There are a significant number of poker games around and one of the most popular is Caribbean Poker. The game is between the player and the dealer; the player does not face off against other players unlike in some of the other types of poker. The game requires a bit of skill as it comes with a house edge of 5%.
Caribbean Poker became popular on the cruise ships on the South Pacific; from there it was only a matter of time before the game made its way to land-based casinos and later to online poker rooms and casinos.
This article recommends casino where you can Caribbean Poker with a bonus, and introduces the basic rules of the game.
Caribbean Poker Casinos and Bonuses
Below is a list of recommended Caribbean Poker casinos. Note that the percentage indicated how much if your wagers count towards the wagering requirement. 0% means that you cannot play video Caribbean Poker with the bonus.
Caribbean Poker is one of the oldest versions of poker available today. The game, as mentioned earlier, was initially played on the cruise ships plying the South Pacific and the Caribbean region, hence the name. People aboard the cruise ships needed a game that was fast and not too complicated in terms of the rules and wagers; that was how the game took shape. This game is popular even today on account of its simplicity and fast pace.
From the cruise ships the game made its way to land in the 1980s and found a place in land-based casinos. The game was initially eyed warily by the purists because it was new and also because of the high house edge compared to other existing games. The game’s popularity faced some obstacles at which point casino operators tried to add a few touches to make it enticing, like a progressive jackpot.
The game grew significantly in popularity in the 1990s with the emergence of the online casino industry. Online casinos needed fast, fun and simple games, and Caribbean Poker was the perfect fit and soon became one of the premier offerings at these casinos. That popularity is intact even today; Caribbean Poker is now the third-most popular poker game after 7 Card Stud and Texas Hold’em.
How to Play Caribbean Poker
Caribbean Poker is simple and fun to play. We list the steps below:
- The first step to playing this game is to place the ante bet.
- Once the bet is placed, the player is dealt 5 cards face down. At an online casino the player’s cards are dealt face up.
- The dealer is also dealt a 5-card hand: four of the cards are face down and one card is face up.
- The player has to take a call on how to proceed based on:
- The hand he has been dealt
- The dealer’s open card
- Based on these 2 factors, the player can do one of the following:
- Fold his hand, in which case he will lose his ante bet.
- Continue playing, in which case he will have to raise and place a bet that is double his ante bet.
- Once the player has finished his hand, the dealer opens his face down card. The hand with the higher value wins and the payouts are made accordingly.
There are certain rules for the dealer to qualify for a winning hand. The qualifying hand for the dealer requires him to have an Ace and a King at least. If the dealer’s hand does not qualify for the round you win even money for the ante bet you placed. At a land-based casino all the players in the game are paid out even money for their ante bets if the dealer doesn’t have a qualifying hand.
How much you get paid out for a win depends on the hand you have put together. The following table lists the payouts for the different hands. At an online casino you will find the payout table to be easily accessible from within the game.
|Royal Flush||Five consecutive suited cards, starting at ten||10♥J♥Q♥K♥A♥||200/100/50 to 1|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive suited cards||6♠7♠8♠9♠10♠||50 to 1|
|Four of a kind||Four cards of the same value||10♥10♣10♦10♠5♦||20 to 1|
|Full House||Three cards of the same value and two of another||7♥7♣7♠K♠K♣||7 to 1|
|Flush||Five cards of the same suit||2♠9♠4♠5♠K♠||5 to 1|
|Straight||Five consecutive suited cards||5♥6♠7♠8♣9♠||4 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same value||7♥7♣7♠3♠5♥||3 to 1|
|Two pairs||Two cards share one value with another two sharing another value||7♥7♣K♠K♣10♦||2 to 1|
|Pair||Two cards of same value||7♦7♥6♣10♠5♥||1 to 1|
At some online casinos, some variants of Caribbean Poker come with a progressive jackpot. Players can take a shot at the progressive jackpot by placing an additional side bet for the progressive. The progressive pays out from a minimum hand rank of a Flush. The higher the hand rank, the higher the payout. You get a 100% payout on a Royal Flush.
The payouts for the progressive will also be listed along with the payouts for the raise bets listed above. How much the payouts are depends on the software provider and the casino you are playing at.
Glossary of Caribbean Poker Terms
While knowing all aspects of Caribbean Poker is important, one aspect you should not miss out on is learning the various terms used in the game. Knowing the terms simplifies gameplay and puts you at ease when you are playing. The following is a list of key terms used in Caribbean Poker:
|Ace-King hand||This hand has the Ace and a King as the high cards. This is the lowest hand that the dealer must have to qualify for a game.|
|Ante||This is the initial bet you must place, even before the cards are dealt.|
|Call Bet||This is the secondary bet you place once you have seen your hand. The amount in the call bet is twice the ante bet; you basically ‘raise’ the bet level.|
|Deal||This is the act of the dealer distributing the cards between you and himself; each of you get 5 cards. At a land-based casino the players’ cards are dealt face down while 4 of the dealer’s cards are dealt face-down with the fifth one standing face up. At an online casino you get the cards dealt face-up, while the dealer’s cards are dealt the same – 4 face down and 1 face up.|
|Collusion||An act of cheating where players work together to beat the house. Collusion is illegal and strictly forbidden in Caribbean Stud Poker.|
|Dealer||The person who deals the cards; the player plays against the dealer in Caribbean Stud Poker.|
|Four of a Kind||A hand in Caribbean Poker with four cards of the same rank.|
|Full House||A hand with two elements: a three of a kind and a pair.|
|Flush||A hand with five of non-sequential cards of the same suit.|
|Garbage Hand:||Another term for a non-qualifying hand.|
|House Edge||A term used to refer to a bet that the casino expects to win.|
|Pair||A hand with two cards of the same rank from different suits.|
|Progressive Jackpot||A jackpot that builds up as players contribute to it before each hand.|
|Push||A situation in Caribbean Poker when a player neither wins nor loses his bet.|
|Raise||The amount the player raises as the Call Bet. The bet/raise is double the ante.|
|Royal Flush||A hand with the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten of the same suit.|
|Straight||A hand with five cards of any suit in a sequence.|
|Straight Flush||A hand with five cards of the same suit in a sequence.|
|Toke||A term that is used to refer to a dealer tip.|
|Three of a Kind||A hand with three cards of the same rank.|
|Two Pair||A hand with two cards of one rank and another two identical cards of another rank.|
|Up card||This is the card in the dealer's hand turned face-up.|
Caribbean Poker Strategy
Caribbean Poker is one poker game where strategy has a role to play in helping you win. Strategy becomes important in this game because of the approximately 5% (5.2% or so) house edge that the casino enjoys over you. With the right strategy you can minimise the odds of the casino winning and pick up wins of your own. The right strategy can also help you swing the odds in your favour.
The 5.2% house edge means that for every €10 you wager you are likely to lose 52p. This is where strategy comes in handy. We take a look below at how strategy can help:
There are 4 options for you once the ante bet has been placed and the cards dealt:
- Fold the hand if it is weak and lose the ante bet.
- Raise the bet and lose the ante if the dealer does not qualify.
- Raise the bet and win the ante if the dealer qualifies but has a hand weaker than yours.
- Raise the bet and lose the call bet and the ante if the dealer qualifies and has a hand stronger than yours.
Given these 4 options, which is the correct option to choose? That depends on the hand, obviously, and the dealer’s up card. However, there are certain hands where you will raise, with the hope that the dealer’s hand qualifies and is weaker so you can win your ante and your bet. Let us look at a few hands now.
Things get a little complicated if you have a hand of the middling variety. An example is a hand of Pairs.
- A Pair hand deserves a raise in the bet.
- The chances of being dealt a pair are 42% and there are 13 pair combinations possible.
- The 7 higher pairs stand a good chance of winning, more than 50%.
- The risk of losing is pronounced only in the lower pairs.
The Beacon Hand
There are a few more things to know: for instance your payout table. Some Caribbean Poker variants have a maximum cap on the payout. This means your payment gets capped even if you hit a hand that pays high. When you play, calculate your wagers to ensure that the maximum payout you receive equals the maximum payout the table allows.
Some Caribbean Poker games offer progressive jackpots but these jackpots come with a high house edge of almost 22%. Know when to hit the jackpot; while you may qualify for a progressive jackpot by making the side bet and landing a qualifying hand, it has to be worth the effort. Playing for a progressive may be an option if the jackpot is over €200,000. Even then the odds would still not be completely in your favour.
Some More Important Facts
One standard hand in Caribbean Poker is the Ace, King, Jack, Eight and Three, also called the Beacon Hand. It is so named because it is a benchmark for raising your bet. You can raise for any hand equal to or higher than this and stand a chance of winning.
Caribbean Poker FAQs
Here are a few commonly asked questions about Caribbean Poker
A number of games get their names from their place of origin or the place where you find it played the most. Caribbean Poker originated in the cruise ships of the South Pacific and the Caribbean. The game later moved to land-based casinos and eventually the online casino, but the name stuck from the place of origin.
Caribbean Poker is very poker among players for a number of reasons. This is a game you play against the dealer and not against other players, which means you have to beat the hand of one player as compared to all the other players’ in other poker variants. The simple and easy-to-learn rules are another major draw.
An ante is the initial bet you place to get the game going. Once the ante bet is placed the dealer starts dealing the cards. If you fold you lose your ante bet.
There are a number of software providers offering Caribbean Poker to players. Some of the best variants are from software providers like NetEnt and Playtech. Playtech has a wider reach compared to many of the other software providers for its Caribbean Poker games.
Strategy plays an important role when you play Caribbean Poker. Given the relatively high house edge of 5.2% that the casino enjoys, the right strategy can help you counter the edge and also swing the game in your favour. Refer to our section on strategy in Caribbean Poker above.