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Caribbean Stud strategy

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he caribbean stud poker player should raise on any pair or better, fold on anything less than ace/king, and should sometimes raise and sometimes fold on ace/king. To play caribbean stud poker perfectly would involve memorizing the charts in my caribbean stud poker appendix on when exactly to raise on ace/king. Of course nobody is going to do that so a more simplified caribbean stud poker strategy is clearly called for. By studying the caribbean stud poker appendix you will notice certain patterns of when the odds favor raising and when they don't. I have summarized these patterns in the following suggested rules of thumb on when to raise on ace/king in caribbean stud poker:

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Raise if the caribbean stud poker dealer's card is a 2 through queen and matches one of yours. Raise if the caribbean stud poker dealer's card is an ace or king and you have a queen or jack in your hand. Raise if the caribbean stud poker dealer's rank does not match any of yours and you have a queen in your hand and the dealer's card is less than your fourth highest card. This caribbean stud poker strategy is unique to this page but is not the only caribbean stud poker strategy I have heard of. Following are various other caribbean stud poker strategies, their total loss based on all possible 19, 933, 230, 517, 200 combinations of hands, the caribbean stud poker house edge, and the "element of risk" (defined below). The "matching rank" strategy calls for raising on any pair or better and on ace/king when one of the player's cards matches the rank of the caribbean stud poker dealer's up card (which lowers the odds of the dealer forming a pair). Three rules of thumb (above) Raise on ace/king/jack/8/3 or better Raise on any pair or better Raise on any ace/king or better The caribbean stud poker house edge vs element of risk

Any respectable caribbean stud poker book will tell you that the house edge in caribbean stud poker is about 5.2%. This is true but I have always felt it unfairly makes the game look like a bad bet. The reason is in how the caribbean stud poker house edge is defined, the ratio of average money lost to the original bet. In caribbean stud poker the player will roughly wager just as much in raises as in antes, and this additional money bet is not considered in the caribbean stud poker house edge statistic. For purposes of comparison to other games I think it is better to consider the ratio of money lost to total money wagered, which I refer to as the caribbean stud poker "element of risk." The element of risk using perfect strategy is 2.555%, which makes caribbean stud poker look more competitive compared to other games, although still not one of the best. It is interesting to note that the element of risk for my three rules of thumb is better than for caribbean stud poker perfect strategy! That is because raising on slightly suboptimal plays is actually a better bet than the caribbean stud poker game as a whole and brings down the average expected loss.

In caribbean stud poker the player has the choice to make a side bet of $1 which pays for hands of a flush or better. The specific caribbean stud poker payoff tables vary from place to place but always feature a progressive jackpot, paying 100% of the jackpot meter for a royal flush and 10% for a straight flush. In the very unlikely event that two caribbean stud poker players had a royal flush in the same hand at most places the first one to the caribbean stud poker dealer's left would win the jackpot and the second would win whatever the caribbean stud poker jackpot is reseeded to, usually $10,000 or $20,000. Some places would split the caribbean stud poker jackpot between the two caribbean stud poker players. In the event that two caribbean stud poker players received a straight flush at the same time the first one to the caribbean stud poker dealer left would get 10% of the meter and the second would get 10% of what was left after the first caribbean stud poker player was paid. In other words it pays to sit as close as possible to the dealer's left. While the expected return varies depending on the size of the caribbean stud poker jackpot it is a sucker bet the vast majority of time. The average house edge is 26.46%.

A manager at Casino Niagara kindly explained how the caribbean stud poker jackpot meter works. For every dollar bet 71 cents goes into the caribbean stud poker jackpot and the casino keeps the other 29 cents. This rate of contribution can vary from place to place. All payoffs are paid right out of the meter. Every time somebody hits a royal flush the house contributes $10,000 (called the seed) to the next caribbean stud poker jackpot. The caribbean stud poker house edge is just under the cut per bet because the casino puts up the initial seed to start a new caribbean stud poker jackpot after somebody wins the previous one. At the Casino Niagara the house can expect to receive 18.84 times as much money from the 29% cut as it pays to seed new caribbean stud poker jackpots.

The table below shows four different payoff tables I have seen for caribbean stud poker. It should not be interpreted that a casino with a caribbean stud poker payoff table that pays more for a flush, full house, and four a kind is being generous. Since these payoffs come out of the meter the casino is indifferent to any win other than a royal flush (causing them to have to reseed the meter). The money in the meter can be considered the caribbean stud poker players money because it is only a matter of time before somebody wins it all. Below is a key to some of the casino where each payoff table above can be found. Unless otherwise stated the casino is in Las Vegas.

Table 1: Ballys, Paris, California, Las Vegas Club, Hilton

Table 2: Luxor, Excalibur, Mandaley Bay, Monte Carlo

Table 3: Bellagio, Venetian, Rio, Every casino in Atlantic City, Casino Niagara (Niagara Falls, Ontario), Grand (Tunica), Gold Strike (Tunica), Ballys (Tunica), Sheraton (Tunica), Isle of Capri (Tunica), Hollywood (Tunica), Harrah's (Tunica)

Table 4 Harrah's, Circus Circus

Table 5 Flamingo Hilton

Table 6 Imperial Palace, Horseshoe (Tunica)

To calculate an exact payback use the following formulas where j equals the jackpot meter:

Table 1: (598,600 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

Table 2: (723,400 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

Table 3: (941,800 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

Table 4: (1,256,700 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

Table 5: (848,200 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

Table 6: (1,069,500 + 7.6 * j) / 2,598,960

The next table shows what the jackpot level would have to be for various rates of return in caribbean stud poker. For example to have a break even chance at the side bet at a casino with caribbean stud poker payoff table 1 the meter would have to be at least $263,205. One visit to a casino should illustrate the typical caribbean stud poker jackpot levels are extremely far from the break-even point and hopefully will convince you to avoid this bet.

The caribbean stud poker Progressive Jackpot Side Bet

Average Return Jackpot Meter

The caribbean stud poker house edge will depend directly on the progressive meter at any given moment. However over the long haul the casino will enjoy a healthy house edge from the caribbean stud poker side bet. It is typical for the casino to put about 70% to 75% of money bet in the caribbean stud poker jackpot meter and hold onto the rest. Every casino I have asked reseeds the jackpot meter with either $10,000 or $20,000 after somebody hits a caribbean stud poker royal flush which will cost 1.539% of money bet per $10,000 the meter is reseeded with. So the caribbean stud poker house edge will be 1.539% or 3.078% less than whatever cut it keeps for every dollar bet. At the Casino Niagara for example where they keep 29% the house edge will be 27.461%!

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