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Best of John Grochowski

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A simple strategy for Caribbean Stud

23 February 2017

QUESTION: You never write about Caribbean Stud anymore. Why is that? Also, can you give a strategy for when to bet and when to fold? I mainly play blackjack, but as a second game I like Caribbean Stud when I can find it.

ANSWER: Your last phrase, “when I can find it,” is the main reason I rarely write about Caribbean Stud. It’s not as popular as it once was and the number of casinos offering it has declined. Its place as the most popular poker-based game in the main table pits has been taken by Three Card Poker, followed by Mississippi Stud and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.

The easy play version of Caribbean Stud strategy is to make the bet of twice your ante whenever you have any pair, or ace-king-jack-8-3 or better. With that strategy, Caribbean Stud has a house edge of about 5.32% of your ante.

You can reduce the house edge to 5.23% of the ante with a more nuanced strategy.

1. Bet with any pair.
2. Bet with ace-king provided one of your other three cards matches the dealer’s face-up card.
3. Bet with ace-king-queen or ace-king-jack if any of your five cards matches the dealer’s up card.
4. Bet with ace-king-queen if your next highest card outranks the dealer’s up card.

Let’s look at a few examples.

If you have ace-king with no pairs, no other face cards and the dealer has an ace up, you would fold because the dealer up card does not match one of your other three. However, if you have ace-king-8 and the dealer has an 8 up, you would bet.

However, if you have a queen or jack to go with your ace-king and the dealer has an ace up, then you would bet under strategy line 3.

Also, if you have ace-king-8, no pairs and no other face cards and the dealer shows a 7, you would fold. However, if you have ace-king-queen-8 and the dealer shows a 7, you would bet under strategy line 4. You need both to have the queen to go with ace-king and for your fourth highest card to outrank the dealer’s up card.


QUESTION: Do all slot reels on the same game have to be the same? On a video game, if I know one video reel is 100 symbols long before it comes around again and has one of the highest-paying symbol, does that mean the others have to have one of that symbol too? Can they have two or three or none?

ANSWER: The reels don’t have to be the same. You can see that in games that have bonus trigger symbols only on reels 1, 3 and 5, for example. Clearly, those three reels are different than the other two.

Video slots can have different quantities of each symbol on different reels. However, all payoffs advertised must be available. If the pay table for a five-reel video game shows a jackpot for five exploding star symbols, for example, then programming a reel with no exploding stars is not an option. That would make the advertised five shooting star payoff impossible, and that’s illegal.
Outside those constraints, game designers are free to vary the frequency of symbols.

If the gamemaker wants players to get frequent payoffs for three shooting stars but make the five-star combo rare to make big payoffs possible, then it can use more star symbols on reels 1, 2 and 3 and fewer star symbols on reels 4 and/or 5.
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski