With so many classic versions of poker available, Caribbean Stud stands out for a host of reasons. For some, the option to solely play against the dealer is a big bonus: You only need to beat the house to win and that has the natural benefit of turning the odds in your favour.
That element of simplicity is a bonus but, with lots of decisions to make amidst fast-paced gameplay, Caribbean Stud Poker can still offer a thrilling and complex ride. It’s available now at the table games of the Unibet Live Casino and, if you’d like to get involved, here is everything that you need to know.
How to play Live Caribbean Stud Poker
If you’ve ever played 5 Card Stud then this game is similar with just a hint of a Caribbean twist. It’s played with a standard 52 card deck - jokers removed - and at the end of every hand, this is replaced by a freshly shuffled set.
Before the hand is dealt, the player must make an opening bet known as the Ante. This is placed in a specially designated slot in the centre of the table and once laid down, the cards are allocated.
Players receive 5 cards, all face down and while the dealer also gets 5 cards, their top card is turned up for all to see. View your cards and, depending on the strength of your hand, you must now make the decision on whether to play on or whether to fold.
If you continue then an additional bet needs to be placed on the table. This is exactly double the amount of your ante bet and once this is down, both parties declare their cards and the strongest hand wins.
An important point to note here is the fact that the dealer has to submit a minimum qualifying hand of Ace and King high. If that level isn’t met and the player has folded, the ante bet is returned ahead of the next hand.
Returns are paid at 1/1 but if the player folds after the round of dealing has been made, the ante bet will be forfeited unless the dealer has failed to hit that minimum hand requirement.
Once the hand is complete, players are completely free to leave the table if they wish. There is no commitment to a set amount of time at the table so the decision is yours as to whether you wish to play on or simply withdraw and come back another time.
As with all live casino games, poker strategy is important to understand. Players should be fully aware of the order of superiority as far as winning hands are concerned. Full details together with a handy cheat sheet, can be found in our sections relating to Casino Hold’Em and Three Card Poker.
From the Royal Flush, which is the best possible poker hand, down to a high card, you will need to be aware of how the system works. Having played through a few hands, the order will become second nature and it’s important to work on this point so that you know when to fold and when to play on.
What’s the Difference?
Caribbean Stud may not be the most common option when it comes to Live Casino play so why should you consider it ahead of other versions? To answer that question, we need to look at the key differences between the game and alternative poker variants.
Despite the range of choice offered by Unibet, Texas Hold’Em remains the most popular version among the poker playing fraternity. It’s a classic game and anyone who has played it will attest to the excitement and thrills that it brings to the table.
When we compare Texas Hold’Em to Caribbean Stud, the first difference is the lack of opposing players. To win your bet in Caribbean Stud, you simply have to beat the dealer while in Texas Hold’Em, there is no dealer but there are a number of opponents standing in your way.
The process of betting is also made simple in Caribbean Stud Poker and once again, we can use Texas Hold’Em as our comparison point. We’ve seen how the ante and the play bet are used in Caribbean Stud which has just two distinct phases in the game.
With Texas Hold ‘Em, players are allocated their own hands while a total of five community cards are dealt face up in the centre of the table. The final three cards are issued in a sequence known as the Flop, the Turn and the River and each one carries its own betting phase so the stakes can get really high.
In summary, Texas Hold’Em is far more complex and while some players like that approach, Caribbean Stud offers a stripped down version which doesn’t compromise on the excitement involved.
Another key difference with Caribbean Stud Poker and other forms of the game is that requirement for a minimum hand. For comparisons in this respect, we need to forget all about Texas Hold’Em and focus on variants where it’s a simple case of player versus dealer.
Let’s take Three Card Poker which is another popular option at Unibet’s Live Casino. Here, the dealer must land a Queen High as a bare minimum in order to compete and win the hand. So we can see that Caribbean Stud, with its Ace / King high demands, offers a stiffer test for the house, although there are more cards available for the dealer to reach that level.
There’s room for all games at Unibet but there are some clear benefits to playing the Caribbean Stud version of Poker. Now that we know the rules and the differences between this and other variants, we now need to develop a playing strategy.
Basic Strategy in Live Caribbean Stud Poker
At a very basic level, players should remember three main points when they take to the Caribbean Stud table.
- Avoid Folding Small Pairs: This is a common mistake that beginners make and there is a definite temptation to fold when a pair comes along. It’s natural to look at a pair of Aces or Kings and to get excited while in contrast, a hand containing two fours looks far less thrilling. Over time, experienced players have come to learn the value of a smaller pair. Clearly they are not unbeatable but probability dictates that they still have a strong chance so don’t be so quick to discard that hand.
- Avoid Playing Weak Hands: As we’ve seen, the mechanics of Caribbean Stud Poker mean that the dealer must hit Ace and King high before winning a betting round. Anything below this level is considered to be a weak hand so, if you are faced with something below this limit such as a Queen high, we suggest you discard it. Once again, probability and stats gained over millions of hands indicate that folding is the better option and it’s the approach you should be taking if you want to mitigate those losses.
- Play the Ace and King Combination Effectively: If you draw the Ace and King, you are in the game and even if you can’t form a straight or even a pair, you are likely to be competitive. However, your next decision should be based on what the dealer holds. Remember, the house receives one card face up and if you have a card that matches or beats it, you should certainly play on. If not, consider folding at this point.
Advanced Strategy in Live Caribbean Stud Poker
That basic set of advice will give players a good grounding in Caribbean Stud Poker but for those who expect to spend some time at our live table, we should go much deeper. Advanced strategy tips will continue to develop your game so please keep the following points in mind once you’ve digested this small recap:
- Always raise on a hand where you hold a pair or better.
- Fold hands that are worse than an Ace and a King
If you hold an Ace and a King, the advice from seasoned Caribbean Stud Poker players is as follows:
- Raise if your third card is a Queen or a Jack and if the dealer’s face up card is a King or an Ace.
- Raise if the dealer’s face up card is a Queen or lower and it would form a pair with a card in your hand.
- Raise if your third card is a Queen and your fourth card is better than the face up card of the dealer.
Can we Deal you in?
Now that we’ve equipped you with the knowledge needed to tackle Caribbean Stud Poker, all that remains is for you to get involved. It’s available, along with a wide choice of other poker games, at our Live Casino and dealers are on hand to deal you in.
As we’ve seen, there are distinct differences to other poker options but the fun and skill elements are retained. It’s a big hit with our players at Unibet so why not log in and see if Caribbean Stud will become one of your favourites.