Caribbean Stud vs Texas Holdem: Which Game Has Better Odds?

Texas Hold'em on Left and Caribbean Stud on Right

Caribbean stud and Texas Holdem are comparable in that they’re both forms of poker. Assuming you can play one game, then you should make a quicker transition to the other.

Of course, Caribbean Stud and Texas Holdem also have notable differences from each other. The former is a casino game with fixed odds. Texas Holdem sees you compete against opponents, meaning wins and losses are theoretically unlimited.

If you’re interested in playing one of these forms of poker, you might wonder which has the better odds. The following guide explains the risks associated with Caribbean stud and Holdem while also discussing which game offers superior odds.

Caribbean Stud Has Fixed Odds…for the Most Part

As mentioned before, stud is considered a fixed-odds casino game. However, your chances of winning vary based on the factors covered below.

High House Edge

The Caribbean stud house edge is no doubt high. Even with optimal strategy, its house advantage is 5.224%, which is really high for a table game.

Luckily, optimal strategy isn’t difficult to learn. You just need to raise (2x the ante) when holding the following hands while folding anything else:

  • The dealer’s upcard is 2 through queen and matches one of yours.
  • The dealer’s upcard is ace or king, and you have at least one queen or jack.
  • The dealer’s upcard doesn’t match any of your cards, you hold a queen, and the dealer’s upcard ranks worse than your fourth-highest card.
  • Fold in all other situations.

As you’ll find below, the house advantage isn’t quite what it seems. On the surface, though, Caribbean stud seems like one of the worst-paying casino games.

Focus on Element of Risk

The 5.24% house edge covered above only relates to the initial ante. It doesn’t, however, account for a potential raise.

As you may know, Caribbean stud involves a second betting round. Assuming you use the optimal strategy during this portion, then you’ll lower what’s known as the element of risk.

A term coined by gambling expert Michael Shackleford, element of risk refers to the house edge when accounting for multiple betting rounds.

Provided you use the perfect strategy, you’ll lower the element of risk (a.k.a. actual house edge) to 2.56%. Although still not the lowest house advantage for a table game, this figure Is much more acceptable.

Your Skill Affects the Results

As covered before, Caribbean stud strategy isn’t difficult to learn. Again, you simply need to raise in a few specific situations.

Nevertheless, you do need to know the proper strategy to reduce the house edge or rather element of risk.

Royal Flush

Some gamblers don’t bother with the strategy and instead play blind. The same players end up losing a lot more money on average.

Stakes Can Be Relatively High

Most casinos don’t offer Caribbean stud for anything less than $5 to $10. These stakes are pretty standard as far as table games go. However, they’re not flexible like with Texas Holdem.

You may be perfectly fine wagering $5 or $10 per hand. If you don’t want to gamble this amount, though, then you probably won’t be able to play in a land-based casino. Instead, you’ll have to opt for online Caribbean stud, which lets you play for $1 per hand.

Jackpot Bet Leads to Throwing Money Away

Most Caribbean stud tables offer a large progressive jackpot. This jackpot is typically the biggest draw to the game.

Some Caribbean stud jackpots can be worth $250,000 or more. Therefore, you might be tempted to place this seemingly harmless side bet.

The problem, though, is that your odds of winning the jackpot are only 1 in 649,739. You can pick up some other side payouts through this wager. From a long-term perspective, though, the jackpot bet is akin to throwing money away.

Texas Holdem Results Are Wide Open

You can see that there’s some variance in the Caribbean stud results. Texas Holdem, however, features lots of variance in the outcomes. Your skill plays a huge role in the odds of this game.

No Limit on Wins or Losses

Texas Holdem doesn’t have a house edge. The closest thing to a house advantage is the rake that poker rooms collect.

Other than the rake, your skill and your opponents’ skill have the biggest impact on results. Provided you’re a skilled player, you stand a better chance of winning profits.

Casino Table with Poker Cards and Casino Chips, Texas Holdem Text

If you can combine skill with bad opponents, then your profit potential leaps greatly. Proper game selection is a big part of finding weak opponents.

Of course, things can just as easily go the other way. You stand to lose lots of money if you’re not a good player while facing a table full of sharks.

Competition Has an Impact Too

Continuing off the above point, opponents are key to making money with Holdem. Your profit margins increase greatly when the competition is bad.

Generally speaking, you’ll find weaker players at lower stakes. The people playing anywhere from $0.01/$0.02 to $0.05/$0.10 no-limit Holdem are recreational players.

Meanwhile, better grinders are generally found in the higher stakes. You want to really work on boosting your skills before facing these types of players.

The House Collects Rake

Land-based and online poker rooms have money invested in their operations. Therefore, they want to get something in return for organizing the games. They earn their money by collecting a rake from cash games and tournaments.

The common rake for a cash game is 5% out of each pot. Standard rake for tournaments buy-ins is an additional 10% on the entry fee.

You can’t expect to beat the game simply by being better than your opponents. You also have to be good enough to beat the rake as well.

More Control Over Stakes

You can mitigate your risk to some degree by choosing the proper stakes. Lower stakes mean that you’ll risk less money on average.

As a beginning player who’s just looking to have some fun, you might want to start out with $0.01/$0.02 or $0.02/$0.04 no-limit Holdem. Neither of these limits requires you to risk too much money.

Of course, you don’t stand to win much by playing such low stakes. If you’re interested in earning serious profits, then you want to improve your skills, save an adequate bankroll, and work up the ladder

Which Game Gives You the Better Chances of Winning?

As for which of these games has better odds, the answer depends upon the factors at play. Either Caribbean stud or Texas Holdem can provide a stronger chance to win.

Regarding Caribbean stud, you want to start off by learning the simple strategy. Assuming you do everything right, then the element of risk drops to 2.56%.

On the other hand, you stand to lose more when not using proper strategy and playing higher stakes. Adding a jackpot wager to the equation only increases the risk.

Dealer Dealing Cards At a Texas Hold'em Table

Texas Holdem definitely has the most profit potential out of these games. It doesn’t carry a house edge, meaning you can gain a long-term advantage.

Your potential winnings are theoretically unlimited. You could become a great player, move up the stakes, and get rich.

The reality, though, is that most players don’t live out this fantasy. They toil away in lower stakes and never put enough time into strategy to become a great player. As a result, the average Holdem player ends up losing more money than they would with Caribbean stud.

If you’re an average gambler, then you’ll probably enjoy better odds with stud instead. You just need to use the right strategy and play reasonable stakes to boost your odds.

In Summary

No concrete answer exists for whether Holdem or Caribbean stud offers superior odds. Everything depends upon your strategy knowledge with each game along with a few other factors.

Assuming you’re just a typical gambler who wants to have fun, though, Caribbean stud provides the best shot to win. You can quickly learn the strategy and reduce the element of risk to 2.56%.

Texas Holdem can also offer fair odds, especially if you’re a knowledgeable player who chooses reasonable stakes. However, this game can also cause you to lose lots of money if you’re not careful. After all, it features complex strategy and a wide range of stakes