Caribbean Poker Guide

A true poker player will probably tell you that the best strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is to play something else.  I’m tempted to agree with them.  Often Caribbean Poker seems to be an exercise in watching my bankroll slowly dwindle down to nothing.  But a novice poker player will probably see their bankroll vanish even faster in a high-stakes poker game. Though the odds are for the house in Caribbean poker, it does offer players an easy play and who knows where luck will fall on any given day.

While I’ve never discovered a strategy that will truly shift the odds in your favor in Caribbean stud poker, there are some tips and strategies that can help keep you in the game longer and perhaps allow Lady Luck to find you.

Ante up

When you sit down at the table for Caribbean Poker, you first have to decide how much to ante.  The typical range is between $5 and $500 dollars.  But keep in mind that your bet must be double your ante. So, an ante of $5 means a $10 bet, or $15 total on the hand.  This can add up quickly, so check your bankroll and decide how much you can afford to bet.

Know when to fold ‘um

The first tip is to always fold when you hold nothing.  If your cards wouldn’t even be a qualifying hand for the dealer with at least an ace and a king sitting in it, then your best bet is not to bet.

This would seem a simple tip, but keep in mind that it can be tempting to bet because if the dealer doesn’t qualify, you’ll at least get your money back.  But in the long run, the house will prevail.

Know when to raise ‘um

Always bet (raise) if you have a pair or higher in your hand.

For Caribbean Poker, you don’t have to remember the ranks and odds for all the poker hands. You aren’t playing against the table, just against the house.  So your hand only has to beat the house’s hand.

The Ace/King conundrum

You can win if you have an Ace and King sitting in your hand, but only if the dealer doesn’t have a better hand.  So should you raise or fold?

General strategy advice is to look at the card the dealer has turned over.  If that card matches one of the cards in your hand, the chance of a dealer having a pair is less. So the odds swing slightly in your favor.  If none of your cards match the dealer’s cards, the odds are in the house’s favor.  So, many players bet if they have an Ace/King and a card matching the dealer’s up card but fold otherwise.

Do you feel lucky? Betting the Progressive

The experts generally recommend against making a bet for the progressive jackpot because the house edge is just too high.  They do allow for some leeway if the jackpot is larger.  But for me, betting the progressive is part of the fun of Caribbean poker.  It’s only a dollar and though the odds are bad, the pay off can be huge.  While I’ve never won the big jackpot, I have hit on smaller hands that pay off a fixed amount.

So, while a serious player may not bet the progressive, if you’re making low wagers on each hand and playing more for fun, you might want to consider it part of the fun.