How to play Caribbean Hold’em
What’s like Poker but also like Blackjack and maybe even a little like Baccarat too? No, it’s not the entire table games section of an online casino (but good try though). In fact it’s just one game – Caribbean Hold’em!
So what exactly is Caribbean Hold’em? Is it sunny skies, golden beaches and delicious rum drinks? Well, if you’re willing to provide those elements yourself then it totally can be! However what Caribbean Hold’em actually is, is a card game similar to Texas Hold’em that requires the skill of Blackjack, the guts of Baccarat and delivers action-packed thrills as a result! Are you ready to take a trip to the Caribbean? Then hop in and let’s go for a winning ride!
Introducing Caribbean Hold’em
If you haven’t heard of Caribbean Hold’em before, you’re not alone – traditional games like Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Hi/Lo are generally more familiar to Poker players, while casino players usually have minimal exposure to more exotic Poker varieties outside the norm. Don’t let that stop you from trying something new though – because with its fast-paced format, Caribbean Hold’em could soon become your new favourite game!
So let’s take a look at what Caribbean Hold’em actually is. Essentially it’s a form of Hold’em, with the same two cards per player, and the same five community cards laid out in the middle of the Poker table. The difference here is that you aren’t playing against other players, as you would be in regular Poker. Instead, you’re playing against the dealer – which is where the Blackjack aspect of the game comes in. A little bit of Poker, a little bit of Blackjack, and a whole lot of gaming excitement!
The history of Caribbean Hold’em
Believe it or not, Caribbean Hold’em is actually one of three Caribbean-style Poker games – the other two being Caribbean Draw and Caribbean Stud Poker. In fact, it was the latter that gave the series of games its name, with Caribbean Stud Poker first being played aboard a cruise ship on its way to Aruba.
What makes the Caribbean Poker games so appealing is their single opponent format, as opposed to a more traditional multi-player game. No matter which Caribbean variety you play, it’s just you against the dealer in a battle of skill and wits. And if you’re playing Caribbean Hold’em, you’ll have some fun Texas Hold’em elements to enjoy at the same time, making the game a winning choice all round!
How to play Caribbean Hold’em
If you already know how to play Texas Hold’em, you’re ahead of the game when it comes to playing the Caribbean version. The aim of the game is exactly the same as you’re used to – making up the best hand of cards possible from the two hole cards dealt to you, and the five community cards in the centre of the table.
Where you may find differences to Texas Hold’em is in the order of play, and the table itself – which in Caribbean Hold’em resembles more a Blackjack table than a Poker one, given its dealer-centric nature. You’ll have betting squares in front of you, space for your hand, space for the dealer’s hand, and a designated area for the community cards too. Ready? Then let’s get started!
First off, you’ll need to place an ante bet to start the game. This can be any amount you choose – provided, of course, that your bankroll can support it.
As soon as you’ve placed your ante bet, the dealer will deal you two cards face up (your hole cards), and deal themselves two cards face down.
Once you both have your cards, the dealer will deal three community cards (known as the flop) into the designated space on the table.
Now it’s time for you to start making some decisions. Taking your two hole cards and the flop into consideration, what do you want to do? If you feel your hand isn’t up to the task, you can choose to fold and forfeit your ante bet. Or if you feel your hand is a strong one, you can call (by placing another bet twice the amount of your ante bet) in order to see the next two community cards and continue with the game.
If you choose to fold, the dealer will win, the game will be over, and you can play again. If you choose to call, the remaining two community cards will be dealt face up, and your best five-card poker hand will go up against the dealer’s to determine the winner. It’s similar to betting on the Player or Banker hand in Baccarat, except here you’re betting on your own hand every time – and hoping it’ll turn out to be a winner!
How Caribbean Hold’em pays out
While Caribbean Hold’em uses the same card rankings as regular Poker (e.g. four of a kind beats a flush), there is a unique scoring system in play as well, in order for a winner to be chosen:
The dealer’s hand must include at least a pair of fours in order to qualify. If it does not, the ante bet will pay out 1:1, and the call bet will be tied (known as a push).
If the dealer’s hand does qualify, one of three outcomes will take place:
If the dealer’s hand ranks higher than yours, you will lose both your ante and call bets.
If your hand beats the dealer’s, your call bet will pay out 1:1, while your ante bet will be paid out according to your casino’s particular pay table.
If there is a tie, both the ante and call bets will push.
Caribbean Hold’em isn’t done paying out though – as there’s a progressive side bet you can choose to play as well. Place this bet before you click the ‘Deal’ button to start the game, and if your initial five-card hand is strong enough (after the first three community cards have been dealt), you could win a huge progressive jackpot! Bear in mind though that playing the progressive side bet will increase the house edge from 2.16% to 6%, which could decrease your winning chances over time – so it’s best to think about the impact of this before you actually place a bet.
Now that you’ve learned the basics of Caribbean Hold’em, it’s time you started putting that theory into practice! Play a few games for free first to get the hang of it, then try your luck against the dealer in a real money game and see how you do.