Caribbean Stud is also referred to as Caribbean Stud Poker in many circles, but it is vital to remember the differences between playing poker against other players, or playing poker against the house. In games like Hol ‘Em or Omaha Hi, players contribute a small fee to the house known as rake. The rake is where the house makes its money, allowing the players to then face-off for the remaining funds in a game where skill, deception, experience and judgment all ride alongside luck. In games such as Caribbean Stud or Video Poker, the player is directly challenging the house for the stake, and so it is likely the odds will always be against the player. It is also more likely to be based on chance, as is the case with Caribbean Stud.
The way in which the game came to exist is a topic of debate, but given that it was only invented a few decades ago it is safe to assume that it was invented as a way to allow poker enthusiast to gamble quickly and instantly on machines or, as it is today, online. The rules of the game are somewhat similar to five-card stud, but the players take on the dealer in a style more befitting of Blackjack.
Initially players post an ante into the pot. This is to ensure that players cannot sit there folding until they get a premium hand, instead being forced to forfeit their ante should they opt out. After this each player including the dealer is dealt 5 cards, and the dealer will reveal of their cards to the table. Each player can then decide to fold, contributing their ante to the casino, or play, in which case a further bet is required. After all bets have been placed the dealer reveals their entire hand and compares it to each players’ at the table. If the dealer has an ace and a king or a pair (or anything better) then they are forced to “play”, meaning any players with a superior hand win. If they do not have at least an ace and a king or a pair, the players’ bets are returned and they face the dealer for the ante only, winning or losing accordingly.
Generally, the odds increase given the rarity of the hand. For instance, beating the dealer with 2-pair only returns 2/1, whilst a rarer flush returns 5/1 and unlikely hands such as a Royal Flush pay off at 100/1. It is possible to turn the odds further in your favour by playing systematically and not getting carried away by whimsy – if you have an ace and a king with either a jack or a queen, and the dealer shows anything from 2-5 or an ace or a king, raise as it is likely you have the strongest hand. If the dealer shows a card that you also have, in addition to an ace and a king, raise as it is unlikely their remaining cards will best yours. This is because you have the “blocker” – your card is the card they need, and as they obviously don’t have it, they rare drawing thin at the remainder of the deck.