Caribbean Stud Poker Bankroll Management

Best Bets at the Caribbean Stud Table

Caribbean stud is an exciting casino game for a variety of reasons. First, it is based on five-card stud poker and any poker-related game enjoys a special appeal with the masses. In addition, it has a progressive jackpot that could lead to a huge payday for the lucky player. The house edge is substantial, although players can reduce it slightly with correct play.

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The game starts with an ante bet made by the player. He may also pay $1 on each hand to qualify for the progressive jackpot. This is a huge prize pool, usually over $100,000. If you pay into it and are dealt a royal flush, you typically receive the entire prize. Other top hands like a straight flush and four of a kind give high payouts, varying from casino to casino.

After the ante is placed, five cards are dealt to the player and the dealer deals himself five, showing one card face up. The player then evaluates his own hand and decides to either make a bet or fold. The bet has to be double the original ante. This means that if a player antes $10 and decides to bet on his hand, he will place $20 more on the table. A player that folds surrenders his ante.

After players decide to bet or fold, the dealer reveals his hand. If he has an Ace-King high or better, the dealer is said to “qualify.” If the player has a better ranking poker hand, he wins both the ante and additional bet paid off at 1 to 1. If the dealer’s hand is better, both bets lose. If the dealer does not have a qualifying hand, all players that stayed win their ante bets but the additional bet is simply given back and is not paid off.

Many are eager to bet at the Caribbean stud table because it doesn’t really seem like the house has an edge. It is just your hand against the dealer’s and you both have an equal chance of winning. The significant house edge exists because the additional bet is a large one, double the ante, which puts you at a disadvantage since you can only see one of the dealer’s cards. Also, the fact that you only win your ante bet when the dealer doesn’t qualify hurts your overall expectation.

Caribbean Stud Smart Bets

Basic Strategy – 5.35% house edge. The best Caribbean stud bets are made when the player has hand with a significant edge over the dealer’s likely holdings. If you always bet when your hand is A-K-J high or better, the house edge will be about 5.35%.

The only way to lower the edge further is to memorize a particular set of rules for when you have other A-K high hands against particular dealer upcards. This will only lower the house advantage by about another 0.15%, though, which isn’t very significant when the edge is already this large.

Worst Caribbean Stud Bets

Progressive Jackpot – Up to about a 35% house edge. In most circumstances, betting on the progressive jackpot is a bad bet. The premium hands that result in a large payout, such as a royal flush, occur at such a low probability that your expectation is decidedly negative unless the jackpot has grown to an incredibly high level.

It is possible to calculate the expectation of your jackpot bet, but the math involved is very complicated. The house will often have an edge of 15-25% on this bet. With a normal payout schedule, the jackpot would need to be about $350,000 to give you a positive expectation on your bet, which will be very rare. If you carefully observe the jackpot levels, though, and play at the right times, this can be among the better progressive jackpot bets in the casino, although it is still not a great proposition.

Using Table Poker Moves – Many players mistakenly think that they can “bluff” on occasion by making a bet with a weak hand hoping the dealer won’t qualify. The temptation comes from the frustration of the dealer failing to quality after the player has folded, meaning he would have won his ante bet back. This can lead to a “bluff” on a subsequent hand with a hand weaker than A high. But in reality, the dealer qualifies about 56% of the time, so this is a losing proposition. And even if you do get lucky and the dealer doesn’t qualify, you don’t even win your bet, just your ante.

If you ever try to “bluff,” or incorporate any other move derived from real poker into a casino table game strategy, you will be leaving a significant sum of your money on the table. They do not affect the play of the dealer one bit.

Building Your Caribbean Stud Bankroll

With Caribbean stud, every single bet you make gives the house a great advantage, so you need to be able to find value in comps, VIP offers and other bonuses. If you seek out a good online VIP casino deal or land based casino that offers these extra incentives, you can significantly cut down on the house edge, or at least get a real value for the money you are spending in Caribbean Stud.