Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

Caribbean Stud Poker is one of the more exciting casino games you can play. You can win big money relative to your stakes, and it's also really easy to learn. The rules are simple and there's not a huge amount to think about when actually playing the game. In each hand you have just one decision to make – whether to fold or whether to raise.

Although the game is largely luck based, the fact that you do have a decision to make during a hand of Caribbean Stud means that your actions can have some effect on your overall chances of winning. There is therefore some strategy involved in the game, which is basically just knowing when you should fold and when you should raise.

In this article we look at how you should go about deciding when to fold and when to raise, along with a couple of other things you should think about if you want the best chance of winning money when playing Caribbean Stud.

Basic Strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker

There are several casino card games where there is a mathematically correct decision to make in any given situation. This is because there are a fixed number of cards in a deck, and a fixed number of possible outcomes. It is possible, using various mathematical calculations, to work out what the likelihood of each possible outcome is, and therefore what the right decision is to make.

Caribbean Stud Poker is an example of such a game. After the cards have been dealt, it is theoretically possible to determine whether folding or raising is the correct decision. This is based on the information available, which is the five cards in your hand and the one exposed card in the dealer's hand.

If you make the correct mathematical decision each time when playing Caribbean Stud, you will keep the house edge to an absolute minimum. This is not actually very easy to do though, as the math involved is pretty complicated. It's essentially impossible for a human being to do all the necessary calculations, making it essentially impossible to play Caribbean Stud "perfectly".

The good news is that you don't necessarily need to play perfectly. You can play fairly close to optimal strategy just by following a couple of simple rules that cover most hands. These are as follows.

The only hands that these rules don't cover are when you are dealt ace king. This is where Caribbean Stud strategy gets more complex, and there are actually a number of different approaches that can be recommended for these hands. Our advice is to keep things as simple as possible, and act on the following basis when you have ace king.

Although you won't technically be playing optimal strategy if you follow all of these rules, you will be close enough to keep the house edge as low as you realistically can.

Playing the Side Bet

The side bet in Caribbean Stud Poker is usually a bad bet, as the house edge is very high. However, the size of the house edge can change as there is typically a progressive jackpot involved in this side bet. If the jackpot grows to be large enough, then the side bet can actually have a positive expected value. The jackpot would need to be around $250,000 or more though, so generally speaking you are going to be better off avoiding this bet.

With that being said, please remember that this is only the case if you're trying to keep the house edge as low as possible. If you're fully aware of the risks associated with the side bet, but still want to play it because it enhances your enjoyment of the game, then there's nothing at all wrong with that.

Finding the Best Value

The pay tables at Caribbean Stud Poker can vary, depending on where you are playing the game. Some pay tables will offer better value than others, so it can be a good idea to compare what's available at different casinos. This is quite easy to do if you are playing online, and can prove to be time well spent.