Mississippi Stud is an exciting casino table game based on poker and created by Scientific Games. The game is becoming more popular in Las Vegas casinos, which in turn is seeing it spread around the world.

Casinos need to be innovative when it comes to the games they offer. Players are becoming more savvy, often choosing games with lower house edges. They’re also showing a preference for games other than the traditional table games.

Blackjack is still the most popular casino game on the planet, but even its popularity is waning. There were 3,682 blackjack tables in Las Vegas in the year 2000. These generated $1.17 billion, which was 38.6% of overall revenue.

Fastforward to 2013 and the number of blackjack units fell to 2,704. They still produced $1.09 billion in revenue, but that was only 27.5% of overall revenue.

Non-traditional games such as Mississippi Stud are being adopted by the new breed of casino player. This player type, which may describe you, is prepared to learn optimal strategies to take on the house. The house has to lower its edge for games where skill is involved. Players enjoy a lower rake, they get to play new games, and the casino continues to attract customers. Everyone wins.

How to Play Mississippi Stud

Mississippi Stud is a house-banked game that’s played against the house and not other players. Hands in Mississippi Stud aren’t compared to a dealer’s hand but against a payout table. This pays out based on the strength of the player’s hand. This makes people draw comparisons to video poker.

The game is a simple affair, although the optimal Mississippi Stud strategy is quite complicated.

Each game starts with the player paying an ante bet to buy into the game. The dealer deal two face down cards to the player and three face down community cards.

The player has two choices at this stage. Folding forfeits the ante bet and concludes the game. Raising is the second option. All raises must be at least equal to the ante bet, twice its size, or three-times the size.

The first community card (3rd street) is revealed if the player raises. Another round of betting ensues, which has to be between 1-3 times the original ante bet. The second community card (4th street) is revealed and another round of betting occurs. Finally, the third community card (5th street) is turned face up and the last round of betting happens. The player can fold on any street, forfeiting any investment they’ve made.

Prizes are awarded based on the payout table below.

A Typical Mississippi Payout Table

Hand Payout
Royal flush 500 to 1
Straight flush 100 to 1
Four of a kind 40 to 1
Full house 10 to 1
Flush 6 to 1
Straight 4 to 1
Three of a kind 3 to 1
Two pair 2 to 1
Pair of jacks or better 1 to 1
Pair of sixes through tens Push
All other hands Lose

Basic Mississippi Stud Strategy

Remember how we told you that it’s possible to bet 1, 2, or 3-times the ante bet on the community cards? You never bet two-times the ante. That’s correct, you should only ever bet one ante or the maximum, there is no in-between.

Start by assigning a numerical value to each card. Any card between six and ten is worth one point. Any jack, queen, king, or ace is worth two points. Zero points are awarded to cards lower than six.

Start by raising the maximum with any pair because you could improve to three of a kind or better. Raise the ante if your hand is worth two points. Also, raise the ante if you have a five and six of the same suit.

Betting On Third Street

Third street is where things get a little more complicated. Raise the maximum with any royal flush draw or hand that’s guaranteed to payout. Bet the maximum with any straight draw that has no gaps and the lowest card is a five, or has one gap with a high card, or two gaps with two high cards.

Make your bet one ante if you have a flush draw (three of the same suit), or a pair less than six. Also bet one ante with a hand worth three points, or a straight draw with no gaps if the lowest card is a four, or a straight draw with one gap and two mid-ranked cards. Fold all other hands.

Betting On Fourth Street

Fourth street is simpler because you have more information to hand. Bet the maximum with any made hand, a flush draw with four of the same suit, and an outside straight draw. An outside straight draw is where you can hit cards at either end to make it. For example, you have 6789, any five or ten makes your straight.

Opt for one ante with a low pair, hand worth four points or an inside straight draw. You can also bet one ante with any three mid-ranked cards if you raised on an earlier street.

House Edge

Following this strategy gives the house an edge of 4.91% which is a little high. It’s only high if you compare it to video poker or blackjack however. You’ll bet, on average 3.59 units per hand following this Mississippi Stud strategy.

Games of Mississippi Stud play quite slowly so the amount you’ll lose per hour is minimal. This is especially true if several other players are seated with you.

The game has quite high variance so big winning streaks are possible. Losing streaks are too, which isn’t great, but hopefully, the highs outdo the lows!