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Oasis Poker

Caribbean Stud has a huge following among gamblers, as the combination of strategic play and a great jackpot bonus bet give it a little something for every kind of player. However, the game can get a little repetitive: unless you are obsessed with trying to play to perfection on every hand, the basic strategy is pretty straightforward.

That’s where Oasis Poker comes in. This variation on the theme adds a discard round to the mix, complicating matters while also giving players a better chance of winning each hand. However, the option to improve your odds does come with a price – one that can be costly if you want a lot of new cards.

How to Play

At the beginning of each hand, the player must make an ante bet. They also have the option of making a bonus bet, a side wager we’ll talk about more below. The player and dealer are then each dealt five cards. The player may examine their own cards, but only one of the dealer’s cards is face up, while the rest are face down.

The main difference between Oasis Poker and Caribbean Stud comes at this point. The player now has the option to discard any number of cards and have them replaced by new cards in the deck in an attempt to improve their hand (if you know your table games then you might notice a slight similarity with Caribbean Draw Poker). However, the player must pay for this switch, with the cost varying depending on how many cards they wish to exchange. Of course, the player may also choose not to make an exchange at all. The costs of switching are as follows:

  • One Card: Equal to the Ante Bet
  • Two Cards: 2x Ante Bet
  • Three Cards: 3x Ante Bet
  • Four Cards: 2x Ante Bet
  • Five Cards: Equal to the Ante Bet

After the player exchanges cards (or chooses not to), they must then decide to raise or fold (if all five cards were switched, then the player must raise). If the player folds, they forfeit their ante bet and the hand ends immediately. If they raise, they must make a raise bet of twice the size of the ante bet.

Once the player has raised, the dealer’s hand will be revealed. In order to make a qualifying hand, the dealer must have at least ace-king high. If the dealer fails to qualify, then the player wins even money on their ante bet, and the raise bet pushes.

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Oasis Poker

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If the dealer qualifies, the two hands are compared. If the dealer has the better hand, then all player bets lose. On a tie, all bets push. If the player wins, then they win even money on their ante bet, and win money on the raise bet based on the strength of their hand. Pay tables for this bet can vary, but a typical one looks like this:

  • Royal Flush: 100-1
  • Straight Flush: 50-1
  • Four of a King: 20-1
  • Full House: 7-1
  • Flush: 5-1
  • Straight: 4-1
  • Three of a Kind: 3-1
  • Two Pair: 2-1
  • One Pair or Less: 1-1

Many versions of this game also offer a jackpot progressive side bet that is based solely on the strength of the player’s hand, and usually only the initial five cards, before the player makes any switches. This bet also has various pay tables at different casinos, but one common pay table offers the following odds:

    Royal Flush: 100% of Progressive Jackpot

    Straight Flush: 10% of Progressive Jackpot

    Four of a Kind: $100

    Full House: $75

    Flush: $50

Strategy

There are two parts to Oasis Poker strategy: first, the decisions of how many cards you should switch, and then deciding whether or not you should raise on your final hand.

We have yet to see a comprehensive discard strategy for this game, but there are some general tips that can get you pretty close to the optimal strategy. First, you should never be exchanging more than one card under any circumstances. Even then, switching is fairly rare. You should always exchange cards if you have four to a straight flush or royal flush, even if you must break up a pair to do so. If you don’t have a pair, you should also discard a card to draw to a flush or an open-ended straight. If is also sometimes correct to draw a card when you have four to a flush with a low pair, or four to an inside straight without a pair, though these decisions are very situation-dependent.

Once you have your final hand, you should be raising whenever you have at least a pair, and folding when you do not have at least ace-king high. When you have exactly ace-king and three other unpaired cards, you can only make some very minor mistakes, and playing perfectly is very complex and difficult. However, one very simple strategy that comes close to optimal is simply raising in these situations if any of your cards match the rank of the dealer’s up card. In other words, if the dealer is showing a jack, and you also have a jack, then you should raise.

Why Play This Game?

Oasis Poker is a great game for those who want to play a slightly more complicated version of Caribbean Stud. The same progressive jackpot is available, and the basic flow of the game is identical. But the addition of a discard round makes this game take on a bit of a video poker machine feel. It’s not a revolutionary change to the game, but it is enough of a variation to make it an interesting new take on a casino classic.

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