Caribbean Stud Poker

About Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker (Cyberstud Poker) is a table poker game variation. The game is a bit similar to 3-Card Poker but with five cards hands and also to Let It Ride. All major casino softwares offer this game. The game has relatively high house edge as well as high variance.

Caribbean Stud Poker Rules

After placing Ante bet, the player and dealer are both dealt 5-card poker hands. Player’s 5-card hand and the first card of dealer’s hand are visible. The player then either folds the hand and loses the Ante bet or raises by placing a Raise bet which equals 2 x Ante bet. After player raises, dealer’s hand is revealed and player is paid according to following rules:

  • If dealer’s five card hand is at least Ace/King high or better (with usual poker hand rankings) then dealer qualifies. If dealer doesn’t qualify, then the raise bet is returned and Ante bet wins with 1:1 payout.
  • If dealer qualifies and has a better hand than the player, the player loses his whole bet (Ante + Raise).
  • If dealer qualifies and the player wins the hand, then Ante bet pays 1:1 and the Raise bet pays according to following paytable. The paytable varies with casino software used. Playtech, Boss Media, Chartwell, Grand Virtual, Random Logic, Cryptologic, RTG and NetEnt as well as some smaller softwares use the standard paytable below. Wagerworks, Rival and Microgaming use slightly better paytables which are also listed below.

Caribbean Stud Poker paytable
Payout expressed as multiplier of bet returned. For example
Straight Flush returns 51x Raise bet with standard paytable.

  Odds Standard Paytable Microgaming Wagerworks Rival
Royal Flush 1 in 650 000 101* 1000 201 801
Straight Flush 1 in 72 000 51 200 51 201
4 of a Kind 1 in 4 200 21 100 21 26
Full House 1 in 695 8 15 9 11
Flush 1 in 510 6 10 7 8
Straight 1 in 255 5 6 5 6
3 of a kind 1 in 47 4 4 4 4
2 Pair 1 in 21 3 2 3 3
Pair 1 in 2.3 2 2 2 2
Ace & King 1 in 15 2 2 2 2
Nothing 1 in 2.3        
House edge   2.56% 2.46% 2.36% 1.86%

* = 201x payout with Cryptologic, RTG and NetEnt softwares

Note: To get the payout listed in the table above, dealer’s hand has to qualify. It is possible that the player gets a royal flush but the dealer doesn’t qualify which means that the raise bet is only returned in this situation.

Caribbean Stud Poker also has an optional bonus bet, but as the house edge of the bonus bet is large, it is not presented here.

Optimal Strategy

The true optimal strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is complex. However a simplified strategy gives a very small difference from the optimal strategy. Always raise with any pair or better and always fold with Ace/Queen high or worse. The strategy with Ace/King high is more complicated. If you raise with Ace/King/Jack/8/3 high or better (first compare the highest card, then second highest card etc.) you will get a house edge of 0.1% from the optimal. If you wish to further optimize the strategy from this, Wizard of Odds gives further details on the optimal strategy in Ace/King high situations:

Raise with A-K-X-X-X if any of the following situations apply:

  1. Dealer´s card is a 2-Q and matches one of yours.
  2. Dealer´s card is A or K and you have a Q or J in your hand.
  3. Dealer’s card does not match any of yours and you have a Q in your hand and the dealer’s card is less than your 4th highest card.

Notice that the slight strategy changes only involve hands with Ace/King high.

If it is possible to play Caribbean Stud Poker in multi-player table (live or on-line) then the opportunity to peek other players’ cards can affect strategy decisions and reduce the house edge a little bit. However the optimal strategy in this situation becomes very complicated and the casinos usually forbid exchanging information between players.

Caribbean Stud Poker Introduction Video

House Edge and Rule Variations

The house edges for different paytables are listed in the table above. The standard paytable has 2.56% house edge, Microgaming paytable has 2.46% house edge and Wagerworks paytable has 2.36% house edge.

Variance and Results Over Bonus Wagering Requirement

The paytable used in Caribbean Stud Poker also affects the variance of the game. With the standard and Wagerworks paytable the standard deviation per unit wagered is 1.57 and with Microgaming paytable this value is much higher, 2.75. So the variance with Microgaming paytable is much higher.

One possible strategy when playing Caribbean Stud Poker with a bonus is to use a larger bet size and if you get a decent win, you could switch to smaller bet size and complete the wagering requirement. This slightly increases the expected return but also increases the risk of busting (losing deposit + bonus) before completing the playthrough.

The following table shows Chance of Gain, Risk of Busting and the Bonus EV for different wagering requirements and Ante bet sizes when completing the wagering requirement on Caribbean Stud Poker using the standard paytable. See the return and variance calculator for other bet sizes and WRs.

Chance of Gain / Risk of busting

  Bonus Wagering requirement
Bet size 20 x B 50 x B
1 76% / 3% 39% / 36%
2 65% / 11% 40% / 46%
5 58% / 27% 38% / 57%
20 42% / 56% 23% / 77%
Bonus EV 48.8 -28.0

Choose the correct wagering requirement and your preferred bet size. The bet sizes
are relative to 100€ bonus. (ie. for 200€ bonus, multiply the bet size by two).

The table lists Chance of Gain and Risk of busting. The numbers are derived
by simulating 1000 sessions so they are not absolutely accurate.
Chance of Gain = Probability to end up with profit after completing the bonus wagering requirement
Risk of bust = Probability to lose the whole bankroll (deposit and bonus) before completing
the bonus wagering requirement.

The "Bonus EV" lists the expected value of the bonus. The values are relative to 100€ bonus
(ie. For 200€ bonus, multiply the EV by two).