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About Caribbean Stud Poker

About Caribbean Stud Poker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (

Caribbean Stud poker is a casino table game with rules similar to five-card stud poker. However, unlike standard poker games, Caribbean stud is played against the house rather than against other players. There is no bluffing or other deception.


As a result of the popularity of poker, casinos created a house banked game known as Caribbean Stud Poker in order to lure poker fans to play more table games. The birth of the game is not well referenced, which is unusual for a relatively new game. Gambling genius David Sklansky has laid claim to formulating the game on a well-known poker forum, positing that he invented the game in 1982 using the name “Casino Poker”. When he developed the game the rules had some differences like, the dealer having two hole cards revealed instead of only one hole card revealed as in Caribbean Stud today. Likewise there was no progressive jackpot in the game he allegedly founded. Sklansky was unable to patent “Casino Poker” due to patent laws, according to the story. A few years afterwards he was approached by a poker player who brought the game to Aruba and had it patented. The poker player and a casino owner changed the rules slightly to form what we experience nowadays as Caribbean Stud Poker.

Another story details that many people claim they played the game under a different name on a cruise ship going to Aruba, before it was known as Caribbean Stud. The proprietor of the now ‘Excelsior Casino’ is believed to have bought the game after it was discovered on the cruise ship. The casino at the time was known as ‘The King International’. This new game has developed a tremendous interest from tourists in its short history. Fanatics of the game flock to Aruba yearly to play some Caribbean Stud at its home.

The true story of how the game as it is played today came into being goes back to 1987 when a gambler named James Suttle learned the game from a down on his luck poker player while playing Texas Holdem at Binion’s Horseshoe on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas. The Player offered to teach Suttle the game if he would lend him $5,000.00. (James Suttle denies this.) James who was a friend of casino owner and game developer Danny Jones, gave the man the loan because he knew that he could sell the game to Jones for a hefty profit. Jones owned the King International Casino in Aruba which latter became the Grand Holiday Casino. The casino was located in the Holiday Inn on Palm Beach in Aruba which was a favorite layover for many cruise lines. Danny began to market the game with minimal success to other casinos and cruise ships under the company D&D Gaming Patients. It wasn’t until computer software engineer Michael Titus told Jones that his game needed a linked progressive Jackpot that the game took off. Titus was playing Poker with Jones at the Horseshoe when during a casual conversation about the game (including discussion about the games strengths and weaknesses) they determined that the game was too strong for the house and players needed an enticement to play in spite of the games favor for the house. It has been a long standing tradition in the gaming industry to add large or progressive jackpots to games that offer weaker returns to the player. The advantage of a progressive jackpot is that it almost always pays for itself through player contributions. In slot machine play this is easily accomplished as the gaming machine is such a key element to the game, on table games this had never been done in a real time environment. Poker games have had progressive “Bad Beat” jackpots for a long time, but these were calculated on a daily or weekly basis from a jackpot rake at a predetermined period of time. Jones and Titus roughed out the method by which the new game would be implemented and created the first live progressive linked jackpot on a table game which lead to the games rapid growth and popularity. Two days after the Horseshoe meeting Titus resigned from his job at the Las Vegas Hilton and went to work for newly formed Progressive Games, Inc.. Progressive Games started by sharing space with a Las Vegas Sign Company called City Lites which provided signage and jackpot meters for the game. Eventually the company split due to licensing issues in Nevada. Progressive Games moved to Florida and began Global Distribution of the game while Dane Jones, Danny’s son, operated the Nevada company for about six months. Eventually, Dane made a deal for the Nevada distribution rights with a company called D.P. Stud. The million dollars that was to be paid to the Jones family for the rights to distribute the game was never paid in full and due to Jones licensing issues in Nevada he was never given just payment. The hardware that went into the Nevada version of the game was illegally knocked off by DP Stud for many years. This is part of the reason the history of the game became so clouded. Dane’s fumbled deal ended the Jones family involvement with the game in Nevada. However, the Ft. Lauderdale based Progressive Games went on to distribute the game globally during the next two years. In a major consolidation move Mikhon Gaming bought out Progressive Games and the Nevada distribution company in 1995. The concept patent for a progressive linked jackpot on a table game, that Titus brought to Caribbean Stud has stood many challenges. It is the Jackpot feature that has made the game a long time success among the new casino games.


The following rules are typical of U.S. casinos, but some of the details (the payouts and limits) vary from casino to casino.

To play, every player places his ante on a marked spot on the table playing surface (“the layout”) where indicated; all ante wagers must be placed prior to the dealer announcing “No more bets”. Each player also has the option to participate in the progressive jackpot feature of the game. This is also done before the dealer announces “no more bets”, by dropping a chip in the slot on the table which activates the progressive jackpot light for that seat and that particular hand of play. Each player and the dealer will then receive five cards, face down. The dealer will turn over one of his cards, then push the cards toward the players, after which the players may look at their cards. They may only look at their own cards, and may not discuss what they have with any other players at the table.

Players have the option to play or fold; if they choose to play, they place their bets (twice the amount of their respective ante) in the bet box. If they choose to fold, they forfeit their ante. After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer reveals his hole cards. The dealer only plays with an ace/king or higher; they then compare their cards to the other players’ cards (individually, right to left), and the players’ hands that beat the dealer’s qualifing hand wins.

There are some major rules in Caribbean Stud Poker that must be observed at all times while playing:

  • Only one hand per player. Players cannot hold or wager on multiple hands at the table.
  • Players choosing to play the Progressive Payout feature are responsible for ensuring their $1 wager has been inserted into slot and the “Indicator Light” is ON.
  • Players may not exchange or communicate information regarding their hands to other players or the dealer. Player violation will result in a dead hand and forfeiture of all wagers.
  • Incorrect amount of cards to the player constitutes a dead hand (or push) for that player only.
  • The decision of the table/casino supervisor is final.
  • If the dealer is dealt four cards of the five-card hand, the dealer shall deal an additional card to complete the hand. Any other misdeal to the dealer shall result in all hands being void and the cards shall be reshuffled.
  • Each player shall be required to keep the five cards in full view of the dealer at all times. Once each player has examined his or her cards and placed them face down on the layout, they may not touch the cards again.
  • If a hole card is exposed prior to the dealer announcing No More Bets, all hands shall be void.


It is possible for a player to reduce the house or casino edge in Caribbean Stud Poker. As a general strategy, you should never fold any pair (or higher hand rank) that you are dealt and always fold anything less than A-K. This is very basic Caribbean Stud Strategy – Play any pair and fold less than AK.

It is the playing strategy of A-K in Caribbean Stud Poker that really reduces the house edge. To play A-K profitably in Caribbean Stud Poker, there must be one of a number of conditions present.

– If the dealer shows an ace or a king as their face up card, you should raise A-K-Q and A-K-J, as you have blockers to their pairs and more than likely the best A-K hand.

– Raise A-K if the dealers face up card is a deuce through queen and you have that same card in your hand. – Blocker Effect

– If the dealer shows deuce through five as the turned card, raise A-K-Q and A-K-J as you will more than likely have the best A-K hand.

Essentially, playing A-K optimally is the only way to reduce the house/casino edge in Caribbean Stud Poker. Using the strategy above, the house edge can be lowered by up to 2.3%, which is pretty significant.


If a player’s cards beat the dealer’s cards, the player will receive even money (1-1) on the ante, and the following on his bet (with a maximum payout of $5,000 U.S. Dollars per hand on each bet wager):

Royal flush …. 100 to 1

Straight flush …. 50 to 1

Four of a kind …. 20 to 1

Full house …. 7 to 1

Flush …. 5 to 1

Straight …. 4 to 1

Three of a kind …. 3 to 1

Two pair …. 2 to 1

One pair or less …. 1 to 1

If the dealer does not have at least ace/king, all bet wagers will be void, and players will receive even money on their ante bet only. If the dealer’s cards beat a player’s cards, the dealer collects both the ante and bet.

In addition, in Caribbean stud poker, players can also bet on their poker hands and win the “progressive feature”; this is done by dropping a 1.00 dollar (or $20 HKD/MOP in Macau casinos) gaming chip into the chip acceptor on the table after placing the ante. Players with a flush or higher win, regardless of the outcome of their table bets:

US Payout Macau Payout AUS (Adelaide) Payout
Royal Flush 100% of Progressive Meter 100% of Progressive Meter 100% of Jackpot
Straight Flush 10% of Progressive Meter 10% of Progressive Meter 10% of Jackpot
Four-of-a-Kind $500 $5000 $1250
Full House $100 $1500 $375
Flush $50 $1000 $250

Winning progressive payout hands are paid in accordance with the amount on the meter when it is the player’s turn to be paid. However, if more than one player at a table has a royal flush progressive payout hand, each player shares equally in the amount on the meter when the first player with a royal flush is to be paid.

Caribbean Stud Poker in the United Kingdom

Caribbean Stud Poker differs slightly in the United Kingdom, and most parts of Europe, from the US. The game is officially known as “Casino Five Card Stud Poker”, and not all casinos have the jackpot prize. Those which do have the prize, usually the large chain groups, officially call the game “Casino Jackpot Five Card Stud Poker”. In both instances, the game is commonly referred to as “Casino Stud Poker”.

The basic rules are the same in the UK as the US, although the payouts differ – the maximum bet is generally £100 on the ante and £200 on the raise, and all payouts are paid on the raise, meaning the maximum payout can potentially be £10,000 (a Royal Flush pays at the same odds, 50:1, as a Straight Flush).

Casinos offering the jackpot generally have the card shuffled by a card shuffling machine – the cards are then removed and dealt out by the dealer, or croupier. Independent and small casinos generally have the croupier shuffle the cards by hand.

British casinos do not use the chip dropper system; instead, a £1 chip is placed on a small plastic circle on the table, which lights up. The croupier then presses a button on a panel in front of them, which keeps the lights lit up once the chips are removed. The dealer removes the chips, and can then tell which players are playing the jackpot game and which are not.

If the dealer does not show an Ace/King, hands playing the jackpot must be turned over, face up, and shown to the dealer and table. If the player is not playing the jackpot prize, the cards are not shown.

Player Strategy

Using optimal strategy the house edge is 5.224% of the player’s ante bet. This strategy can be complicated and does not lend itself to practical use in a casino. Using a strategy of raising with Ace/King/Jack/8/3 or better the house edge is 5.316%, very close to the optimal strategy house edge.

Knowledge of what other players hold can decrease the house edge. It has been estimated with the knowledge of six other players’ hands (30 cards) and associated optimal strategy the player can gain an edge of 2.3%.

Courtesy of

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