Our real money Caribbean Stud Poker guide covers everything you need to know about playing online Caribbean Stud games for real money including, the best online Caribbean Stud Poker casinos and which ones offer free bonus money to play Caribbean Stud online.
We also cover the differences in playing live and real money online Caribbean Stud Poker and the pros and cons of risking your money at online Caribbean Stud games.
Best Online Casinos to Play Real Money Caribbean Stud Poker in 2022
Here’s our list of top-ranked online casinos where you can play online Caribbean Stud Poker for real money. Our experts played dozens of online Caribbean Stud games in order to find the best real money Caribbean Stud casinos of 2022.
How to Play Caribbean Stud Poker for Real Money
Back in the 1990s, you couldn’t stroll through a Sin City table game pit without bumping smack dab into a crowded Caribbean Stud Poker table.
One of the original “hybrid” table games to combine basic elements of different gambling products, Caribbean Stud Poker took the casino industry by storm. Players loved the poker-based gameplay, which took its lead from the old five-card stud games your grandparents enjoyed.
If you already know how to play Caribbean Stud at the casino, transitioning to the online version should be easy.
After placing a mandatory Ante bet (along with an optional wager on the progressive jackpot side bet option), players take five cards face up at random from a standard 52-card deck. There’s no discarding or drawing to improve your holding, so what you see is what you get. The dealer also gets a five-card hand, but their hand is concealed face down – save a lone “up card” exposed for the table to see.
Using this partial information to piece together the puzzle, Caribbean Stud Players then face a crucial choice – fold and surrender your bets without a fight, or make the final Raise (sometimes labeled “Play”) bet to force a showdown with the dealer.
Raise bets must be equal to two times the Ante bet, making Caribbean Stud Poker a three-unit table game when a showdown occurs.
The game uses the standard poker hand ranking hierarchy, so one pair beats a high-card, two pair beats one pair, and so on up the ladder.
Provided your hand beats the dealer’s hand, you’ll win even money on the Ante bet. But the real fun begins when the dealer shows a “qualifying” hand of Ace-King or better, in which case your Raise bet is scored against the escalating pay table shown below:
Standard Caribbean Stud Pay Table
HAND ANTE RAISE*
Royal Flush 1 to 1 100 to 1
Straight Flush 1 to 1 50 to 1
Four of a Kind 1 to 1 20 to 1
Full House 1 to 1 7 to 1
Flush 1 to 1 5 to 1
Straight 1 to 1 3 to 1
Three of a Kind 1 to 1 2 to 1
Two pair 1 to 1 1 to 1
One pair 1 to 1 1 to 1
High card 1 to 1 1 to 1
*Dealer must show down a hand of A-K high or better, otherwise the Raise bet is returned in a push
Adding even more intrigue to the game, Caribbean Stud Poker includes a progressive jackpot side bet that can pay five- or even six-figures when you’re lucky enough to land the elusive Royal Flush.
All things considered, Caribbean Stud Poker set the standard for hybrid table games during its heyday. Unfortunately, that heyday ended once players were provided with more attractive options, as the 5.22 percent house edge is much higher than rivals like Mississippi Stud Poker (4.91 percent), Let It Ride (3.50 percent), and Three Card Poker (3.37 percent).
Caribbean Stud Poker is practically dead in live casinos these days, but thanks to the rise of reputable online casinos, this classic table game is experiencing a real renaissance.
Playing Real Money Online Caribbean Stud Poker vs. Live
Seeing as how you won’t find more than three Caribbean Stud Poker tables in Las Vegas today, comparing the live game to its online counterpart isn’t really useful.
Obviously, like any online table game, the automated process which replaces dealers, shuffling, and chip stacking shaves a ton of time off each hand. And you’ll have to grab your own beer from the fridge rather than waiting for a cocktail server to arrive.
But other than that, the gameplay structure, pay table(s), and side bets have remained largely intact during Caribbean Stud Poker’s transition from live to online play.
Pros & Cons of Playing Caribbean Stud Poker Online for Money
That sped up pace of play can present a problem for Caribbean Stud Poker players who don’t play particularly well.
With a high house edge of 5.22 percent, even a reasonable element of risk rate at 2.55 percent means playing fast can wreak havoc on your bankroll. Remember, in Caribbean Stud Poker the optimal strategy – which you can find down below in the FAQ section – requires players to fold roughly 48 percent of their starting hands. Folding away $5 a few times in a row at the live tables can cost you $25 in five minutes or so, but the same losing streak online can dent your bankroll to the same degree in 30 seconds.
Of course, that major con is offset by the pros afforded to all high-quality online casinos. Namely, convenient access, lower minimum bet limits, and progressive jackpots that are juiced up thanks to an active community of players.
Best Online Caribbean Stud Poker Odds
First things first… unless your online Caribbean Stud Poker provider utilizes the standard pay table shown in the introduction, don’t bother doing business with them. This game’s house edge is high enough as it is, so any operator willing to shaft players by tinkering with the pay table isn’t worth your time.
Another characteristic shared by the best online Caribbean Stud Poker tables is that progressive jackpot side bet. For just $1 on top of your Ante bet, beating 1 in 649,740 odds to bag the rare Royal Flush can be worth five- or six figures depending on the site. Even a straight flush, still a longshot at 1 in 72,192, is worth 10 percent of the progressive jackpot, while four of a kinds and full houses pay set cash prizes.
Of course, the progressive side bet option does incur a hefty house edge of 26.46 percent on average, but taking the plunge is up to players to decide – not the house.
Live Dealer Online Caribbean Stud Poker
If online casinos provided the lifeline that saved Caribbean Stud Poker from extinction, Live Dealer tables just might lead to the next boom.
When you play Live Dealer table games like Caribbean Stud Poker, you won’t see playing card graphics and animations on your screen. Instead, a genuine game played using physical cards and table, and supervised by a human dealer, will be live-streamed straight from the site’s dedicated Live Dealer studios.
Fans of the Live Dealer revolution love the concept because it removes all doubts regarding fair play. Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous operators back in the “Wild West” days of the iGaming industry gave random number generators (RNGs) a bad name by rigging the outcome in their favor.
Nowadays, the best online casinos use third-party auditing and regulatory testing to ensure that their RNGs are completely random and fair. Even so, many players don’t trust pixelated playing cards, which is why Live Dealer table games have become so popular.
When you play Live Dealer Caribbean Stud Poker, you’ll see a smiling dealer shuffle the cards, slide a few decks into the shoe, and even use a cut card. From there, they’ll slide out all 10 cards in the hand for all to see, providing invaluable peace of mind to players.
Live Dealer tables also recreate the player-on-dealer banter and leisurely pace enjoyed in a live casino, providing the best of both worlds for a new generation of Caribbean Stud Poker enthusiasts.
Types of Online Caribbean Stud Poker Bonuses
If you’re a Caribbean Stud Poker joining an online casino for the first time, always be sure to take advantage of online casino bonuses & promotions.
After entering a bonus code, or clicking a tab on the Deposit page, the best online casinos are happy to award new players with a Welcome Bonus. You’ll see something like “200 percent match (up to $1,000), which means every $100 you deposit will be matched with $200 in free bonus funds. A few online casinos up the ante to 500 percent, so these Welcome Bonus offers are serious bankroll boosters.
From there, any subsequent deposit could be eligible for a Reload Bonus, which uses the same match system at a reduced rate (typically 25-100 percent). Add another $100 with a 50 percent match and you’ll see $150 hit your account.
You might also receive an email notification letting you know that your hard work at the tables has produced a No Deposit Bonus. These are gifts doled out to regular players in a similar system to Player’s Club points at a land-based casino.
No matter which type of bonus you collect, however, don’t forget to check the Terms and Conditions page to learn about the site’s specific “playthrough” or “rollover” requirements.
In online gambling parlance, the playthrough / rollover requirement is a set amount of wagers you’ll need to place before those free bonus funds become available for withdrawal. Without this caveat in place, bonus hunters would just sign up, claim their bonus, and cash out for an instant profit without ever playing a hand.
You’ll usually see a figure like 20x, 25x, or 30x attached to the playthrough / rollover fine print. These are multiples applied to your combined deposit (when applicable) and bonus funds, so that $100 bonus + $200 deposit deal mentioned earlier would require $6,000 in total playthrough / rollover at the 20x level.
Caribbean Stud Poker players are in luck though, because while certain games like craps don’t contribute any portion of your wagers to playthrough / rollover, your game of choice typically uses a 20 percent wagering contribution rate. In other words, for every $1 you bet, $0.20 will be applied toward your playthrough / rollover requirement.
That might not seem like much to write home about, but other than the slots (100 percent wagering contribution), Caribbean Stud Poker occupies the highest rung on the playthrough / rollover ladder. And with the dual 1-unit Ante + 2-unit Raise betting system, a skilled $5 minimum player can easily put in the grind needed to clear their bonus funds and cash them out.
Real Money Caribbean Stud Poker FAQ
I’ve heard some online table games remove progressive jackpot side bets because it’s just too risky for them, so is that the case with Caribbean Stud Poker?
That all depends on your online casino operator of choice, but for the most part, Caribbean Stud Poker games on the internet have preserved the progressive side bet option. A few games out there like Three Card Poker have indeed parted ways with lucrative side bets like the 6-Card Bonus, but that’s because a big bet combined with a Royal Flush for a 1,000 to 1 payout can break the proverbial bank.
But on the online Caribbean Stud Poker tables, the progressive jackpots – which start in the low five-figures and can climb into six-figure territory – have capped betting of $1 per hand. That means no matter how high the progressive jackpot manages to climb, the house’s liability is always capped as well.
People say mastering optimal strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker is basically impossible, but are there any shortcuts that can come close?
You’re in luck, because while playing a truly perfect strategy would require the mind and memory of a supercomputer, a simple trick can essentially provide the same results.
Perfect strategy for Caribbean Stud Poker would result in a 5.22 percent house edge and 2.55 percent element of risk – but you’d need to master hundreds of decisions for all possible five-card starting hands vs. the dealer’s up card. Instead, just remember the following two rules to save time and energy:
- With any one pair or higher, you should be placing the second Raise bet every time.
- With any hand ranked at A-K-J-8-3 or worse – so hands like A-K-10-x-x, A-Q-x-x-x, A-K-J-7-x, etc. – you should always fold.
Using the eminently easy to remember A-K-J-8-3 guideline, you’ll attain a house edge of 5.32 percent and a 2.60 percent element of risk.
Origin of Caribbean Stud Poker
Officially speaking, James P. Suttle and Daniel A. Jones invented Caribbean Stud Poker.
So says the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) anyway, which lists Suttle and Jones – and their company Caribbean Stud Enterprises, Inc. – on Patent #4836553.
Along with various other patents relating to the table felt layout, the progressive jackpot side bet, and electronic versions, Caribbean Stud Enterprises, Inc. filed its first patents on the game between 1989 and 1991.
But the USPTO records don’t tell the whole story, at least if you ask professional poker player and game theorist David Sklansky. A mathematician turned gambler – although, he’d likely tell you advanced poker strategy is far removed from gambling – Sklansky won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets between 1982 and 1983. Before that, he contributed a chapter on the intricate game of Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split Eight or Better to “Super / System: A Course in Power Poker” (1976).
That book by Doyle Brunson represents the Bible of poker strategy, but Sklansky added his name to the game’s literary annals in 1999 with his masterpiece “The Theory of Poker.”
Long before he became an author, however, Sklansky says he was an aspiring table game inventor who created a little something he liked to call “Casino Poker.”
Here’s how Sklansky described the situation in a post titled “I Invented Caribbean Stud,” which appeared on his popular Two Plus Two online poker forum in 2007:
“In 1982 I invented the game that became Caribbean Stud. I called it Casino Poker. Except for the fact that I exposed one card rather than two, and had no progressive jackpot betting option, the rules were the same. Ante one, bet two more, dealer qualifies with AK. Plus there were bonus pays for high hands.
I was told I couldn’t patent the game but I trademarked the name and put it on trial at Vegas World. I didn’t follow through because my girlfriend died during that time and I wasn’t up to it.
A few years later a poker player asked me about the game because he knew a casino owner in Aruba. He brought the rules down there, they added the progressive, exposed only one card and got it patented. There is ongoing controversy about that patent and I was asked to give a deposition about it a few years ago.”
Indeed, the Excelsior Casino in Aruba is known as the first venue to spread Caribbean Stud Poker. During the 1980s, Suttle – a Las Vegas resident who knew Sklansky from their rounds on the local poker circuit – visited the Excelsior and convinced management to give “his” new game a trial run.
Local gamblers flocked to the new table game in droves, chasing both the escalating base game pay table and that elusive progressive jackpot, convincing the casino bosses to keep Caribbean Stud Poker around for good. And once that healthy 5.22 percent house edge kicked in, sending sizable sums into the casino’s coffers, a table game classic was born.
Sklansky is well-known among the poker community as a straight shooter, so there’s no reason to doubt his story. It wouldn’t be the first time a casino game inventor received faulty legal advice that led to them losing the patent on their own idea.
Sam Torosian infamously developed the first Pai Gow Poker prototype in his California card room, only for a lawyer pal to erroneously tell him that games using a 52-card deck of playing cards couldn’t receive patent protection. And according to a 2002 profile titled “Casino Boss Can’t Cash In on Game He Developed” published by the Los Angeles Times, Torosian lost out on an estimated $70,000 per month for lack of a patent on that hybrid table game.
Whether you attribute Caribbean Stud Poker’s arrival to Sklansky’s brainstorm, or Suttle’s entrepreneurial spirit, the game wound up taking off like few table game additions before or since. During the 1990s, even as competitors like Let It Ride, Three Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud Poker crowded the market, Caribbean Stud Poker reigned supreme in Sin City’s bustling table game pits.
Today, however, the game’s high house edge rate and abundance of rivals has led to a rapid decline. Only two casinos in Las Vegas – the Venetian and the Palazzo – even carry the game any longer, completing the meteoric rise and fall of Caribbean Stud Poker.
Thankfully, fans of this skill-based evolution of five-card stud can still find plenty of virtual tables running around the clock in top-rated online casinos.