Caribbean Stud Poker Strategy

Published on: January 27, 2010 

Caribbean Stud Poker appears to be an extremely simple game. All that the player is required to do is decide whether to fold or call after the cards have been dealt. If the player folds he surrenders his ante wager and if he calls he risks an additional amount. However this decision is not as simple as it seems and it involves quite a bit of strategy. This article assumes that the readers will be familiar with the basic rules and procedures of the game and only the strategy aspects will be discussed.

There are certain hands when even novice players will immediately say that call is the right option. Similarly there are certain hands when even novice players will immediately say that folder is the right option. Unfortunately the majority of the hands dealt do not fall in these two categories. However for sake of completion the entire range of hands that can be dealt will be considered in the article.

The player should call on two pairs, three of a kind, four of a kind, straights, flushes, full houses, straight flushes and royal flushes. Even without the bonus payout these hands have high positive expectation.

The first problematic hand is the pairs. Pairs are dealt 42% of the time and therefore appear fairly regularly. The decision is fairly simple. The player should call on any pair regardless of the dealer's face up card. The reasoning however is somewhat complex. For players who would like to understand it, the reasoning is explained below. A pair of 8s or higher always have a positive expectation and therefore should be called. Pairs of 5s, 6s and 7s have a positive expectation provided the pair is greater than the dealer's face up card. These pairs have a negative expectation if the pair is not greater than the dealer's face up card. Pairs of 2s, 3s and 4s always have a negative expectation. The difficulty arises because for even pairs with negative expectations the correct decision is to call. By folding the players are simply surrendering their ante wager. By calling on pairs with negative expectations players are minimizing this loss because of the small chance of winning on low pairs.

The next problematic hand is when players hold AK. The decision in this case is based on the third highest card and the dealer's face up card. There are two situations that arise. The first situation is when the third card is a jack or a queen. In this case the player should always call. The second situation is when the third card is less than a jack. In this case the player should call only when the dealers face up card matches with any of the player's cards. The logic behind this is that in such a situation the chance of the dealer drawing a pair is reduced because one of the three cards that can result in the pair is with the player.

When players hold AQ or less they should fold because this hand does not even match the dealer's qualifying hand and approximately 56% of the time the dealer will be dealt a qualifying hand.

Other Recent Articles:
Casino Offers