Caribbean Draw Poker Strategies for Recreational Players

Published on: April 23, 2014 

If you're familiar with table games, then you probably have heard that Caribbean Draw Poker is one of the most difficult games to play extremely well. One reason for this is that, unlike blackjack, video poker or other forms of table poker, it's not easy to determine the mathematically-correct strategy for the game as a whole because there are an overwhelming number of ways things can play out. To learn to play games like this well, you have to rely on general principles instead of trying to memorize long, complicated and detailed strategies. Fortunately, this plays right into the hand of the recreational player who isn't interested in putting hours upon hours into learning a game in the first place.

You have two main strategic decisions in Caribbean Draw Poker. First, you have to decide if you want to fold or play the hand. Then, if you decide to play the hand, you have to decide how to play your discards. Generally speaking, you're going to want to fold if you have just a high card hand with no draws. This could be a four-card draw to a flush or straight, three cards to a royal flush, or three cards to a straight flush that are all eight or higher with no more than one gap.

From this point, you have to decide how to play those discards. With a flush or straight draw, just discard the single card that's normally discarded for the draw. With a single pair, you can only make two discards, so you're forced to keep a kicker. Along these lines, you should keep the kicker that is the highest. These are the only decisions that are particularly difficult in Caribbean Draw Poker, so these general guidelines should help your play quite a bit.

The most difficult hands are the ones that you can play two different ways. For example, if you have a flush draw and a pair of nines, you could reasonably play the hand two different ways. You should usually keep four to a royal over a high pair, a high pair over four to a flush, four to a flush over four to a straight, and four to a straight over a low pair. This hierarchy of hands will help you when you have two ways to play a hand so that you play it the correct way.

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