Live dealer Caribbean Stud Poker is the first game release to come out of the partnership between Evolution Gaming and Games Marketing; a partnership which will see more live poker variations popping up in the future (Ultimate Texas Hold’em is expected later this year).
Only months since launch, Caribbean Stud Poker is proving a hit with players (particularly Unclefester who seems to be on the receiving end of regular 4 of a kind hands), so let’s have a closer look at it to see what the fuss is all about.
The first thing regular players at Evolution casinos will notice when they launch this game is the new UI. Different dimensions (wider), and a fuller focus on the table and dealer.
Buttons and calls to action (betting chips etc) are more subtly placed now, or only appear when necessary. Very clean, very intuitive and video resolution’s gone up another notch.
Playing Caribbean Stud Poker
The aim of the game is pretty simple. Beat the dealer’s 5 card poker hand. The game is dealt from a single, auto-shuffled 52 card deck (no jokers).
To begin, place an Ante bet.
Once you have placed your Ante bet, the optional 5+1 Bonus side bet becomes available. More on the 5+1 Bonus side bet below.
Five cards are dealt face up for the players (this is a ‘one to many’ game). The dealer also takes 5 cards but only one of them is revealed face up.
At this point you can Fold, and forfeit your Ante bet, or remain in the game by placing a Call bet (2x Ante).
The dealer’s 5 card hand is then revealed…
Whether you win, and how much you win depends in the first instance on whether the dealer qualifies (dealer qualifies with a hand of Ace & King or better), and then who has the best poker hand.
If the dealer’s hand does not qualify…
You win even money on your Ante bet (even if the player hand is worse than the dealer’s) and the Call bet is returned (ie pushed).
If the dealer’s hand does qualify…
Winning hand is determined using standard poker hand rankings:
1. Royal Flush
2. Straight Flush
3. Four of a Kind
4. Full House
5. Three of a Kind
6. Two Pairs
8. Highest Card
If the dealer’s hand wins, Ante, and Call bets are lost.
If the player’s hand wins, you receive even money on the Ante bet and and a payout on the Call bet according to quality of the winning hand, in accordance with the below pay table:
The 5+1 Bonus side bet
The above table also sets out payouts for the optional 5+1 Bonus side bet.
For the 5+1 Bonus, the 5 player cards and 1 dealer up-card are combined to make the best possible poker hand, with payouts of up to 1000:1 for a Royal Flush.
If you place a 5+1 Bonus bet it remains in play irrespective of your Call/Fold decision, or who wins the hand.
Theoretical return to player rates
As they now do for all their games, Evolution publish the RTP rate for this game.
The optimal theoretical return-to-player percentage on Ante & Call bets is 98.19%. Note, there is a skill element to this bet (making the correct Call or Fold decision based on presented cards). The more you get it wrong, the more your return will deviate (on the downside) from this theoretical rate.
The optimal theoretical return-to-player percentage for 5+1 BONUS bet is 91.44%. All luck and no skill here and is is normally the case with the pure-luck play, a bigger house edge.