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How to Play Mississippi Stud

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Mississippi Stud is a poker variation offering a fresh take on the classic. Unlike most poker games that pit you against other players or the dealer, in Mississippi Stud, you’re matching wits with the paytable. It is reminiscent of video poker, standard poker, and casino poker variants like Let It Ride and 3-card poker

The goal in Mississippi Stud is to assemble the strongest hand possible from a 5-card draw. The game has three betting decision points, each linked to the initial ante bet required to enter the draw. The payouts are assessed according to standard poker hand rankings, with Jacks or better as the baseline for securing a profit.

With a house edge of just 1.37%, Mississippi Stud stands shoulder to shoulder with high-RTP casino games like blackjack and baccarat. The favorable payback rate has contributed to its consistent popularity since its debut in 2005.

You’ll find Mississippi Stud at various land-based and online casinos, usually in a live dealer format. SG Digital has developed an online adaptation featuring a random number generator to ensure fair gameplay. You can play at some of the top casino apps, including BetMGM, Golden Nugget, FanDuel, and BetRivers.

In this article, we’ll explain how to play Mississippi Stud, the rules, pay tables, and all the fundamentals an entry-level player should know.

How to play Mississippi Stud 

Mississippi Stud

When you play Mississippi Stud online, you are alone at the table, with a computerized or live dealer handling the cards.

The aim is to create the best hand from the five cards in play. Two of these cards are dealt directly to you, while the remaining three are community cards.

To initiate gameplay, you must place a bet. As the game progresses, you’ll navigate through three betting rounds. The stake allowed in each stage is determined by your opening ante bet. Therefore, be rational with your ante, as losses can accumulate quickly if the draw isn’t in your favor.

The progression of Mississippi Stud consists of six distinct phases:

  1. Ante bet (buy-in). When the game boots up, you’ll see five circles on the interface, each representing a different type of wager. To qualify for the deal, you must place a stake by clicking on the Ante box. Most online casinos set the minimum at $0.10 with the option to place an optional 3-card bonus bet. 
  2. Deal. Once you’ve anted up, you’ll receive two face-up cards. Three community cards will be placed face-down in the center of the virtual felt. 
  3. Third street. This marks the first betting round where you need to make a call based on the hand you’re holding: fold or keep playing. If you opt to play, you must place a wager called third street equal to 1x–3x of your ante bet.
  4. Fourth street. The first community card is revealed. Again, you have the choice to fold or bet. If you decide to keep rolling, you must bet 1x–3x of the ante. If you fold, your involvement in the game ends unless a 3-card side bet is active.
  5. Fifth street. The second community card is turned over. If you want to stick around for the third community card, you must bet 1x–3x of your ante. If you decide to fold, you’re giving up all the chips you’ve put down so far. 
  6. Final showdown. The third community card is flipped. To collect a profit, you need at least a pair of Jacks. If the best you can get from the 5-card draw is a pair of 6s–10s, your bet is a push, and you’ll reclaim your stake.

As you can see, Mississippi Stud bears a resemblance to Let It Ride, albeit with different lingo and card distribution cards. In Let It Ride, players receive three cards, and there are two community cards.

Mississippi Stud payouts

The payouts in the online version of Mississippi Stud are standardized across all legal US casino sites, largely because SG Digital’s game is the only version available. Depending on the casino, the betting range typically sits between $0.10 and $50, with eight different bet denominations ranging from 0.10 to 25.  

That said, here’s the Mississippi Stud pay table that you’ll find on most real money casino sites in the US. 

Royal flush500:1
Straight flush100:1
Full house10:1
Three of a kind3:1
Two pair2:1
Pair of Jacks or better1:1
Pairs of 6s–10sPush

It’s all about whipping up those high-caliber hands — even a mid-tier hand like a full house can net you $100 from a mere $10 bet.

However, the real thrill comes from understanding that the payouts from the table above apply to the combined total of your ante and the three street bets. So, should you manage to put together a powerhouse hand like a straight flush and max out your betting to $100 (with a $10 base ante), you could pocket a whopping $10k. Of course, such premium hands are the unicorns of the poker world. 

3-card bonus bet payout 

In addition to ante and the three street bets, you can place an optional 3-card bet beforehand. This side bets considers the three community cards and pays out irrespective of the standard bets. This means that if you decide to fold your standard bets during the game, your 3-card bonus bet stays in action for the entire round, protecting you in case things go wrong.

The payouts for the 3-card bonus bets are as follows: 

Straight flush40:1
Any pair1:1

Most online casinos allow a stake range of $10–$50 for the 3-card bonus bet. The house edge for a 3-card bonus bet is 2.14%.

Mississippi Stud strategy

Mississippi Stud is predominantly a game of chance with some strategic elements. Understanding the game’s dynamics and making smart decisions at each betting point can help you shave off a portion of the house edge. 

The skill aspect in Mississippi Stud comes from careful bet sizing. The easiest way to handle this is to sort the cards into three types: 

  • High: Pair of Jacks or higher 
  • Middle (push) cards: pair of 6s–10s
  • Low cards: 5 or under 

The optimal strategy accounts for each round’s betting moves. It is important to consider the strength of your hand at that point, the mathematical odds of hitting a winning hand, and the payout for such a hand.

Here’s the lowdown on how to approach the opening hand:

  • Go all-in (3x the ante) when you get a pocket pair — the rationale is that you’re guaranteed a payout that can only stack up down the road
  • Make conservative bets if you’re dealt two middle opening cards (or a combo of one middle + high)
  • Fold if you’re dealt two low cards or one low + one middle (unless you have 5–6 suited connectors)

As the game advances to the fourth and fifth street rounds, the strategy gradually changes. When you have a robust hand or a promising hand with good odds (like an open-ended straight), consider betting all three units. In case your hand isn’t rock-solid but isn’t a total longshot either (like a straight draw with one gap), bet a single unit. For weak hands, fold and live to play another round.

Where can I play Mississippi Stud online?

Since its creation in 2005 by Mark Yoseloff, Mississippi Stud gradually became a beloved fixture in US casinos nationwide. The game’s popularity has also soared in the digital domain, largely thanks to SG Digital’s exciting adaptation. 

In major online gaming hotspots, Mississippi Stud is readily accessible on top-tier casino apps. These include:

When choosing a platform to enjoy Mississippi Stud, don’t overlook the welcome bonuses, as they can give your gameplay an extra boost. Consider the bonus size, the attached wagering requirements, and the game weighting (the portion of your bet that counts toward meeting those requirements).

Mississippi Stud final thoughts

Mississippi Stud has gained quite a following among US casino players, striking a fine balance between skill and chance. The low house edge is a big hook, and the strategic component in bet management gives it an edge over traditional games like roulette which solely hinge on luck.

The game’s hefty payout potential, wide betting range, and straightforward rules make it a fitting choice for a wide spectrum of players. Its omnipresence at online casinos nationwide further boosts its standing.

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