How to Play Caribbean Draw Poker: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Caribbean Draw Poker is an exciting mix of Draw Poker and Caribbean Stud. Like most draw poker games, each player is given 5 cards to start and a draw phase with which to try and better their hand. However, it is akin to Caribbean Stud in regards to each player facing off only with the dealer, not each other. It’s a fun, fast paced game with a lot of profit potential for the tactful player.
Caribbean Draw Poker utilizes a single, standard deck of 52 cards and can be played by 1 to 6 players, plus the dealer. There is an optional side bet that often carries a progressive jackpot for any player who achieves a strong enough hand to earn it. You can learn more about the Caribbean Draw Poker bonus side bet at the bottom of this page. For now, let’s discuss standard game rules.
A game begins with each player placing an Ante bet within the allotted table stakes. Each player is then given 5 cards. The dealer also receives 5 cards, placing only the final card face up for all to see. After each player examines their own cards, and the dealer’s face-up card, they have a serious decision to make. They can either fold their hand and forfeit the ante bet, ending their role in the current game, or they can choose to play on by wagering a Raise bet equal to twice that of the original ante bet.
Once all players have made their decision, those who chose to raise and carry on are allowed to enter the draw phase of the hand. They may discard 0, 1 or 2 cards, but may not exceed the 2 card discard rule. Those cards are replaced with the same number of new cards to once again deliver a 5-card poker hand to each active player.
At this point, the dealer will follow a specific hand structure. If the dealer’s hand is a Straight or better, he must stand. If the dealer’s hand is lower than a straight, he is required to discard up to two cards, replaced with new cards to achieve a new 5 card hand.
Now it’s time for the showdown. What happens next depends entirely on whether the dealer’s hand “qualifies” to play. The dealer must have a hand strength of a Pair of 8’s or better to qualify.
- If the dealer’s hand does not qualify, the player automatically wins the ante bet, paid 1 to 1 even money, but the raise bet is a push, returned to the player, regardless of whether the player’s hand was stronger or weaker.
- If the dealer’s hand does qualify, and beats the player’s hand, both the ante and raise bet are lost.
- If the dealer’s hand does qualify but the player’s hand is stronger, the ante bet is paid even money, and the raise bet is paid according its strength as listed in the following pay table:
- Royal Flush Pays 100 to 1
- Straight Flush Pays 50 to 1
- Four of a Kind Pays 20 to 1
- Full House Pays 7 to 1
- Flush Pays 5 to 1
- Straight Pays 3 to 1
- Three of a Kind Pays 2 to 1
- Two Pair Pays 1 to 1
- One Pair Pays 1 to 1
The bonus side bet in Caribbean Draw Poker is entirely optional. Players who place a $1 side bet will win the corresponding amount only if one of the following hands is achieved. (Note that exact payouts may vary from one live or online casino to the next.)
- Royal Flush Pays 100% of the Progressive Jackpot
- Straight Flush Pays 10% of the Progressive Jackpot
- Four of a Kind Pays $500
- Full House Pays $100
- Flush Pays $50