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Caribbean Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud Poker has been played on cruise ships and in the Caribbean casinos for many years. It has only been within the last couple of years that the games has gained wide acceptance in casinos in the United States.

Unlike regular poker, all players compete against the dealer (or house), eliminating some of the intimidation that participants may feel when competing against other players.

The game is played on a table similar to a blackjack table, with up to seven player spots. One standard deck of fifty-two cards is used. Play begins with all players making a mandatory ante wager (usually $5 minimum) in the designated box in front of each player (see diagram at the end of this Site). The dealer deals five cards to each player, usually from a deck that has been shuffled by an automatic shuffling machine. The dealer also receives five cards, but the last dealer card is dealt face-up for all of the players to see. Each player then picks up his five cards and makes a decision to either call or fold his hand.

After looking at the cards, if the player believes he has very little chance of beating the dealer-ending up with a better five-card poker hand than the dealer-the player can fold by throwing the cards facedown on the table (hopefully, in such a manner as to not offend the dealer!). When the player folds, the player's ante bet is taken by the dealer and the player loses.

If the player believes he has a chance to beat the dealer, he must make a secondary bet equal to twice the size of the initial wager. Thus, a player that made a $5 ante bet must make a $10 call bet, which is placed behind the original wager in the box provided.

After all of the players have decided to either fold or call, the dealer exposes his cards on the layout. In order for this round of play to continue, the dealer's hand must "qualify" by having at least an Ace and King, or higher. Let's examine the two scenarios of when the dealer's hand qualifies and when it doesn't.

If the dealer does not qualify (Ace and King, or higher) he folds, and he automatically pays all players the original ante bet at one to one. The player's call bet is considered "no action" and the wager is returned to the player. After paying the ante bet, the dealer collects the cards and reshuffles for a new hand.

If the dealer does qualify by having an Ace, King, or higher poker hand, the dealer then "calls" all player hands. The players, in turn, lay their cards on the layout, and the dealer compares his hand with each player's hand to determine which hand has the highest poker rank (see the end of this page for the ranking of poker hands). If the dealer's hand is higher than the player's hand, the dealer wins both the ante and the bet wager from the player. If instead the player's hand has a higher ranking than the dealer's hand, the player wins the ante wager at one to one, and the call bet is paid a bonus depending on the value of the hand. The payoff for a winning call bet is as follows:

One pair, or Ace, King 1 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Straight 4 to 1
Flush 5 to 1
Full house 7 to 1
Four of a kind 20 to 1
Straight flush 50 to 1
Royal flush 100 to 1

The only way that the player can participate in the above bonus is if the dealer has an Ace, King, or higher hand, and "calls" all of the player hands. If you have one of the above poker hands, and the dealer does not have at least an Ace, King, or higher hand, you win only the ante bet; you win nothing for your poker hand because the dealer's hand didn't qualify. This is often disheartening for players. You are dealt a straight flush and expect a fifty to one payoff, but the dealer's hand ends up not qualifying. Instead of getting a fifty to one payoff, you end up getting only one to one on the payoff (unless you entered the progressive jackpot, which is explained below).

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