How to Play Caribbean Poker
Caribbean Poker – or Casino Five Card Stud, as it is also called – is a lot like five-card stud poker. There are, however, a few differences in the mechanics of the game that can give you, the player, some advantages and a whole lot of fun. If you are unfamiliar with how to play Caribbean Poker or even five-card stud poker, don’t worry because this article is going to tell you everything you need to know: from the rules to the strategy, and from the etiquette to the payout.
Rules of Caribbean Poker
If this is your first time playing Caribbean Poker, there are a few basics you need to know before you learn the more specific rules of the game.
First, you are playing against the house and the house only. Forget about holding your poker face while trying to bluff against your neighbor. Your neighbor is not your enemy, though he is not really your friend either. Basically, you are hoping that your hand will be better than the hand of the dealer.
At the beginning of the hand, you must place your ante (a forced bet at the beginning of each hand to incentivize the players not to fold every round) on the spot indicated on the table. Be sure to get your ante in before the dealer calls “no more bets” or else you will not be dealt into the hand.
All the cards – five for each player, including the dealer – will be dealt face down. After the dealer turns over one of his cards, he will pass each player their cards at which time you may look at them.
Now it’s your time to choose to play or fold. If you decide to play, you must place your raise inside the square on the table marked “Bet”. And if you elect to fold, you will forfeit your ante. Your raise should be equal to double the ante, so if the ante were a £1 chip, the minimum raise would be £2 (usually, there is a maximum ante of £100 and thus a maximum raise of £200).
Once all the players have placed their bets, the dealer will reveal the rest of his hand. Now, there are a few conditions the dealer has to meet in order for him to play. His hand must either contain both an ace and a king or his hand has to have a pair or any higher-ranked poker hand. Put another way, if the dealer’s hand is lower than a high-card ace (with no king), then he cannot play and each player’s raise will be returned (unpaid) with antes receiving even money (1-1).
Caribbean Poker Strategy
Since you are only playing against the house, your hand needs to be better than just one other hand. So in general, if you have a pair or anything higher, you shouldn’t fold as the odds are weighed in your favor. However, if you have anything less than an ace + king combo, you should fold, as the house will only play if it can beat this hand. So remember this basic strategy – play the pair, fold less than AK.
But when if you are dealt a hand that has both an ace and a king, but no pairs or higher, trusting that your hand will beat the dealer’s hand requires some more information. For example, if the dealer turns his first card and it is not an ace or king, it is still a good idea to bet. If the dealer’s first card is and ace or king, and if you have either a queen or jack (A-K-Q or A-K-J), then the odds are that you will have the higher ace-king combo. Finally, if you have a deuce of the dealer’s first card and you have the ace-king combo, you essentially block his chances at a pair and most likely will have a better hand.
Caribbean Poker Etiquette
Here are some quick, basic protocols you should follow whenever you play Caribbean Poker.
– No table talk (don’t talk to the other players or share information about your cards or theirs)
– One player, one hand (you can’t play against the dealer with more than one hand of five cards)
– Always keep your cards visible to the dealer
– After looking at your cards, put them face down and do not touch them again
If the dealer’s hand beats yours, you will lose your ante and wager. In the case that your hand ties with the dealer, both the ante and wager will be returned unpaid (no gain, no lose). However, if you have a higher-ranked hand than the dealer, your ante will be doubled and your wager will be multiplied depending on the ranking of your hand. Below you will find the general payout used in the UK.
One pair or less 1 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Straight 4 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
Full house 7 to 1
Four of a kind 20 to 1
Straight Flush 50 to 1
Royal Flush 100 to 1 (50 to 1 in most UK casinos)
These numbers may vary depending on the casino, though the payout information will normally be printed on the table or else on a card on the table.
Some casinos will offer a progressive payout feature that is an optional wager usually of £1. If you decide to participate in the progressive jackpot, you must place this bet at the same time as the ante. In the case that you elected to play for the jackpot, you may win the total amount of the prize if you are dealt a royal flush, 10% of the jackpot if you are dealt a straight flush, or a set amount for a Four-of-a-kind, Full House, or Flush.
It’s generally recommended that you avoid the jackpot game, as the casino has a much stronger edge.