5 Reasons Mississippi Stud Poker Is the Most Underrated Casino Game
Published on May 10, 2018
Modern forms of poker originated on riverboats traveling on the Mississippi River. That said, anybody who hears about Mississippi Stud Poker might think that it’s steeped in history.
But the truth is that this is a newer casino game, with Shufflemaster patenting Mississippi Stud in 2009. The game has since spread to different casinos locations like Las Vegas.
Given its relative youth in the gambling world, Mississippi Stud Poker isn’t as widely played as classics like baccarat, blackjack, craps, and roulette. Many players are still unaware that this game even exists.
But I hope that more gamblers start taking notice, because this is one of the most-underrated offerings in the casino. Keep reading as I cover 5 reasons why Mississippi Stud doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
It’s often said that poker games like Texas holdem and Omaha take 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Mississippi Stud is similar in that it too only requires a short amount of time to learn.
The reason being is that this is a house-banked casino game with defined strategy. Compare this to holdem or Omaha, where you’re playing against human opponents and must master complex strategy.
Mississippi Stud is comparable to a few different poker variations, including Texas holdem, Let It Ride, and 7 Card Stud.
The Texas holdem comparison comes in because Mississippi Stud Poker sees you receive two cards. You’ll also be on a small table with an average of 3-5 players, making this game feel like shorthanded holdem.
The 7 Card Stud comparison refers to how each Mississippi Stud hand features five streets (7 Card has seven). And this game also has similar rules to Let It Ride, only in an upside-down manner.
To summarize, Mississippi Stud offers a light approach to poker due to the simpler strategy (covered later) and its similarities to other poker games. If you’ve played Texas holdem, Let It Ride, or 7 Card Stud, then you shouldn’t have trouble learning Mississippi Stud.
Speaking of rules, here’s how hands play out.
I’ll cover the entire pay table in the next section. But the goal is to form a pair of 6s or better.
As long as you have a pair of 6s, you push and receive all of your bets back. You win profits starting with a pair of jacks or better.
The real skill in Mississippi Stud Poker is deciding how much money to bet on each street based on your hand strength and the community cards. If you can master this, then you’ll be successful with the game.
Mississippi Stud Poker is similar to a Texas holdem cash game in terms of when payouts are made.
Both of these poker variations see players earn payouts after hands. Contrast this to a poker tournament structure, where people play numerous hands before prizes are awarded.
Of course, Mississippi Stud’s payouts differ from Texas holdem in certain ways.
Hold’em cash-game payouts are based on the pot size. In most cases, the pot isn’t significantly larger than what players bet into the hand.
But Mississippi Stud offers a wide range of payouts, including huge prizes for getting the best hands. Here’s a standard Mississippi Stud Poker pay table.
The fact that you can win payouts worth between 40x and 500x your original bet is exciting. For example, you could win $5,000 by getting a royal flush with a $10 bet.
Obviously the odds of this happening aren’t very good. But you also pick up lots of small wins along the way until you can get the royal.
Here’s an example to contrast the max amount a Texas holdem player can win in a single hand.
This is a simplistic example, and it’s a rare for three cash players to go all-in during the same hand. Even under these rare conditions, the most you win is 3x your total bet.
Long story short, Mississippi Stud is a really good game for players who like winning jackpot-type payouts.
Earlier I mentioned how Mississippi Stud Poker bears similarities to Let It Ride. This is especially the case in terms of strategy, because both games see you make up to three decisions involving community cards.
Expert Mississippi Stud players know how much to bet based on their hand strength and the community cards.
A good general strategy is to raise 3x the ante when you hold any pair, because this increases the chances that you’ll get a big hand.
You still want to play aces and face cards since they give you a good chance to make a strong hand. But you should scale your bets back to 1x the ante.
You want to make the same wager when you’re holding a single 6 through 10 (a.k.a. push cards). You should fold most of the time when you don’t have a 6 or better (except with suited low cards).
Here’s a more-detailed look at Mississippi Stud strategy that’ll help you achieve optimal strategy:
You don’t need to worry about strategy with the third community card, because no actions are taken on fifth street. Therefore, you only need to memorize strategy on four streets in Mississippi Stud poker.
But as you can see, there are lots of different decisions to memorize. Anybody who enjoys using stimulating strategy in casino games will appreciate what Mississippi Stud has to offer.
If you like playing blackjack, video poker, and other games that involve knowing strategy, then you should definitely try Mississippi Stud.
But also note that you don’t need to dedicate countless hours to becoming an expert player. Contrast this to Texas holdem, Omaha, and 7 Card Stud, where the best players need to constantly stay sharp to beat their opponents.
This strategy doesn’t change, meaning anybody can play like a pro and impress their friends with a little work.
The biggest perceived downside to Mississippi Stud is that it has a high house edge at 4.91%. This is one of the worst house advantages in terms of casino table games.
You can compare Mississippi Stud to other games below.
You can see that most table games rank better than Mississippi Stud in terms of the house advantage. In fact, Caribbean Stud and American roulette are the only two games that rank worse.
But there’s actually more than meets the eye with regard to the Mississippi Stud house edge.
The 4.91% figure is based on your initial ante bet. In other words, this commonly stated house edge only considers your odds of winning with the initial bet.
What Mississippi Stud’s house advantage doesn’t account for is the strategy involved with betting on future streets. By using perfect strategy, you actually lower the overall house advantage.
Gambling expert Michael “The Wizard of Odds” Shackleford refers to this as the “element of risk.” When we factor in future Mississippi Stud bets along with strategy, your overall element of risk is 1.37%.
As long as you intend on using the correct strategy in this game, then you should view Mississippi Stud as having a 1.37% house edge.
This is comparable to the top table games, including craps and French roulette. That being said, Mississippi Stud Poker is underrated with regard to your chances of winning.
Mississippi Stud is limited in scope, because it’s a trademarked game owned by Shufflemaster. This means that land-based and online casinos can’t just start running Mississippi Stud games without getting permission from the trademark owner.
But what gaming establishments can do is run their own versions of Mississippi Stud Poker under a different name. After all, a company can’t trademark the rules to a card game.
Obviously this isn’t as popular as the real deal, because these games don’t have the brand name. But you can still find generic versions in operation.
All you need to do is google the game’s name and look through the listed results to find a free version. Several of our recommended online casinos also have free versions in addition to real money versions.
I assume that Shufflemaster doesn’t have a problem with this, given that the gaming sites aren’t making profits off real money play.
But if you want to enjoy the real version, then you’ll find plenty of authentic Mississippi Stud Poker games running in both Vegas and Mississippi casinos.
It’s little surprise that the Rebel State is a popular home to this game. Biloxi has especially adopted Mississippi Stud, because over half of its casinos offer this poker variation.
Mississippi Stud Poker is less than a decade old. And it’s currently competing against established table games that have been around for centuries.
Therefore, I think that Mississippi Stud has a lot of growth potential. This is especially true when considering the five reasons why it’s so underrated.
Many gamblers still have yet to discover how this game offers big payouts, stimulating strategy, and a fun transition to poker. I believe that this will change the longer Mississippi Stud hangs around and branches out to other casinos.
Over time, you’ll eventually see this game go from being underrated to gaining the respect that it deserves among gamblers.