So you’ve just read my last article about the rules of Caribbean Stud poker. Now that you know the rules, you’re ready for some strategy so you don’t just lose all of your money right away. So without further ado, I’m going to give you Gambling City’s best kept secret, The Two Golden Rules of Caribbean Stud.
The Two Golden Rules of Caribbean Stud
- Always raise if you have a pair or better.
- Always fold if you have an Ace and Queen high or worse.
Looking at the first rule, it’s obvious you would want to raise with say, three of a kind, but even with a pair of 2s? Yes, even with a pair of 2s. You won’t beat many hands with which the dealer actually qualifies, but you do beat some, and you get to double up your ante.
I feel like people these days tend to think of all odds in Texas Hold’em terms, where a pair of 2s is nowhere near as good. But this is 5-Card Stud. You will get nothing over 50% of the time, and so will the dealer. If you don’t cash in on the times when you have pairs, then there’s no way you can win money. Just trust me; it’s the right thing to do.
On to the second rule, this should be fairly obvious. If you can’t beat the dealer’s qualifying hand, then your raise is just dead money. You can’t win anything off it, but you sure can lose it.
For an idea of how bad this bet is, let’s consider a hand like AQT98. Roughly 50% of hands are better than this one, roughly 50% are worse. It would be an okay bet if you had even money, and you only had to keep up your ante, but in this situation you win half the time, and you lose half the time, but when you lose, you lose 3x as much as you make when you win.
Let’s say you bet $1 in this situation 100 times, winning 50 and losing 50. Your 50 wins make you $50, and your 50 losses lose you $150. Overall betting $100 dollars has made you lose $100 dollars. It’s the same as just handing dollar bills to the dealer.
The Sticky Situation of Ace-King
The dealer will play any hand with an Ace-King, but that doesn’t mean you should. You only want to play the hands that can beat the dealer. A good general rule for beginners is to raise with anything AKJ83 or better, but that’s too simple for you. You have to take into account the dealer’s face-up card.
If the face-up card is an ace or a king, it drastically increases the likelihood that the dealer will have an Ace-King hand, so you want to make sure you have a good one too, so only raise with a hand that has a high card like Queen or a Jack, in addition to the Ace and King.
Also, when the face-up card matches one of yours, it reduces the likelihood of the dealer having a pair. So you should usually raise when the dealer’s face-up card is the same as one of yours (unless it’s the ace or king of course).
Other than that, just go with your gut. Gambling’s no fun if you only follow a system. If the dealer’s showing a 2 and all of your cards are higher, why not. Go with your gut. I feel like most Caribbean Stud strategies spend an inordinate amount of time talking about Ace-King hands, when they actually show up quite rarely. There is an “optimal strategy” worked up by Wizard of Odds at http://wizardofodds.com/caribbeanstud, but following those rules to the T can get pretty boring.
You’re a gambler, you have instincts. Use them when the rules don’t fit.
Technically speaking, the Progressive Jackpot is not a money-making proposition. Buy hey, neither is the lottery, but people still buy millions of tickets. The Progressive is more of a traditional gamble than most of these games, you go in knowing you can’t win in the long-run, but you do have a chance of scoring big. Here are the odds, courtesy of About.com:
|1 in every 508 hands
|1 in every 693 hands
|Four of a Kind
|1 in every 4,164 hands
|1 in every 64,973 hands
|10% of Progressive Jackpot
|1 in every 649,740 hands
|100% of Progressive Jackpot
The only way the Progressive Jackpot can be a long-run moneymaking opportunity is if the Jackpot is $263,205.26 or greater, according to Wizard of Odds. I mean, you can see from the table how bad of a bet this is.
Say, for example, you play 500 hands and are lucky enough to get a Flush, Full House, and Four of a Kind. If you paid for the progressive every time, you’d only make back $225 of the $500 you spent.
Then again, whether or not you do the Progressive depends on what kind of gambler you are. If you get a Royal Flush and the Dealer doesn’t qualify, will it ruin your life? Will you always be thinking about that one time?
If you can handle not getting paid when you have a good hand and the dealer doesn’t qualify, then skip the Progressive. However, if you’re going to punch yourself for a sustained period of time whenever that happens, it might just be worth it for you to do the Progressive.
Well, that’s about all there is for Caribbean Stud. You know the rules, you know the odds, and you know the strategy. Now it’s time for your pockets to get heavy.
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