Very similar to five-card stud, Caribbean stud poker is a casino table game whose popularity is on par with other huge card games like blackjack and Texas hold’em. Though rather than competing against other players in this game, a single player actually plays against a dealer. It is important to cover these basics when discussing the topic of folding in Caribbean stud, because unlike games with live players, you will not be dealing with bluffing or any other sort of deceptive tactics. In other words, everything you know about regular poker games like Hold’em and Omaha need to be discarded when speaking about Caribbean stud. This game is unique, and knowing when to fold in this game is a topic all unto itself.
The One-Two Punch of Folding in Caribbean Stud
1: The Starting Hand
As the player, you will be dealt five cards, all facing down, while the dealer will receive four down cards, and one card facing up. You have already paid an ante to get dealt the hand, but to continue on you must bet to see who wins. What you’re looking for here is something that can potentially beat the dealer. Some quick odds suggest that one pair makes you even with the dealer, while two pair leave you 2:1 over the dealer. Three of a kind gives you 3:1 odds, and a straight gives you 4:1 with a flush giving you 5:1 odds. If you do not have a starting hand that’s at least 1:1 with the dealer, there is no reason to push more money into the pot. Your odds of beating the dealer with only a high card to start aren’t good enough to warrant a bet. So, if the hand isn’t good enough to raise, it isn’t good enough to keep. Also, if you don’t have a card in your hand that’s as high as the card the dealer’s showing, you should fold without hesitating. It should go without saying, but many players don’t pay attention to this crucial detail and still bet $1 just to see.
2: Are You Invested?
With most Caribbean stud games online, you’re going to see an option to increase your bet progressively, and to bet more after you hit “deal” once the ante is paid. Once you come into a hand and decide to bet, you can no longer fold. The cards are turned and the results are known. Unlike other poker games, or other versions of stud, you aren’t receiving more cards. You’re going up against the dealer. Therefore, you shouldn’t think in terms of “folding”; rather, you should think in terms of betting. If, for instance, you’re dealt a hand that’s looking at a pair or better, you are already invested into the hand and now the question becomes how much to bet. $1? $5? $10? Bet according to your strength. If you only have a pair, keep it low. If you have better than two pair, milk it for all it’s worth and throw out a bigger bet. The odds of the dealer beating two pair or better are very low.
In summation, the only tangible time to fold in Caribbean stud is at the beginning of the hand, before you risk placing a bet. Regardless of how you’re playing, you will have to pay an ante in order to see your cards. But if all you’re dealt is a 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, then there is no reason to bet further. This is when you fold and cut your losses. However, you capitalize on this system by maximizing your wins. For example, when you’re dealt a hand like A, A, J, 10, 10, this is when you step on the gas and throw out a big bet. One big win will negate numerous folds and still leave you looking at a profit. You want to fold when you have nothing that will best the dealer.