Playing Caribbean Stud Live

Caribbean Stud TableCaribbean Stud Poker is a casino table game that’s very popular around the world. In the US, no doubt Atlantic City is the most popular place to the game. Other areas where it is popular include Aruba (where it was invented), London England, Melbourne Australia, Dominican Republic, and much of the Caribbean. The game can be found sparingly in other popular casino destinations such as Macau, and… there is even some casinos that host the game in Goa India.

My own personal experience playing the game live is vast. I first played on a cruise ship in 1997 but it wasn’t until a few years later at Southeastern Connecticut casinos Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods that I got really into it. Since, I’ve played it in dozens of casinos across the United States and just recently in Macau China. Below are recent trip reports from Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Macau.

Recent Trip Reports

Atlantic City – Atlantic City is always one of my favorite gambling hot spots and I make it out here each February for the Borgata Winter Open. For 2013, the only difference from the previous year worth reporting is the tables have been moved to new locations. However, with Atlantic City being one of a few places in the world where full pits of Caribbean Stud exist, no matter where they place the tables, these are never difficult to find.

Las Vegas – In December 2011 I discovered my favorite Las Vegas casino Planet Hollywood is no longer offering Caribbean Stud. However, I was quickly pointed a short distance away to the Venetian where I found the game offered with a new side-bet involving Lucky Dealer, Lucky Player, and Magic Card. Be sure to click the above link to learn about this new side bet.

Macau – I’m not sure how many Macau casinos offer this game as I had visited a few times to play tournament poker at PokerStars Macau and hadn’t come across it. This changed however in November 2011 when I spotted a table just outside the Wynn Poker Room. In case you’re not aware min table stakes are higher in Macau casinos than they are in the US. Here the table stakes were $200 HKD min ante bet and the progressive bonus cost $25 HKD to play. Converting these to US terms, this equates to about a $26 US ante bet (so $78.00 US with the play bet) and a progressive side bet of $3.25 US equivalent as opposed to the $1.00 one most of us are used to. After going back again for an APPT event in 2013 I found tables in the Galaxy, Venetian, Grand Lisboa and the Wynn, so I assume it is spread in the majority of properties now.

Tips for First Time Players

When you enter a live casino Caribbean Stud is rarely difficult to spot. These games typically have a sign above the table and each has a digitally displayed progressive jackpot ticker connected to it. The sum is usually an amount sure to induce daydreams and make mouths water with the thoughts of “what if”. If the casino has a poker room, you’ll generally find this game strategically placed outside of it. In other cases just stroll the pits and it shouldn’t be hard to spot.

Buying Chips
Once you have found the table and have taken a seat, the first thing that you should do is place the amount that you would like to buy in for on the table. The dealer cannot take the money out of your hand. You should also give the dealer your player’s card so that your play can be rated. As your play is rated, you will be earning comps. Comps include free food, free hotel, and other free casino services. If you forgot your player’s card, or have never had one at that casino, you can give the floor man your driver’s license or passport and they can make you one right there at the table.

Placing Your Bets
Before the hand starts, you’ll need to place a bet on the ante and the optional jackpot bonus bet. The point of playing the game is to hit the progressive bonus so not betting this would defeat the purpose of playing the game for most players. At some casinos there is a red disk to place you jackpot bonus bet on, in others there is a drop slot, or even a digital display used to place the bet. Just watch what other players are doing and you should have no problem placing your progressive bonus bet.

Game Play
After betting is closed, each player receives five cards dealt face down. The dealer also receives five cards one of which is face up. If your hand cannot match or beat A-K-J-8-3 the correct strategy is to fold. To do this just toss you cards down on the table face down and the dealer will take your ante bet and bonus bet and you’re done for the hand. If you have a hand that can beat or A-K-J-8-2 you’ll want to play (often called raise) and this requires a bet double the size of your ante. If you ante is $10, place $20 behind it, for a total of $30 wagered. From here all you need to do is sit back and watch. The dealer will pay you or take your bets based on the appropriate pay table – see this page covering the rules for more details.

Leaving the Table
When you decide you’re ready to quit, it is customary to color up your chips. To do this stack your chips about 20-30 high and push them forward to a spot the dealer can reach them and when the dealer looks your way say “color up”. The dealer will then take all your smaller chips and give you larger chips. This makes it easier for you to cash out and also helps keep the dealer’s chip tray full of change. It is customary to tip the dealer as well. For Caribbean Stud, it is often better to tip at the end. A good standard would be $5 for every hour at the table, or 5% of a win, whichever is bigger. To tip just leave the chips in the dealers reach, say “for you” and walkaway.

Playing Caribbean Stud Poker live might feel intimidating at first; however you’ll soon realize it is not much different than when you play the game online. Getting the hang of the live play differences will not take long at all. With that this concludes my article, and from one Caribbean Stud Poker fan to another, I wish you the best of luck!