Perhaps it's the casino atmosphere or the exotic names of the new table games, but feeling anxious walking up to a poker table is not abnormal. Don't be afraid. If you know the basics of five-card stud poker, you'll fit right in at the Caribbean Stud Poker table. Just remember that you're playing against the Dealer, not the other Players, so you don't have to worry about figuring out everyone else's strategy. We're not suggesting, though, that Caribbean Stud is a great way to win money and you won't be able to sit and relax for a while as you can with, say, Pai-Gow Poker.
Step up to the table and place a bet on the box marked Ante. At this time, you also may place a $1 Progressive bet on the marked space. If you happen to be dealt a flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush or royal flush and have placed a $1 Progressive bet, you will win additional money. This money ranges from casino to casino, so check with your Dealer. The odds are slim that you will be dealt these high-payout hands, but you can decide whether or not this extra bet is worth it to you and your bankbook.
After Ante and any Progressive bets are placed, all Players and the Dealer will be dealt five cards each. The Players' cards are face down and the Dealer will place four of his cards face down and one face up. Now, go ahead and look at your cards. Then, look at the Dealer's one face-up card. Now, look at your cards again. OK, try not to take too long. Your decision is simple. Do you have a winning hand based on basic poker hand rankings? If you have absolutely nothing, not even a pair, fold. Immediately, you will lose your Ante bet and, if placed, your Progressive bet. Placing your cards on the table is a sign to the Dealer that you're out of this hand.
If, however, you have a playable hand, perhaps a pair or straight, and you believe that you might beat the Dealer's hand, it's time to place an additional bet. In the box marked Bet, you must wager twice the amount of the Ante bet. For example, if your Ante bet was $10, you must place $20 on the Bet box.
Once all Players have made their decision to either play or fold, the Dealer reveals his hand. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as your hand beating his. The Dealer's hand must contain a minimum poker hand ranking of an Ace and King. If his cards do not contain the minimum hand, he folds. At that time, Players who stayed in the game, receive 1:1 odds on the Ante bet. However, their secondary bet is returned to them with no additional money. Continuing with our example, you would receive your original $10 Ante, plus an additional $10, and your original secondary bet of $20 would be returned.
If the Dealer's hand contains at least an Ace and King, he must then play his hand against each Player based on traditional poker hand rankings. If your hand beats the Dealer's, you win even money on your Ante bet. For your secondary bet, the odds are as follows:
If the Dealer beat your hand, you automatically lose your Ante and secondary bets. However, if you placed a Progressive bet and were dealt a flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush or royal flush, you would win the Progressive Jackpot even if you lost to the Dealer.
Now that you understand the basics, you can sit down at the Caribbean Stud Poker table with confidence.