Learn how to play Caribbean Poker Online like a PRO
Guide to Caribbean Poker
Caribbean poker is easy to play and simple to learn how to move from a novice gamer to become a real gambler who understands every essential detail of Caribbean Poker
Guide to Caribbean Poker
Caribbean poker is easy to play and simple to learn. It's an excellent version of poker that several gamblers have been enjoying since the late 20th century.
You can learn the game by trying it out for free at a good online casino before playing for money. Once you've mastered playing Caribbean poker, you can visit a land casino to play with real players.
You first need to understand what Caribbean poker is, the game rules and strategies, and what you can expect when seated at a betting table.
In this guide, you'll learn how to move from a novice gamer to become a real gambler who understands every essential detail of Caribbean poker.
What Is Caribbean Poker?
Caribbean poker is a casino table game that involves 5-card stud poker — a very old type of stud poker game with its origin dating back to 1861-1865 (American Civil War).
The Caribbean poker gameplay and rules are similar to those of 5-card stud poker, but who you compete against differs. You're playing against the dealer in Caribbean poker, while in 5-card stud poker, you're up against other players. Hence, Caribbean poker gives no room for bluffs.
Casinos invented the Caribbean poker game, taking advantage of poker's popularity by convincing most gamblers to try a table version of poker. Other variants of poker involve players competing against themselves, implying that the house has no winning chance.
The History of Caribbean Poker
Caribbean poker is a new addition to the poker world. It's believed that this game only became popular in casinos around 1980, though its true origin is a matter that's still being debated. For a game without much history, it's a bit unusual.
David Sklansky, a professional poker player with three major wins at the World Series of Poker, claims to be the inventor of Caribbean Poker. He said he was the developer of "Casino Poker," a game that would eventually become Caribbean Poker.
Sklansky didn't patent the game because the laws at the time prevented him from doing so. But he trademarked his invention and put it up for trial at the Vegas World Hotel (now defunct). However, after his girlfriend died, Sklansky couldn't follow up on promoting this game anymore.
Due to the geographical connection, several individuals dispute Sklansky's claims, believing that Caribbean poker originated somewhere in Aruba, in the Southern part of the Caribbean. The most commonly accepted story is that this game gained popularity in Aruba after making its way there through one of the numerous cruise ships that usually made a stop at the island.
Some others believe that Caribbean poker originated at the casino tables in one of Aruba's old hotels. One hotel name that frequently pops up during this debate is "The King International," now known as "Excelsior Hotel." Sklansky later claimed to have gotten a proposition from an Aruban casino owner.
The offer involved using Sklansky's "Casino Poker" idea to host the game at his casino. He slightly altered the rules and changed the name to "Caribbean Poker." It was a good step, as the game began and enjoyed significant popularity.
The casino owner later traded the patent for about $30 million due to the game's success and popularity. Caribbean poker still enjoys a great reputation as a game with favorable odds and lots of excitement.
The Rules of Caribbean Poker
Caribbean poker is among the most popular poker variants due to the ease of learning its rules — particularly if you are a 5-card stud fan.
The fundamental rules of Caribbean poker are as follows:
- Playing a Caribbean poker game requires you to play an ante
- You're dealt five cards
- You're up against the dealer, not your fellow players
- The dealer deals 5 cards to themselves
- You're competing against the dealer to get the best 5-card hand
- You'll pay an additional bet (which is often twice that of your ante) to play one hand
- You'll fold your hand if you don't wish to pay the extra bet, but that will mean losing the ante
- The dealer must have at least an ace-king to open (play) their hand
- If the dealer can't play their hand, all the players will get the extra bet they've made or their ante back
- Once you've understood the Caribbean poker game rules, you can test your new skill by playing it at a top-rated online casino like Vegas Aces.
How to Play the Caribbean Poker Game
Now that you know the rules of Caribbean poker, we'll discuss how to play the game.
Each Player Begins the Game by Paying an Ante Bet
The first thing you need to know about playing the Caribbean poker game is that you must pay an ante (a forced bet that every player must pay) to sit at the poker table. It's used to ensure the game is fluid.
Five Cards Are Given to Everyone Involved in the Game
This game is played between the dealer and the player(s). Five cards (face-down) are dealt to all the players seated at the table. Then the dealer also deals five cards (one face-up and four face-down) to themselves.
As soon as the dealer exposes their face-up cards, you and the other players can choose if you wish to play your hands.
Players Can Either Play Their Hand or Pay an Additional Bet
After looking at your cards, you can either play your hand or pay an extra bet. In Caribbean poker, the additional bet required to play a hand is often twice the ante. For instance, if the ante is $10, you must make a $20 extra bet.
You can also decide to raise if you're not the first one to make an additional bet. Fold your hand if you don't want to make a bet, but you'll lose.
The Dealer Must Have Ace-King (at Least) To Open the Game
After every player at the table has decided whether to fold their hand or play, the dealer will then check their hand to know if they can play. The dealer must have at least an ace-king before they can play (open) their hand.
If a dealer's hand isn't suitable for play, every player will get back their two bets — the second bet they made and their ante bet.
If the Dealer Plays, You Can Only Win the Game by Beating Their Hand
The game involves competing against the dealer. If the dealer opens their hand, you can only win by making a greater 5-card hand.
If your hand isn't better than that of your dealer, then you'll lose both your extra bet and your ante bet. But if your hand is better than the dealer's, your extra bet and ante bet will come with returns. You'll get a 1-1 return on your ante bet, while the return on your second bet will be based on its strength (the high card is the worst, with royal flush being the best).
You may be wondering what will happen if your hand and the dealers are the same. In such a situation, all your bets will be returned to you.
The Best Hand to Play in a Caribbean Poker Game
The objective in a Caribbean poker game is to make the greatest 5-card hand. This game follows similar poker hand rankings with Texas Hold em, which implies that a high card is the worst hand a player can get, and a royal flush is the best hand a player can get.
In descending order, we describe the value of Caribbean poker hands below:
- Royal Flush: A Royal Flush is a Straight Flush containing the highest value cards from the same suit. It's the best possible hand.
- Straight Flush: A Straight Flush contains five cards in a run, all from the same suit. For instance, 5c, 6c, 7c, 8c, 9c.
- 4 of a Kind: This hand contains four cards (from each suit) with the same value. The value of this hand is used to decide who wins if another player has a 4-of-a-Kind too.
- Full House: A Full House is a combination hand consisting of a pair and 3-of-a-Kind. The 3-of-a-Kind are more dominant and are used to check ties with any other Full House. This hand is called 9's over 5.
- Flush: A flush hand contains a set of five cards from a similar suit in a number (random) sequence. In this case, a high card in that hand will be used to decide the winner. But if it's the same, the kicker (next card down) is used.
- Straight: This hand contains five cards in a number sequence. They don't have to be the same. For instance, let's take a run of 2,3,4,5,6. A straight hand with a greater run value (e.g., 4,5,6,7,8) would beat that hand.
- 3 of a Kind: This hand contains a set of three cards that have similar ranks, with two other cards. In this case, there are three 5's. Only three 6's or higher can beat this hand.
- Two Pair: This hand contains two different sets of pairs. In this case, it's 3's and 9's. If there's another hand with two pairs, the hand with a higher pair becomes the winner.
- One Pair: This hand contains two same rank cards with three other cards. Such a case is a pair of 9's. A pair of greater values like 10's will beat the hand. If a pair of 9's appear in two hands, the winner will be determined by the subsequent highest card.
- High Card: The greatest high card hand has an Ace with any four other cards. If there's a draw, the winner is determined by the highest hand and so on until a player has the greatest high card hand or ties. A, J, K, Q, 8,10 is the greatest possible hand in a high card.
Payouts You'll Get When You Play Caribbean Poker
A player must beat the dealer in Caribbean poker to get a return on their bet, and you must have a greater hand than them to achieve this. The payouts in this game are determined by how strong your hand is. The table below shows the returns of each hand in Caribbean poker:
|Hand||How Much a $10 Bet Would Win||Payout|
|Royal Flush||$1,000||100 to 1|
|Straight Flush||$500||50 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||$200||20 to 1|
|Full House||$70||7 to 1|
|Flush||$50||5 to 1|
|Straight||$40||4 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||$30||3 to 1|
|Two Pair||$20||2 to 1|
|One Pair||$10 (You'll get your bet back)||1 to 1|
|High Card||$10 (You'll get your bet back)||1 to 1|
Caribbean Poker Side Bets and Variations
Caribbean poker has a couple of variations and side bets. Here are the details of each one:
This variation has the same rules as Caribbean poker, though with an exception: players can exchange their cards before the fold/raise decision. The rates at which they can switch cards include:
- One card = 1x the ante
- Two cards = 2x the ante
- Three cards = 3x the ante
- Four cards = 2x the ante
- Five cards = 1x the ante
Players who switch all five cards must also raise. The bonus payout is based on the value of the original hand.
UK Caribbean Stud
This variant is common in the UK and some other European countries. It's called Casino 5-Card Stud Poker, and some of them don't have a jackpot — the ones that do, refer to the game as Casino Jackpot 5-Card Poker.
They have similar rules but different payouts. The maximum bet on the raise is $200 and $100 for ante. The payout on a royal flush and a straight flush is 50:1.
If the dealer does not have ace-king, those playing the jackpot must turn their hands facing up; else, the cards won't be shown.
This variation is also commonly called Russian or Royal Poker. It's similar to the Oasis Poker variant, where you can switch out cards. But there's a variation that allows you to force a dealer to draw.
The aim is to ensure the dealer's hand qualifies to enable you to win on both bets. They included the option of redrawing any number of cards at an ante price. But they found out that players had too much edge and changed the rules again.
This side bet pays on the value of a player's hand. Its house advantage is 7.3%, and it pays 100:1 and higher.
This side bet involves consecutive winning hands. It pays between 8 and 40:1 for 3 to 5 consecutive winning hands. Its house advantage ranges between 48% to 65%.
This bet pays out 6:1 if a dealer has a pair and you win. Its house advantage is 12.4%.
This bet pays 20:1 if a dealer has a pair or greater, and you have two pairs or greater, and you win.
How to Play a Progressive Jackpot Bet in Caribbean Poker
A progressive jackpot bet (a side bet made in addition to the ones you already have in play) is one of the most exciting parts of the game. In Caribbean poker, progressive jackpot bet payouts are determined by the strength of a player's hand. You'll get paid 10% if you have a Flush, while a Royal Flush pays you 100%. A progressive game pays out five different hands.
Here are the benefits of playing a progressive jackpot:
- You can win a large sum of money — as much as $10,000+
- You'll win if you have any of the five hands, regardless of the dealer's hand
However, playing the progressive jackpot game comes with a drawback — the chances of a player hitting one of those five hands required to win are very slim. In other words, you could be wasting money continuously by playing the progressive jackpot game.
How to Play the Caribbean Poker Game Online
Playing the Caribbean poker game online is a great way for a beginner to get the knack of the game. It enables new players to learn the ropes without the pressure of being surrounded by older players, giving them a more relaxed gambling environment.
As a beginner, there are two ways to play Caribbean poker online — live and automated. We'll discuss each of them and their benefits below.
The Benefits of Playing Live Caribbean Poker
A live Caribbean poker game involves you playing against a dealer (human). It's an online version of what you would find in a real casino. Here are the benefits you can enjoy from playing live Caribbean poker:
- Your hand ranking explained
- A human dealer
We advise you to play this live version of Caribbean poker online after getting used to the game, and you are ready to play your first game at a land casino. That's because it comes with the benefits you'll enjoy from online gaming (security, software, comfort, etc.) but offers you an insight into what to expect in a real casino.
The Benefits of Playing Automated Caribbean Poker
An automated Caribbean poker involves you playing against the machine — just like you do in video poker. Here are the benefits that a beginner will enjoy from playing this kind of Caribbean poker:
- Very slick gameplay
- No human interaction
We recommend that new players begin with automated Caribbean poker because it is the simplest way to play the game. It's an excellent way to get introduced to the Caribbean poker world.
Strategies to Help You Win in Caribbean Poker
Poker is a great game known for its numerous strategies — from being an amateur or knit player to complex studying tactics. Caribbean poker isn't an exception in this regard, and we'll discuss the best methods to help improve your winning chances.
Learning an optimal Caribbean poker strategy can help to reduce the house advantage from 5% to as low as 1%. Hence, understanding the basics is always worth the while.
Avoid Playing Hands Less Than an Ace-King
If the dealer has less than an ace-king, they can't play their hand. Hence, the first thing you should know is that playing a hand that's less than an ace-king is a losing strategy. That's because the dealer will beat you if they play.
Know When to Bet an Ace-King
If you have an ace-king and you find out that the dealer's face-up card isn't up to either of the cards, then betting at this time is a good strategy. When is this strategy good for use? If any of the cards in your hand is similar to the dealer's card (face-up).
The reason for doing this is that it decreases the likelihood of the dealer getting a pair from the card — you already have one of the cards they'll need to make the pair.
Avoid Progressive Jackpot Bets
We earlier discussed progressive jackpot bets and how they offer a great chance to win huge sums of money. You can win the bet regardless of the dealer's hand — if you have any of the five winning hands.
But your chances of getting one of the five winning hands required to win a progressive jackpot are very slim. That is why we advise you to give the progressive bet a miss as a cautious strategy.
You Can Play a Pair or Greater
Ensure always to play the pair if you have it. This strategy is also applicable when your hand contains only a pair of twos (deuces), the lowest pair in Caribbean poker. That is because a pair always beats a high card, which implies that you will be at the lowest hand the dealer can play — ace-king.
Use a Poker Strategy Chart
The previous strategies offer excellent tips (particularly for new players) for playing the Caribbean poker game. However, Using a Caribbean poker chart is the best tactic.
It explains which hands a player can and can't play. Hence, we recommend using the strategy chart to boost your winning chances.
Learning how to play Caribbean poker is easy, especially if you have experience playing poker. It's also a very popular game, which implies that you can easily find it online.
It doesn't involve too many strategies, so the house advantage isn't as favorable as games like baccarat and blackjack.
However, Caribbean poker offers a good balance between baccarat (which doesn't allow you to make any decisions and has no strategy) and blackjack (which requires a couple of strategies to best the house).
If you're looking to play Caribbean poker online, we recommend visiting Vegas Aces and to check our social media to be aware of every news. Apart from offering exciting bonuses, they also allow you to play the game for free to help you master it before going ahead to bet with money.
Frequently Asked Questions
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