Caribbean Stud Poker is a variant of poker, a card game with a long and mysterious history. The word 'poker' has a tangled history all of its own; it comes from the French word 'poque', which itself is a variant on the German word 'pochen', which simply means "to knock".
Nobody really knows how or where poker began; some say that its origins lie in a 16th century Persian card game, whilst others believe that it originated in Europe at the turn of the 19th century. One thing we can be sure of is that poker was brought to North America by French explorers, and that it was originally played in Louisiana. Many accounts name New Orleans of 1830 as the place and time where modern-day poker was first played. After being initially established, the game quickly spread from Louisiana and soon became a favorite in the West.
While we don't know who specifically invented Caribbean Stud Poker, the tropical version of the game, we do know that it originated on the island of Aruba. This popular tourist destination is just off the coast of Venezuela, and boasts a population of only 100,000. Caribbean Stud Poker is based on the rules of five-card stud poker, with the major difference being that players bet against the house, rather than other players.
Caribbean Stud Poker was initially played in the Holiday Inn Hotel & Casino in 1988, where the turquoise ocean and beaches of white sand provided a fitting motive for its exotic name. Now known as the Excelsior Casino, this location is still widely popular with tourists and forms the basis of a thriving community. It has recently been the focus of attention once more, with the World Poker Tour being held there in September 2005.
In the late 1980s, Caribbean Stud Poker spread throughout the islands of the Caribbean, and it was also offered in casinos on cruise ships in the area. Over the next few years it received an ever-growing reputation until, inevitably, it arrived in Las Vegas in 1992.
The gambling gurus in Nevada realized that the game wasn't quite rewarding enough to the player, so they added a progressive jackpot as a sweetener. Their plan worked, and the popularity of the game skyrocketed throughout North America and Europe. Nowadays, it's hard to find a casino in the world that doesn't offer Caribbean Stud Poker, and with the arrival of Internet gambling, everybody has a chance to play.