How to Play Caribbean Stud

The popularity of the Caribbean Stud has grown immensely over the last few years. It is a table game that also offers the player a chance to make a side bet to win a progressive jackpot. This has added to its appeal even if the odds of winning the big jackpot are around 649,000 to 1. The house edge for the main game is about 5 percent.

How To Play

Caribbean Stud is played on a blackjack-sized table.

The game is based on poker and you should know the ranking of hands. You are playing against the dealer and your hand must beat the dealer's hand. You do not have to worry about beating the other player's hands.

The game starts with each player making an ante bet equal to the table minimum. This is placed in the circle marked "ante" in front of the player. At this time the player also has the option of making an additional dollar side bet for the bonus jackpot.

An automatic shuffler deals the cards and each player receives a hand with five cards face down. The dealer's hand has four cards down and one card up.

Players look at their cards and decide to fold and forfeit their ante bet or call by making an additional bet, which is twice the size of the ante. If you are playing at a five-dollar table your ante bet would be five dollars and your call bet would be ten dollars.

After the players have bet or folded, the dealer's hand is turned over.

The dealer must qualify by having a hand with Ace-King or better. If the dealer does not qualify the players are paid even money for their original ante bet and the second call bet is a push, which means it, does not win or lose.

If your hand beats the dealer you will be paid even money for your ante bet and your call bet will be paid according to the following pay table.

  • One Pair or less: 1 to 1
  • Two Pairs: 2 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 3 to 1
  • Straight: 4 to 1
  • Flush: 5 to 1
  • Full House: 7 to 1
  • Four of a Kind: 20 to 1
  • Straight Flush: 50 to 1

This game is slower paced than blackjack and it is more of a social game similar to Let It Ride. Because of this, the house edge won't hurt your bankroll too much if you play for smaller stakes. The same is not true of the side bet for the progressive jackpot.


Like in blackjack, the player must act before the dealer. This means there will be times that you fold a hand only to have the dealer not qualify. This does not mean you should play every hand. A simple strategy is to play your hand if it contains Ace-King or better and fold anything else.

The Progressive Jackpot

Placing a dollar side bet for the bonus jackpot is one of the worst bets you can make in the casino. You should avoid wasting a dollar by making this bet. Take a look at the chart of the payoffs below.

You need a flush or higher to qualify for one of the bonus payouts and the money you win when you receive one of these hands is not close to the odds of doing so. You will make a flush once every 508 hands and for this, the casino will pay you $50 dollars. I think you can see why this is a bad bet.

If for some reason you decide to make the side bet you should know that you are eligible for the jackpot even if the dealer's hand does not qualify. You must inform the dealer immediately before they pick up the cards. Normally the dealer will pick up all the cards without turning them over. Make sure you speak up.

That is about all you need to know to play Caribbean Stud. Give it a try but stay away form the side bet.

Side Bet

HandDollar JackpotOdds Against
Flush$50508 to 1
Full House$75693 to 1
Four of a kind$1004,164 to 1
Straight Flush10% of Progressive Jackpot64,973 to 1
Royal Flush100% of Progressive Jackpot649,740 to 1