Poker itself is a game with significant history. It is believed the game officially developed back as early as the 19th Century; however it’s dawning is thought to stem back to a much earlier date when simpler disciplines existed. Today, poker has evolved into numerous variants with differing rules and formats. There are so many different forms of the game in existence that it would be near impossible to name them all.
One of the newest variations that has become extremely popular is Caribbean Stud. According to popular Caribbean Stud history, it is believed the game originated in Aruba, an island in the Caribbean some time in the 1980s. Some stories state the game was officially discovered after it was found being played on a cruise ship that was sailing to Aruba. Other conflicting stories claim the game originated in one of the resort hotels in Aruba. These reports state that the game spread to many of the other resort hotels in the Caribbean, with the most popular games being played in a Dutch hotel in Aruba called ‘The King International’ known today as the ‘Excelsior Casino’. Although we cannot be sure which version of the story is true, it is evident that Aruba and the Caribbean region in general played a significant role in the games discovery and development. After its inception in the Caribbean, the game spread quickly and was first introduced to bricks and mortar casinos in the United States in the early 1990s.
Unusually, for such a recently developed game, the person who created the game is yet to be found though several individuals have made claims they invented it. The most famous of these is renowned author and gambling expert David Sklansky who first made the claim on a famous poker forum. According to Sklansky, he invented the game in 1982 using the name “Casino Poker”. The rules had a small variation as the dealer had to expose 2 cards rather than one and the game had no progressive jackpot feature. Other than that, the rules and betting units were the exact same.
Due to patent laws at the time, he was unable to patent the game but instead trademarked it and gave it a trial run at Vegas World. Due to unfortunate family circumstances, he didn’t follow up on it.
However, a few years later, Sklansky claims he was approached by a poker player who knew a casino owner in Aruba. The player brought the rules to Aruba. Here, they altered Sklanskys version of the game by exposing only one hole card and adding the Caribbean Stud Progressive Jackpot feature. The game was then patented using the name Caribbean Stud Poker. Some time later, the casino owner sold the patent for over $30 million to a company called Mikohn. To do this day, there is still ongoing controversy about the patent and David Sklansky himself had to make a deposition about it in the early ’00s.
Another person who made a less interesting claim to its invention is Dennis King, a hotel and entertainment tycoon who once owned a hotel in Aruba.
Unfortunately, neither of these claims has ever been verified with hard evidence and thus the history of Caribbean Stud Poker is still enshrouded with mystery.
Caribbean poker has grown rapidly since its inception and is now one of the most popular casino games. Shortly after it was introduced to land casinos, a progressive jackpot feature was added; for an extra dollar bet, players were presented with a chance to win the jackpot. A Royal Flush would pay out 100% of the jackpot. A straight flush would also pay out a set percentage of the jackpot, usually 10%. This made the game more appealing to the casino players and led to its increased popularity. It is generally accepted that the game reached such high popularity due to the easy rules and the fact that players tended to find the game less stressful than normal variants of poker. This growing popularity has seen a surge in players eager to play the game.
In more recent times, Caribbean Stud has become a popular game of choice online. Online casinos weren’t in existence when the game first originated, but today online, with the speed of hands, and the higher guaranteed payouts found in online casinos, Caribbean Stud Poker has become a game that is predominantly played on the internet. Online, players are generally offered better value as a result of the higher volume of players and the resulting larger sized progressive jackpots.