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Caribbean Stud vs. 5-Card Stud Poker

Home » Guides » Caribbean Stud vs. 5-Card Stud Poker

Caribbean Stud vs. 5-Card Stud Poker

Poker cards with three of a kind or set combination

The world of poker is a diverse one, and Caribbean stud and 5-card stud poker are two sides of the same coin. As a new or seasoned player, whether you play online poker or compete in tournaments, you’ll probably have encountered one or both games before. Both share traditional poker’s fundamental roots but differ in gameplay, player dynamics, and strategies.

These two variants sometimes spark controversies among poker game lovers about which is the most interesting. Although widely played at many poker tournaments, they have distinct gameplay and features. Learn more about the similarities and differences between these two poker variants, including their distinct rules, gameplay, and strategies.

What Is Caribbean Stud Poker?

Unlike regular poker, Caribbean stud poker is played against the dealer. The game aims to beat the dealer with the best poker hand. It uses hand rankings, a deck of 52 cards, bets, and players willing to play. It’s easy to understand and arguably one of the best poker variations online.

What Is 5-Card Stud Poker?

In contrast, 5-card stud poker is played against other players. Like Caribbean stud poker, the game’s objective is to make the best possible hand. However, it doesn’t have some features, like a community card. Instead, each player gets their cards and tries to make the best five combinations.

Comparing Caribbean Stud to 5-Card Stud Poker Gameplay

While each shares similarities, Caribbean stud poker rules differ from 5-card stud poker rules. How do you play 5-card stud poker and Caribbean stud poker? Below is a breakdown of how they are played each step of the way and how they differ.


Both games start with placing an initial bet before commencing the game. This is called the ante bet, which is usually a standard amount all players interested in that round must put in the pot.


Stud poker game with straight combination, chips, and cards on a green poker table

In Caribbean stud poker, the dealer deals five cards face-down to each player, which are visible to them alone. The dealer also deals themself five cards with one card face-up for all the players to see. 

With 5-card stud poker, each player is dealt two cards, each with one face-down while the other is face-up, visible to all players at the table.

Player Decision

At this point in Caribbean stud, every player must make a quick decision after looking at their cards. They can choose to either fold or raise. When a player folds, they lose their ante and are eliminated from the current hand. However, if they choose to raise, they must place an additional stake (often double the ante) to the table.

In this regard, 5-card stud is very different. The player with the lowest-ranking card will be the first to place an additional bet called the bring-in bet. This is if they choose to continue the hand. This is an obligatory opening wager. Players who wish to stay in the hand must also place bets. This is also the time when a player can choose to fold.

Once this is done, the dealer offers each player another round of face-up cards. Another round of betting happens, where players can either call, fold or raise. This continues until all players are dealt five cards each. 

The Reveal

Once it gets to this stage in Caribbean stud poker, the dealer reveals their four face-down cards to show their five cards. Players must also reveal their cards to show if they have a better hand ranking. At this point, there is something called the dealer qualification.

To qualify, the dealer must hold an ace-king or higher hand. If the dealer does not qualify, each player will receive even money on their ante bet, and the raise bet is returned as a push. If the dealer qualifies, the player’s and dealer’s hands are compared. If the player has a higher-ranking hand than the dealer, they win even money on the ante and a payout on the raise based on a paytable. If the dealer has a higher-ranking hand, the player loses both the ante and the raise. In the case of a tie (both the player and dealer have the same hand), the ante and raise bets are returned as a push.

Some Caribbean stud poker games feature a progressive jackpot. Players can choose to place an additional side bet to participate in the jackpot, which can lead to significant winnings for certain hands.

In 5-card stud poker, the reveal is different. A showdown occurs if two or more players remain after the final betting round. Players reveal their five-card hand, starting with the last player to bet or raise. The player with the best hand wins the pot. 

Caribbean Stud vs. 5-Card Stud Poker Hand Rankings

Interestingly, both Caribbean stud and 5-card stud poker share the same hand rankings as most popular poker variations. Below is a breakdown of each hand ranking. 

  • High card: The top card in a player’s hand will determine the winner if no one has one of the winning hands listed above.
  • One pair: One set of a pair.
  • Two pair: Two sets of pairs.
  • Three of a kind: Three cards of similar rank.
  • Straight: Five cards of different suits, all in sequence.
  • Flush: Five cards of the same suit, in no particular order.
  • Full house: Three cards in a row of one rank and two cards of another rank.
  • Four of a kind: Four cards in a row of similar rank.
  • Straight flush: Five in a row of the same suit that isn’t a royal flush.
  • Royal flush: 10, jack, queen, king, and ace of the same suit.

Comparing Caribbean Stud and 5-Card Stud Poker Strategies

A man in a hat plays stud poker

Caribbean stud poker strategy differs from that of 5-card stud poker as the games themselves are very distinct from one another. Knowing hand rankings and being aware of the in-game context are critical skills in both games. 

Caribbean Stud Poker Strategies

  • Bet more if your hand has a pair, a high card, or better.
  • You should consider folding if your hand is weak (no pairs or better). The dealer must have an ace-king or higher for your raise bet to be active.
  • Your option to raise or fold depends on the dealer’s upcard. Raise the bet if your five-card hand is better than the dealer’s upcard.

5-Card Stud Poker Strategies

  • Information is given gradually in 5-card stud. Keep an eye on the cards your opponents are showing to you so you can gauge how strong their hands are.
  • Place bets based on your opponents’ upcards. You should bet or raise with a powerful upcard and check or call with a weak one.
  • In 5-card stud, bluffing can be a winning strategy if your upcard indicates that you have a solid hand. However, it’s essential to remember the strategies and tactics used by your opponents.

Play the Best Poker Games at BetMGM

Caribbean stud poker is a casino game played against the house, emphasizing the decision to fold or continue based on the original hand and the dealer’s upcard. Conversely, 5-card stud poker is a classic player-versus-player game with many betting rounds and no dealer involvement. The dynamics of each game are distinct, and they each have their own set of potential fans.

Register at BetMGM to access Caribbean stud and 5-card stud poker, as well as other table games that provide exciting gambling experiences. BetMGM also offers thrilling live dealer casino games if you’re looking to add an interactive element to your gaming.

Find out everything you need to know about Caribbean stud and 5-card stud poker, including how they differ, their similarities, and exciting strategies.