Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Live dealer Caribbean stud is a poker-based game with a fair amount of strategy and some element of luck. It’s a great mix of these two elements, which makes it one of the most popular casino poker titles. In the live dealer environment, it’s even better with the social element added in.

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An Introduction to Live Caribbean Stud

In the genre of poker games found at casinos, the live selection is sometimes a bit limited. This is because most casino poker titles don’t have a large enough following to justify a live game. With that said, live Caribbean stud is an exception to that rule.

Caribbean Stud Poker Win
Caribbean Stud Poker Win

This exception exists because the game itself is so strong. It provides the perfect mix of a reasonable amount of strategy with some degree of luck.

This combination makes it perfect for the live dealer atmosphere. We see this being the case in part because of the social aspect. Put another way, players can talk strategy at the table while also celebrating their wins together. This is because, typically speaking, everyone is playing the same hand.

It’s worth noting that it’s not a particularly complicated game either, so it’s accessible to more players. Even if you aren’t into titles with a tremendous amount of strategy, you can learn to play this game pretty well in just a few short minutes.

Gameplay Procedure and Rules

The rules of live dealer Caribbean stud center around five-card poker rankings. We’ll show you these rankings and why they’re relevant in what follows. We’ll also show you how the procedure of the game flows and what you can win.

Five-card Poker Hands

For a quick refresher, here are the five-card poker hand rankings used in this game:

  • Royal Flush – A combination of A-K-Q-J-T in the same suit
  • Straight Flush – Five consecutively ranked cards of the same suit
  • Four of a Kind – Four cards that use the same rank
  • Full House – Three cards of one rank with two other cards of a different rank
  • Flush – Five cards of the same suit, rank doesn’t matter
  • Straight – Five cards of consecutive rank, suit doesn’t matter
  • Three of a Kind – Three cards of the same rank
  • Two Pair – Two cards of one rank with two other cards of a different rank
  • One Pair – Two cards of one rank
  • High Card – None of the above

High card hands are ranked based on a simple system. Line the cards from the hands up in order of strength from left to right starting with the strongest. Start from the left and compare cards until one is higher. For example, the hand A-K-T-3-2 will beat the hand A-K-9-8-2. If the five cards in each hand are all of the same rank, then the hand ties.

Caribbean Stud Poker Main Screen
Caribbean Stud Poker Main Screen

Gameplay Procedure

The play procedure for live Caribbean stud is pretty straightforward. It can take a few hands to get used to, but once you’re there, it’s not very complicated. Note that we’re not going to talk about any side bets here and will instead get into that down below.

  • You start by making your ante wager.
  • Once that wager is made, you’ll receive five cards face-up. The dealer receives five cards as well with only one of them face-up.
  • You get to make your decision between folding and raising.
  • Folding means that you give up your cards, ante and some side bets. Raising means that you add an additional wager called the raise worth twice the ante amount.
  • If the player raises, the dealer turns over his or her remaining cards.
  • To qualify, the dealer needs at least A-K high. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, regardless of the player’s cards, you win at 1:1 on the ante, and the raise is simply returned to you.
  • In the case that the dealer qualifies, the dealer’s hand and the player’s hand are compared. If the dealer qualifies and wins, you lose both the raise and ante.
  • If the dealer qualifies, but you win, then you’ll win at 1:1 on the ante. However, the raise is paid according to a special pay table listed below.
  • Ties after the dealer qualifies result in a push. Both wagers are simply returned to you.

These hands go fairly quickly, which make them perfect for the live dealer environment. They also don’t have multiple betting options to choose from, so a lot of hands are pretty easy to play perfectly from a strategic standpoint, which speeds the game up quite a bit as well.

Raise Pay Tables

When you win after the dealer qualifies, your raise can pay more than 1:1 depending on your hand. However, the pay table used for this can vary a bit. In what follows, we’ll look over the most common pay table you’ll find in live Caribbean stud games online.

  • Royal Flush – 100x
  • Straight Flush – 50x
  • Four of a Kind – 20x
  • Full House – 7x
  • Flush – 5x
  • Straight – 4x
  • Three of a Kind – 3x
  • Two Pair – 2x
  • One Pair – 1x
  • High Card – 1x

It’s really important to point out that two things have to happen before this pay table applies. First, the dealer must qualify. If the dealer doesn’t qualify, then your raise wager is simply returned to you no matter the cards you have.

Second, you have to beat the dealer’s hand. If you hold a straight flush, but the dealer has a royal, then you won’t get paid for it. Both of these conditions must be met for the raise pay table to come into play.

Side Bets

Two common side bets can be found at the live dealer Caribbean stud tables. Not all games will have these, but the vast majority of them will. They are calculated separately from the rest of the wagers, but a regular ante bet is required to play them.

Progressive Jackpot Side Bet

Many games will have a side bet for some small amount, usually a token €1 no matter the ante. The pay tables on these can vary pretty wildly for lower hands. However, the basic idea is that you win on a royal and pick up a smaller jackpot with a straight flush.

Here’s an example of a common pay table found in live dealer games online:

  • Royal Flush – Progressive Jackpot
  • Straight Flush – 10 Percent of Progressive Jackpot
  • Four of a Kind – 100x
  • Full House – 75x
  • Flush – 50x

It’s rare for hands at the straight level and below to be paid by this progressive side bet. You essentially have a miniature lottery being played here for all intents and purposes. However, it’s the poker hand value of your five cards that determine the payout.

Caribbean Stud Poker Decision
Caribbean Stud Poker Decision

5+1 Bonus Side Bet

The 5+1 Bonus is a cool side bet that’s very specific to the live Caribbean stud tables. That’s because it requires the player’s five starting cards as well as the dealer’s face-up card. The idea is that you use those six cards to create the best five-card poker hand possible. From there, you’re paid based on a pay table:

  • Royal Flush – 1,000x
  • Straight Flush – 200x
  • Four of a Kind – 100x
  • Full House – 20x
  • Flush – 15x
  • Straight – 10x
  • Three of a Kind – 7x

When compared to the progressive side bet, this one has a lower level of volatility. That’s because the upper-tier prizes are static instead of variable. Moreover, pays for lower-ranked hands that hit more often smooth things out as well.

The 5+1 Bonus side bet can be found at the tables powered by Evolution Gaming and some other software providers, but it’s not always available just depending on where you play. Like the progressive side bet, you do have to make an ante wager to play the 5+1 Bonus. However, it’s not contingent on whether you raise or fold with your ante hand.

How to Win at Live Caribbean Stud Poker

Something that draws a lot of players into this game is that the strategies are pretty straightforward for most hands. However, a strong degree of depth is found in a minority of hands. With that said, you can follow an easy rule of thumb to cover most of what you’ll see:

  1. Players always need to fold with worse than A-K high.
  2. If you have A-K high, use your best judgment.
  3. You should always raise if you have a made hand of a pair or better.

That leaves how to play A-K high hands, which is a pretty complicated topic. You have to take into consideration the specific cards in your hand and the dealer’s face-up card. This will allow you to make the best decision possible, but keep in mind that this is a minority of hands.

Caribbean Stud Poker Bets Closing
Caribbean Stud Poker Bets Closing


Live Caribbean stud is a game that brings players together from all over the world. The strategic nature of the game is notable, but it doesn’t dominate every aspect of the experience. This sets it apart from other popular card-based live titles like blackjack. If you want something a bit more relaxed and fun but that isn’t completely luck-based, then this is a good choice.


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