold an edge. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of one of the many free play versions of the game before diving into cash bets. It doesn’t take long to become acquainted with the rules and vibe, but it’s far better to get used to it first, as it’s an easy way to lose money if you’re totally green to it. The other major benefit to online poker developments is the arrival of HD graphics and mobile compatible technology, making the experience all the more real and the ability to gamble on the go, all the more accessible. It’s worth shopping around for welcome bonuses and keeping an eye out for table specific bonuses that crop up. If you’re playing for money and need any winnings quickly, check the casino website for cashout timescales and methods. Of course, online casinos weren’t in existence when the game first originated, but now with the speed of hands and the higher guaranteed payouts found in online casinos, Caribbean Stud Poker has actually become a game that’s predominantly played on the internet, perhaps because the higher volume of players and the consequentially bigger progressive jackpots result in better value for gamblers. Plus, there’s the ease of having a world of casinos at your fingertips, without having to leave home or get changed out of your pyjamas (not quite as glamorous as a Bond film, but much more convenient). With an ever increasingly digital marketplace, this is a trend that’s only set to increase, resulting in many more options and opportunities for players.

Becoming A Caribbean Stud Poker Pro

To reach optimal strategy you’d need to put a fair few hours of study in and given the amount it would raise your edge, it’s debatable whether it’s worth it. However, it’s worth making the most of the free software on offer at most reputable online casinos to practice the basic betting options and fully investigate how they work. This will give you a chance to gain some Caribbean Stud mojo before launching yourself into one of the most popular games to be found in the gambling world. Alternatively, if you enjoy playing online and want to try something similar, it’s worth giving the lesser known Oasis Poker a whirl. They’re more or less the same, except the player is allowed to exchange cards before the raise or fold decision point, this privilege comes at a price though and will cost you a fee equal to your ante wager. Fans of the game will also enjoy other poker variants like Casino Hold’ Em or Let It Ride.

Upping The Ante

Here are the Caribbean Stud Poker odds you can expect to encounter: One pair pays evens (1 in 2 hands probability) Two pair pays 2 to 1 (1 in 21 hands) Three of a kind pays 3 to 1 (1 in 47 hands) Straight pays 4 to 1 (1 in 246 hands) Flush pays 5 to 1 (1 in 526 hands) Full house pays 7 to 1 (1 in 694 hands) Four of a kind pays 20 to 1 (1 in 4,167 hands) Straight flush pays 50 to 1 (1 in 72,202 hands) Royal flush pays 100 to 1 (1 in 649,351 hands – roughly the same sort of odds as being struck by lightning – just to give some perspective) There’s a fair bit of Caribbean Stud Poker strategy to be aware of which centres around following the house edge – the calculation of the average profit from a player’s bet. The following is a game plan even a novice player can follow. If you’ve been dealt a pair or higher of A, K, J, 8, 3 or better, always up the ante. If you fold every time you have less than that, you’ll be folding around 48% of the time and raising around 52% of the time. That leaves you with 52.5% of the hands you are dealt as raising hands. A dealer’s hand will qualify around 53% of the time, meaning that they will lose 23% of the time that you raise – nearly a quarter of the time. Assuming you’ve raised correctly, the odds are that the dealer will win around 14% of the time and the player will win 16% of the time that they qualify. The dealer will also not qualify on hands that you raise 23% of the time. A push (another word for all-in) will occur roughly 0.002% of the time. Folding everything less than A, K, J, 8, 3 is one strategy, but others include raising on a pair or better regardless of the card value, raising on A, K or better, and raising when you have a match with one of the dealer’s up cards. You could of course just raise the ante on every round, but be aware that this will give the house a much bigger edge, even more so when you bet on the jackpot – tempting as it can be with an alluringly juicy sum before you. Neither should you base a decision on a hunch, if you’re employing a technique, stick with it, as hunches can lose you money. It’s best to keep to well-worn strategies and call it a day when you’ve hit the optimum number of wins. Kenny Rogers’ wise words in the song ‘The Gambler’ are pertinent here: “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run…”, which in this case is by your 10th winning hand. Once you’ve mastered the basics of Caribbean Stud Poker, then other table games will feel like second nature to you. Pai Gow Poker is a similar game where you play your best hand against the dealer’s best hand. There’s not as much strategy as in Caribbean Stud, but you still get that mano a mano feeling while playing as you try to get one up on the house.

Caribbean Stud Conclusion

With potential payouts of 100 to 1 on a wager, it’s easy to see why Caribbean Stud Poker has become such a stalwart within the gambling community. With no bluffing and no need for a Lady Gaga style “p-p-p-poker face”, those with less convincing acting skills need not feel inferior at this poker table. The beauty of this is it’s not purely a game of chance either, as a player you’re very much involved in making decisions that have an impact on outcome – and they’re much more calculated than a mere roll of a dice. But neither is it so strategically fuelled that you need to be semi-pro to get anywhere and with the simple tips you’ve picked up here, you’ll soon be well on your way to picking up some cash too. And if you do pick up a hefty win, you could even treat yourself to a trip to Aruba and play some Caribbean Stud Poker over a Pina Colada, in paradise.