Caribbean Stud has become one of the most popular games on the casino floor, but with a house edge of 5.2% this is a game where you get out as soon as you get up. With potential payouts as high as 100 to 1 on a wager, Caribbean Stud appeals to just about every type of casino player.
It’s become so popular because it’s a very easy game to play yet there is still player involvement in the game play. Players must make the decision to stay in a hand or fold out, leaving your ante bet behind if you fold. Dealers must qualify for the hand by making at least A-K or higher, otherwise the hand is dead and the player wins even money on the ante bet.
Once the dealer’s hand qualifies, the player has to beat the dealer’s hand in order to get paid on their bet. If the player wins against the dealer they will be paid odds based on the strength of the hand. This will vary in each casino, but most payouts for Caribbean Stud are as follows (and you can see by the difference between the payout and the probability why this game carries such a big edge for the house):
- One Pair pays even money (1 in 2 hands probability)
- Two Pair pays 2 to 1 (1 in 21 hands)
- 3 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)
- 4 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)
Caribbean Stud has one simple strategy rule to follow to lower the house edge as much as possible: The golden rule of Caribbean Stud is to raise the hand if you’ve been dealt a pair or higher. Experts have fine-tuned this strategy down to when you’ve been dealt A,K,J.8.3 or better, anything less should be folded. When following out properly other odds can be determined.
If you fold your hand every time you have less than the above you should, on average, fold your hand 47.5% of the time. That leaves you with 52.5% of the hands you are dealt as raising hands. Dealers will always keep A,K, so they will qualify for the hand a little more than 53% of the time. The dealer will not qualify 23% of the time that you raise, or one in every four hands.
Caribbean Stud odds, if you have raised correctly, will predict that the dealer will win, on average, 13.5% of the time and the player will win 16% of the time that they qualify to play the hand. The dealer will also not qualify on hands that you raise 23% of the time. A push hand will occur on average every 62,500 hands, or roughly 0.0016% of the time.
The house edge in the game of Caribbean Stud will differ based on how the player plays the game. If a player folds everything less than A,K,J,8,3 they can expect to give up a 5.3% house edge. Other common strategies include raising when one of the dealer’s up cards matches (5.35% house edge), raising on a pair or better (5.4% house edge), or raising on A,K or better (5.7% house edge).
Some players employ a strategy that sees them raising with every hand, but we don’t recommend that practice as it gives the house a whopping 16.5% edge. Even worse, Caribbean Stud odds can be found by betting on the jackpot. This bet can give the house as much as a 26.5% edge. Stick to the optimum strategy for the best chance to get ahead of the game, and walk away when you find yourself up 10 winning hands or more.
Online Caribbean Stud offers the chance for players to get together and collude against the house. If all the players at the table shared their hole card information they could increase the chances of predicting what the dealer is holding. However, even with an edge like that the house will still hold an edge over the players, somewhere around 0.5% at a six-player table. Most online tables will not have that many players seated.
The game may sound a bit complicated to a new player but the reality is that it is very simple to play and takes only a few hands before it all becomes clear. New players should take the time to play a free version of Caribbean Stud online to get used to the game before investing in real money action.