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Last Updated: September 11, 1999

Caribbean Stud Poker Optimal Strategy


  1. With a pair or higher, raise.
  2. With less than A/K (player has an ace and a king, plus three other singletons, excpet Q-J-10), fold.
  3. With A/K, the following table shows exactly when to stand on ace/king. Yourother three cards are along the left and the dealer's up card isalong the top. A key is after the table.

Optimal Strategy for A-K Hands

Player's other
three cards
Dealer's Up Card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 T J Q K A
Q-J-10 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-9 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-8 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-7 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-6 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-5 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-4 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-3 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
Q-J-2 R R R R R R R R R R R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-10-9 R R R R R R R R R 2 R R R
Q-10-8 R R R R R R R R R 3 R R R
Q-10-7 R R R R R R R R R 3 R R R
Q-10-6 R R R R R R R R R 4 R R R
Q-10-5 R R R R R R R R R 4 R R R
Q-10-4 R R R R R R R R R 4 R R R
Q-10-3 R R R R R R R R R 4 R R R
Q-10-2 R R R R 1 1 R R R 4 R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-9-8 R R R R R R R R F 3 R R R
Q-9-7 R R R R R R R R F 3 R R R
Q-9-6 R R R R R R R R F 4 R R R
Q-9-5 R R R R R R R R F 4 R R R
Q-9-4 R R R R R R R R F 4 R R R
Q-9-3 R R R R 1 1 R R F 4 R R R
Q-9-2 R R R 1 1 1 R R F 4 R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-8-7 R R R R R R R F F 3* R R R
Q-8-6 R R R R R R R F F 4 R R R
Q-8-5 R R R R 1 1 R F F 4 R R R
Q-8-4 R R R 1 1 1 R F F 4 R R R
Q-8-3 R R R 1 1 1 R F F 4 R R R
Q-8-2 R R R 1 2 2 R F F 4 R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-7-6 R R R 1 R R F F F F R R R
Q-7-5 R R R R 1 R F F F F R R R
Q-7-4 R R R 1 2 R F F F F R R R
Q-7-3 R R 1 2 2 R F F F F R R R
Q-7-2 R R 1 2 2* R F F F F R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-6-5 R R R R R F F F F F R R R
Q-6-4 R R R 2 R F F F F F R R R
Q-6-3 R R 1 3 R F F F F F R R R
Q-6-2 R R 1* 3 R F F F F F R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-5-4 R R R R F F F F F F R R R
Q-5-3 R R 2 R F F F F F F R R R
Q-5-2 R 1 2* R F F F F F F R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-4-3 R R R F F F F F F F R R R
Q-4-2 R 2 R F F F F F F F R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
Q-3-2 R R F F F F F F F F R R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-10-9 F F F F F F F R R R F R R
J-10-8 F F F F F F R F R R F R R
J-10-7 F F F F F R F F R R F R R
J-10-6 F F F F R F F F R R F R R
J-10-5 F F F R F F F F R R F R R
J-10-4 F F R F F F F F R R F R R
J-10-3 F R F F F F F F R R F R R
J-10-2 R F F F F F F F R R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-9-8 F F F F F F R R F R F R R
J-9-7 F F F F F R F R F R F R R
J-9-6 F F F F R F F R F R F R R
J-9-5 F F F R F F F R F R F R R
J-9-4 F F R F F F F R F R F R R
J-9-3 F R F F F F F R F R F R R
J-9-2 R F F F F F F R F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-8-7 F F F F F R R F F R F R R
J-8-6 F F F F R F R F F R F R R
J-8-5 F F F R F F R F F R F R R
J-8-4 F F R F F F R F F R F R R
J-8-3 F R F F F F R F F R F R R
J-8-2 R F F F F F R F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-7-6 F F F F R R F F F R F R R
J-7-5 F F F R F R F F F R F R R
J-7-4 F F R F F R F F F R F R R
J-7-3 F R F F F R F F F R F R R
J-7-2 R F F F F R F F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-6-5 F F F R R F F F F R F R R
J-6-4 F F R F R F F F F R F R R
J-6-3 F R F F R F F F F R F R R
J-6-2 R F F F R F F F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-5-4 F F R R F F F F F R F R R
J-5-3 F R F R F F F F F R F R R
J-5-2 R F F R F F F F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-4-3 F R R F F F F F F R F R R
J-4-2 R F R F F F F F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
J-3-2 R R F F F F F F F R F R R
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-9-8 F F F F F F R R R F F F F
10-9-7 F F F F F R F R R F F F F
10-9-6 F F F F R F F R R F F F F
10-9-5 F F F R F F F R R F F F F
10-9-4 F F R F F F F R R F F F F
10-9-3 F R F F F F F R R F F F F
10-9-2 R F F F F F F R R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-8-7 F F F F F R R F R F F F F
10-8-6 F F F F R F R F R F F F F
10-8-5 F F F R F F R F R F F F F
10-8-4 F F R F F F R F R F F F F
10-8-3 F R F F F F R F R F F F F
10-8-2 R F F F F F R F R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-7-6 F F F F R R F F R F F F F
10-7-5 F F F R F R F F R F F F F
10-7-4 F F R F F R F F R F F F F
10-7-3 F R F F F R F F R F F F F
10-7-2 R F F F F R F F R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-6-5 F F F R R F F F R F F F F
10-6-4 F F R F R F F F R F F F F
10-6-3 F R F F R F F F R F F F F
10-6-2 R F F F R F F F R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-5-4 F F R R F F F F R F F F F
10-5-3 F R F R F F F F R F F F F
10-5-2 R F F R F F F F R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-4-3 F R R F F F F F R F F F F
10-4-2 R F R F F F F F R F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
10-3-2 R R F F F F F F 1* F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-8-7 F F F F F R R R F F F F F
9-8-6 F F F F R F R R F F F F F
9-8-5 F F F R F F R R F F F F F
9-8-4 F F R F F F R R F F F F F
9-8-3 F R F F F F R R F F F F F
9-8-2 R F F F F F R R F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-7-6 F F F F R R F R F F F F F
9-7-5 F F F R F R F R F F F F F
9-7-4 F F R F F R F R F F F F F
9-7-3 F R F F F R F R F F F F F
9-7-2 R F F F F R F R F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-6-5 F F F R R F F R F F F F F
9-6-4 F F R F R F F R F F F F F
9-6-3 F R F F R F F R F F F F F
9-6-2 R F F F R F F R F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-5-4 F F R R F F F R F F F F F
9-5-3 F R F R F F F R F F F F F
9-5-2 R F F R F F F R F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-4-3 F R R F F F F 1 F F F F F
9-4-2 R F R F F F F 2 F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
9-3-2 R R F F F F F 4 F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
8-7-6 F F F F R R R F F F F F F
8-7-5 F F F R F R R F F F F F F
8-7-4 F F R F F R R F F F F F F
8-7-3 F R F F F R R F F F F F F
8-7-2 R F F F F R R F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
8-6-5 F F F R R F R F F F F F F
8-6-4 F F R F R F R F F F F F F
8-6-3 F R F F R F R F F F F F F
8-6-2 R F F F R F R F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
8-5-4 F F R R F F R F F F F F F
8-5-3 F R F R F F R F F F F F F
8-5-2 R F F R F F R F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
8-4-3 F R R F F F 1 F F F F F F
8-4-2 R F R F F F 2 F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
8-3-2 R R F F F F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
7-6-5 F F F R R R F F F F F F F
7-6-4 F F R F R R F F F F F F F
7-6-3 F R F F R R F F F F F F F
7-6-2 R F F F R R F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
7-5-4 F F R R F R F F F F F F F
7-5-3 F R F R F R F F F F F F F
7-5-2 R F F R F R F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
7-4-3 F R R F F R F F F F F F F
7-4-2 R F R F F 1* F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
7-3-2 R R F F F 4 F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
6-5-4 F F R R R F F F F F F F F
6-5-3 F R F R R F F F F F F F F
6-5-2 R F F R R F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
6-4-3 F R R F R F F F F F F F F
6-4-2 R F R F 1 F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
6-3-2 R R F F 2* F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
5-4-3 F R R R F F F F F F F F F
5-4-2 R F R R F F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
5-3-2 R R F 1 F F F F F F F F F
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 J Q K A
4-3-2 R R R F F F F F F F F F F

 

Key to table:

R Always raise.
1 Raise if the suit of dealer's card matches the suit of one or more of your cards.
2 Raise if the suit of dealer's card matches the suit of two or more of your cards.
3 Raise if the suit of dealer's card matches the suit of three or more of your cards.
4 Raise if the suit of dealer's card matches the suit of four of your cards.
F Always fold

Footnotes:
*: Extremely borderline play. Correct strategy depends not only on the number of suited cards but which ones are suited. See table below for how to play these situations.

Borderline Hands

Player's
Up card Suited
cards
Raise on the following suited card(s)
A/K/Q/5/2 4 2 A/K, A/Q, A/5, A/2, K/Q, K/5, K/2
A/K/Q/6/2 4 1 A, K
A/K/6/3/2 6 2 3/2
A/K/Q/7/2 6 2 A/K, A/Q, A/7, A/2, K/Q, K/7, K/2
A/K/7/4/2 7 1 4, 2
A/K/10/3/2 10 1 3, 2
A/K/Q/8/7 J 3 A/K/Q, A/K/8, A/K/7, A/Q/8, A/Q/7, A/8/7, K/Q/8, K/Q/7, K/8/7

I would like to thank Stanly Ko and Professor John M. Gwynn, Jr. foralerting me to these borderline plays.


Go back to Caribbean Stud Poker.

Michael Shackleford, ASA