What will you play next?
Mississippi Stud is a more recent addition to Canadian casinos than casino poker games such as Caribbean Stud or 3 Card Poker. This variation was created by Scientific Games. It adds strategy elements to a player-vs-dealer game. You not only decide whether to fold or continue your hand, you decide how many units to bet on each street.
With big payouts for the strongest poker hands, plus two different side bets, there is plenty of potential for a windfall playing this game. You will bet multiple units per hand, which means some bankroll management will also be required.
This page covers Mississippi Stud in depth. Below you will find an overview of Mississippi Stud rules, and how the game works, followed by the most popular side bets. Strategy, bankroll factors and casino comps are then covered.
How to play Mississippi Stud Poker
The betting area in front of each player has an ante circle, and three additional circles labelled 3rd Street, 4th Street, and 5th Street. There are additional side bets, with 3 card bonuses and 6 card bonus bets available at many casinos. Side bets are covered separately below.
To start a hand, you place a bet (usually a $5 minimum) on the ‘Ante’ circle.
Each player is then dealt 2 cards face-down – sharing of your cards is not permitted. You now have the option to bet or fold. If a player chooses to bet, then between 1 and 3 units equal to the ante are placed on 3rd Street. If a player folds, they play no further part in the main hand – though the side bets are still live.
The first of 3 community cards are then turned over. Based on your cards and this shared card, you can fold, or bet 1 to 3 units on 4th street. The 2nd community card is then dealt, with the same choice.
After the final bets have been placed, the dealer will flip over the final community card. In this casino poker variant, the dealer does not have a hand of her own. There is no ‘dealer qualification’ rule in place.
Instead, you are paid based on the best poker hand using your own 2 cards and the 3 community cards.
Mississippi Stud payouts
These payouts are based on the total number of betting units you placed through a hand. If you got to the end of a hand this will be between 4 (ante and 1 bet on each street) and 10 (ante and 3 units on each street).
Any hand less than a pair of 6s will lose, with all bets getting removed.
Any pair from 6-6 to 10-10 is considered a push, with your bets being returned.
Here are the rewards for Jack-Jack and better:
- Pair of Jacks or Better: 1:1
- Two Pairs: 2:1
- Three of a Kind: 3:1
- Straight: 4:1
- Flush: 6:1
- Full House: 10:1
- Four of a Kind: 40:1
- Straight Flush: 100:1
- Royal Flush: 500:1
Popular side bets for Mississippi Stud Poker
The most common side bet for Mississippi stud is the three-card bonus. This is based on the 3 community cards, which means all participating players will win or lose it at the same time. This is optional, with a minimum $5 bet standard in live casinos. There is no requirement for this bet to be the same size as your ante.
Here are the payouts for the 3 Card bonus:
- Pair: 1:1
- Flush: 3:1
- Straight: 6:1
- 3 of a Kind: 30:1
- Straight Flush: 40:1
Many Canadian casinos – for example, Caesars in Windsor, Ontario – also offer a progressive 6-card bonus. This is a ‘red light’ system, where your chip is placed on a special betting square, which triggers a light to show which players are participating. The regular 6 card bonus is based on the second deal of new cards after the main game. Prizes are paid for trips+, with the jackpot for a 6-card royal flush.
Bonus game variations pay extra for royal flush hands using your cards. One example pays a million-dollar prize for a royal in diamonds.
Strategy for Mississippi Stud
If you think in terms of possible poker hands, the mathematically correct Mississippi Stud poker strategy is complicated. If you think of those cards in categories of ‘Big’, ‘Middle’ and ‘Small’, it becomes much easier.
Big cards are Jacks+, middle cards are 6 through 10, small cards are 5 and below.
Your first bet is based on your own 2 cards.
- Bet 3 units with any pair
- Bet 1 unit with any hand containing 1 or more high card
- Bet 1 unit with any hand containing 2 middle cards
- Fold any hand with 2 small cards, or 1 small and 1 middle (except 5-6 suited, bet 1 for this)
For the next round, you have 3 cards to account for – your own 2 and the 1st of 3 community cards.
- Bet 3 units with any pair 6-6 or better
- Bet 3 units with any 3 cards to a royal flush, or 3 consecutive cards to a straight flush
- Bet 1x with pairs 5-5 and under or 3 cards of the same suit
- Bet 1x with hands containing at least 1 high card and 1 middle card, or 3 middle cards
- Otherwise Fold (for example 1 high card and 2 small, or 2 middle and 1 small)
Final betting round
Your last bet is made with 4 cards showing, most of the key decisions will have been made on earlier streets, with pairs and any hand with high cards continuing.
- Bet 3 units with any pair 6-6+ or a stronger hand
- Bet 3 units with 4 cards of the same suit
- Bet 3 units with 4 consecutive cards (with the highest 8+)
- Bet 1x with an inside straight draw or a low pair
- Bet 1x with hands containing 2 high cards or 3 mid cards that bet 3x on a prior street
There are some rules of thumb for simplifying the strategy. The key one is that you always bet to the end with 2 cards jack or over. You always bet 3 units on each street with a pair 6-6 or over. Finally, if you bet 2 middle cards of 1 high and 1 low and 3rd street is a low card, then you always fold.
Played correctly, Mississippi Stud has a mid-range house edge of 4.9%.
Bankroll management for Mississippi Stud games
Minimum bets for Mississippi Stud in Canada are typically $5. This can be more at peak times in the larger casinos. Players need to keep in mind that you will bet multiple units on most hands. The average is 3.5 units per hand (including those you fold on 3rd street). This makes it $17,50c per hand, excluding the optional side bets.
This game has the potential for big wins — unlike the single units up and down in internet blackjack and baccarat games. At the same time, it is volatile, you only need to lose a few hands in a row where you bet to the end to put a dent in your bankroll. To balance this, you need a bigger bankroll compared to the size of the bets than you would use for other casino table game variants.
Wrapping up: Mississippi Stud poker in Canadian casinos
Mississippi Stud has enjoyed rapid growth in live casinos from Alberta to Québec — and now you can play Mississippi Stud online at select online casinos too. The strategy element helps with the appeal. Uniquely, this covers how much to bet, as well as which hands to bet on. Add inside bets with progressive jackpots and million-dollar top prizes, and you will see that this game has plenty of big win potential.
Making errors with the strategy will increase the edge in favour of the house. Instead of learning the strategy for each hand, you can think of the cards as big, middle, and small. The number of each type that you hold will determine how much you bet. When you start with a winning hand and get to bet 3 units on every street, the returns from Mississippi Stud can be excellent!