What You Need to Know
Today, Mississippi Stud occupies rarified air within the crowded table game landscape, with permanent placements everywhere, from mega resort casino properties in Las Vegas and Atlantic City to riverboat casinos in Mississippi, and tribal gaming establishments scattered around the U.S. Strategy books and websites are routinely published to serve the booming Mississippi Stud market, and the game continues to spread even today.
Our expert team at OUSC has gathered all the information necessary to provide the perfect entry point into the world of Mississippi Stud. Here you’ll find a detailed walkthrough designed to introduce the rules and gameplay procedures, along with a running example hand which will help to clarify any complicated elements. After that, we’ve compiled a detailed list of casinos where you can find Mississippi Stud tables, followed by a discussion on house edge, probability, and other strategic concerns.
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What is Mississippi Stud
Mark Yoseloff is a revered figure among the casino gambling crowd and for good reason. During the last few decades, Yoseloff contributed a career’s worth of innovation and insight to the industry, first specializing in slot machine design for Bally Technologies in the 1990s, and then as CEO and Chairman of Shuffle Master from 2000 through 2009. Among the most popular of Yoseloff’s casino game innovations is a hybrid table game known as Mississippi Stud.
The first trademark application for this table game variant on traditional five-card stud was filed by Shuffle Master in 2009, and since that time Mississippi Stud has flourished throughout casinos all over the world. Boasting a simple gameplay structure, multiple player decision points, and an escalating pay table, Mississippi Stud offers players the proverbial “holy grail” of table game elements.
Even better, with the ability to maximize wagers when holding good cards, players can punish the house in such a way that many casino gambling experts consider Mississippi Stud to rank among the most vulnerable in the house when it comes to skill based play.
Mississippi Stud Rules
Fittingly, as one of the more popular table games ever devised, Mississippi Stud offers a very simple gameplay setup.
Like most hybrid table games, you’ll be sitting at a semicircular table along with up to five other players, while the dealer runs the game from the opposite side of the table.
Mississippi Stud utilizes the standard 52 card deck of playing cards, and all cards hold their usual poker values. Thus, 2s are the lowest card, followed by 3s, 4s, and so on through 10s. For the face cards, the order goes Js, Qs, and Ks, while aces are the highest ranking card.
Poker Hand Rankings
Furthermore, as a variant on five card stud, the traditional poker hand hierarchy is also used to judge completed five card hands. If it’s been a while since you saw a straight or filled a flush, take a look below for the full listing of poker hand ranks:
|Royal Flush||Broadway straight (A K Q J 10) in the same suit|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards (9 8 7 6 5) in the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four of the same card (Q Q Q Q A)|
|Full House||Three of a kind + one pair (Q Q Q A A)|
|Flush||Five cards in the same suit (2h 6h 9h Kh Ah)|
|Straight||Five consecutive cards (6 5 4 3 2)|
|Three of a Kind||Three of the same card (Q Q Q 2 A)|
|Two Pair||Two pairs of the same card (Q Q A A 2)|
|One Pair||One pair of the same card (Q Q 4 3 2)|
|High Card||No pair, highest card is rank of hand (A K 4 3 2)|
As you can see, the best possible hand in this game is a royal flush, followed be a straight flush, four a kind, a full house, a flush, a straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card.
Playing Against Yourself
The objective of Mississippi Stud is simple enough: attempt to make the strongest possible five card poker hand. In this game, you aren’t squaring off against a dealer’s hand. Instead, players combine their two personal cards (the “hole” cards) with three community cards to form a full five card poker hand. Your bets will be paid out according to the strength of that final five card holding, so you can’t beat or lose to another hand, and only your hand matters.
How to Play Mississippi Stud
Place Your Bet
To begin a hand of Mississippi Stud, each player must place a mandatory ante wager, which must equal or exceed the posted table minimum.
Going forward throughout the remainder of this section, we’ll rely on a running example hand to help illustrate key gameplay concepts from the player’s perspective. So we’ll start out with a typical wager of $5 on the ante bet. This may seem small, but as you’ll soon discover, the wagering in Mississippi Stud can soon escalate to much larger levels.
Dealer Distributes the Cards
Once all players have anted up, the dealer will then distribute three cards face down on the felt in front of them, along with two cards face down to each player.
The first three cards represent the community cards, which means all players with a live hand can use them to help form their final five card poker hand.
When it comes to your own hole cards, you can examine them of course, but sharing of information between players will be strictly discouraged.
Returning to our running example hand, let’s imagine we’ve been dealt the Ah and Qh to begin the hand.
Fold or 3rd Street Bet
After taking a peek at your hole cards, the game’s first player decision point has arrived: Fold or place the 3rd Street bet.
- FOLD: you simply give up on the hand right then and there, forfeiting your hole cards to the dealer – along with your original ante bet.
- BET: you elect to continue with the hand by placing an additional wager. This wager can be made in one of three sizes: 1x, 2x, or 3x the amount of your original ante bet.
Making the 3rd Street bet entitles you to see the first of the three community cards. You’ll see an area on the felt in front of you labeled “3rd Street,” so to place this bet, simply slide your chip(s) forward into the appropriate space.
For the running example hand, we have two high cards which are both hearts, so we can safely continue with the hand by making a 3rd Street bet. You’ll learn more about choosing your bet sizing later on in the Strategy section, and indeed, this aspect of the game is where skill shines through, but for now, just trust us when we make the 3rd Street bet for 1x our original ante bet – or an additional $5.
First Community Cards Revealed
After each player has either folded or continued with the 3rd Street bet, the dealer will then reveal the first of three community cards. The information provided by this card, in relation to your own hand, motivates the second player decision point.
In the running example hand, the dealer turns over the Qc as the first community cards, so we currently hold the Ah Qh Qc for one pair of queens.
Fold or 4th Street Bet
Once again you can either fold or continue, this time by making the 4th Street bet. The sizing parameters remain the same, so you can choose between a bet of 1x, 2x, or 3x your initial ante wager.
For the running example hand, pairing our queen was definitely an improvement, and in this game, one good pair will turn a winner. So we’ll opt for the maximum wager on the 4th Street bet, putting up an additional $15 to keep playing.
Second Community Card Revealed & Final Betting Round
The dealer will then turn over the second of the three community cards, and the fold/bet process will continue for a third and final time.
Back to the running example hand, the dealer reveals the 4d as the next community card, which does nothing to improve our hand. At this point, the sizing of your 5th Street bet will be based on optimal strategy (more to come in a minute), but since it’s always fun to go for the gusto, we’ll put in another maximum wager of 3x our ante (or $15 more).
Like we mentioned above, the betting can quickly go from a single $5 chip to up to $45 more, so on any individual hand, you can wager 10 “units” – or the increment used for your original ante bet.
Final Card Revealed to Create Strongest 5-Card Hand
Once all players have put up their 5th Street bet, or folded out, the dealer will turn over the third and final community card to complete your five card poker hand.
In our case, the dealer reveals the Ac to improve our hand to two pair, aces, and queens.
Now, with the player hands completed, the dealer will compare each hand to the pay table and award the appropriate payouts to each player.
Using our running example hand, our combination of Ah Ac Qh Qc 4d gives us two pairs. That entitles us to a 2 to 1 payout on our total wager, which equals $40 ($5 Ante + $5 3rd Street bet + $15 4th Street bet + $15 5th Street bet = $40). At 2 to 1, we’d receive a payout of $80 on this running example hand.
Mississippi Stud Pay Table
|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|
|One Pair (Jacks or Better)||1 to 1|
|One Pair (6-10)||Push|
As you can see, the name of the game is making monster hands, as the premium holdings like a royal flush or straight flush can produce “jackpot” payouts of $2,500 and $500 on just your $5 ante bet alone.
Even better, the payout rates listed above are applied to the total sum of your ante bet plus the three street-based bets. So if you find a top level hand and max out the betting to $50 (using a $5 base ante increment), you can take down $25,000 for a royal flush, $5,000 for a straight flush, $2,000 for four of a kind, and so on down the line.
Precaution When Playing
Fair warning, though: you won’t be seeing those hands very frequently, as forming a perfect five-card combination using five cards and five alone is quite difficult. Usually, in stud based games, you’ll have seven cards with which to find the best five-card combination, but in Mississippi Stud, five cards are all you get.
Practice Playing Online
If you’re more of the hands-on learning type, check out this handy Mississippi Stud practice tool courtesy of the Wizard of Odds, which allows you to play out real hands for “play money.” All of the game mechanics work as they will in the casino setting, though, so the tool is extremely useful for beginners, and it even offers you guidance when making fold/bet decisions, informing you when you’re making a less than optimal play.
Best Places to Play Mississippi Stud
First things first… with a name like Mississippi Stud, this game is clearly a favorite for players who frequent the thriving casino community in and around Mississippi.
The game was partially inspired by a regional poker variant known as Mississippi Stud Poker, which is played in the traditional fashion between players rather than against the house. This game removes “fourth street” to leave three betting rounds – the same as in the Mississippi Stud table game.
You can find Mississippi Stud played in most casinos and card rooms in the state, but of course, every house has their own table games manager making placement decisions, so it may be absent from a few venues here and there.
US Casinos in Mississippi
Take a look below for a full listing of Mississippi’s casino properties:
|Ameristar Casino Hotel||Vicksburg||Warren|
|Bally’s Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Bok Homa Casino||Sandersville||Jones|
|Boomtown Casino Biloxi||Biloxi||Harrison|
|DiamondJacks Casino & Hotel||Vicksburg||Warren|
|Fitzgeralds Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Gold Strike Casino Resort||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Golden Moon Casino||Choctaw||Neshoba|
|Golden Nugget Biloxi||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Hard Rock Hotel & Casino||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Harrah’s Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Harrah’s Gulf Coast||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Hollywood Casino Gulf Coast||Bay St. Louis||Hancock|
|Hollywood Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Horseshoe Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|IP Casino Resort Spa||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Island View Casino||Gulfport||Harrison|
|Isle of Capri Casino Hotel Lula||Lula||Coahoma|
|Lady Luck Casino Vicksburg||Vicksburg||Warren|
|Magnolia Bluffs Casino||Natchez||Adams|
|Palace Casino Biloxi||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Resorts Casino Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Riverwalk Casino and Hotel||Vicksburg||Warren|
|Sam’s Town Tunica||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
|Scarlet Pearl Casino||D’Iberville||Harrison|
|Silver Slipper Casino||Lakeshore||Hancock|
|Silver Star Casino||Choctaw||Neshoba|
|Treasure Bay Casino Biloxi||Biloxi||Harrison|
|Trop Casino Greenville||Greenville||Washington|
|Tunica Roadhouse Casino & Hotel||Tunica Resorts||Tunica|
Fortunately for players who reside outside of the Magnolia State, the game of Mississippi Stud has become practically universal within the world of casino gambling.
For the most part, any major casino resort you find yourself in will likely have at least a table or two running. Even smaller tribal casinos and local gaming establishments spread the game on a consistent basis.
Other US Casinos
Making things a little easier, each of the following casino properties owned and operated by Caesars Entertainment has been verified to offer Mississippi Stud at this time. This list is ordered alphabetically, so in order to locate casinos in your area, simply use a CTRL+F search and input your state to highlight all venues nearby:
|Bally’s Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Caesars Atlantic City Hotel & Casino||Atlantic City||New Jersey|
|Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Caesars Windsor Hotel & Casino||Windsor||Ontario (Canada)|
|Flamingo Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Harrah’s Gulf Coast||Biloxi||Mississippi|
|Harrah’s Cherokee Hotel & Casino||Cherokee||North Carolina|
|Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River||Murphy||North Carolina|
|Harrah’s Casino & Racetrack||Chester||Pennsylvania|
|Harrah’s Council Bluffs Hotel & Casino||Council Bluffs||Iowa|
|Harrah’s Joliet Chicago Hotel & Casino||Joliet||Illinois|
|Harrah’s Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Harrah’s Laughlin Hotel & Casino||Laughlin||Nevada|
|Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino||New Orleans||Louisiana|
|Harrah’s N. Kansas City Hotel & Casino||N. Kansas City||Missouri|
|Harrah’s Resort AC Hotel & Casino||Atlantic City||New Jersey|
|Harrah’s Southern California||Valley Center||California|
|Horseshoe Baltimore Casino||Baltimore||Maryland|
|Horseshoe Bossier City Hotel & Casino||Bossier City||Louisiana|
|Horseshoe Council Bluffs Casino||Council Bluffs||Iowa|
|Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino||Elizabeth||Indiana|
|Horseshoe Tunica Hotel & Casino||Tunica Resorts||Mississippi|
|Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Tunica Roadhouse Casino & Hotel||Tunica Resorts||Mississippi|
|The Cromwell||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|The Linq||Las Vegas||Nevada|
This list highlights only Caesars Entertainment owned venues, so if your favorite casino doesn’t appear here, just make a quick phone call and ask for the table games manager there. They’ll be able to answer immediately as to the status of Mississippi Stud, and the friendlier ones will even help you find the game if their house doesn’t currently offer it at this time.
Strategic Considerations for Mississippi Stud
With poker-based hand rankings, multiple player decision points, and even bet sizing options, Mississippi Stud can provide an entertaining, interactive gameplay experience.
Accordingly, the game relies as much on “card sense” and mathematical skill as it does dumb luck (although, luck plays a role like it does in any gambling game).
When it comes to Mississippi Stud strategy, the leading authority on the subject is none other than Michael Shackleford, the man behind the curtain at the Wizard of Odds casino gambler’s resource site.
On his main page for the game, you can find a whole host of information on the game’s probabilities and odds, including detailed breakdowns on the expected return for every possible betting pattern.
Playing Your Cards Correctly
When it comes to playing your cards correctly, Shackleford has even partnered with fellow game analyst Joseph Kisenwether to create the following guidelines. This strategy is broken down based on how many cards you currently hold, as well as the relative strength of your current hand:
|Card Value Key|
|When Holding Two Cards|
|When Holding Three Cards|
|When Holding Four Cards|
By sticking closely to these strategic guidelines – which will become much easier after you actually play a few hands for yourself – the house edge in Mississippi Stud stands at 4.91 percent.
Mississippi Stud House Edge
Savvy casino game players will note that this house edge rate is actually rather high, especially for such a popular game. However, as Shackleford observes in his analysis, the house edge is not the best metric to use when assessing the playability of a game like Mississippi Stud – which incorporates three additional betting rounds.
According to Shackleford, on average players can expect to bet 3.59 “units” per hand or 3.59 increments of their initial ante bet. By dividing the house edge rate of 4.91 by the average units bet of 3.59, he arrives at an “element of risk” percentage of 1.37 percent.
For comparison’s sake, consider that basic blackjack played using optimal strategy offers an element of risk of 0.38 percent, while similarly designed table games like Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud offers 2.85 percent and 2.56 percent, respectively.
From that vantage point, Mississippi Stud is one of the better bets found in the table games area.
Bring Big Bankroll
Finally, sound strategy dictates bringing enough bankroll with you to bear the large bet sizes and frequent betting found in Mississippi Stud. Remember, even when starting with just $5 on the ante bet, you can easily put in $50 by the time a hand ends, so use proper money management to cope with the game’s inevitable swings.