Walk into any casino floor in Virginia and you’ll be bombarded with the usual table games: blackjack, roulette, baccarat, craps. Nestled somewhere in those aisles of the familiar, though, you might catch sight of an overlooked and wildly under-appreciated table game: Mississippi Stud.
The game is a unique take on poker in which players try to form a hand with two pocket cards and three community cards. There’s no beating the dealer or even the other players.
Instead, you’re playing against a pay table.
What is Mississippi Stud and how does it work?
Until recently, Virginia was one of the few states lacking a casino. After legislation passed allowing them to be built, mostly along the southern border, Virginia casinos are beginning to pop up, with at least two more set to open their doors in the next two years.
Chances are they, too, will offer Mississippi Stud. When you play Mississippi Stud, you’ll find you fold a sizeable majority of the hands you’re dealt. Like Three Card Poker, it’s a game of big swings, so your wins will usually pay heftily, while most hands end in a loss. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck.
Each hand starts by placing an ante, which allows you to see your cards. You’ll get two, and you’re stuck with them. There’s no switching cards out in Mississippi Stud.
Once you see your cards, you can bet 1x to 3x your ante to see the first community card. You can do the same for the second and third community cards. After they’re all dealt, bets settle against a pay table, which is typically something like this:
Hand 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
Pair of Jacks or Better 2 to 1
Pair of 6s to 10s Push
The structure of the game makes table talk more advantageous. Some players will let you know if they have that crucial Jack you’re looking for. There’s no incentive to keep your cards a secret when you aren’t fighting other players or the dealer for a share of the pot.
Mississippi Stud strategy
I use a simple point strategy when playing Mississippi Stud. Any number card 6-10 counts for one point, while any face card counts for two. If my starting cards total two points or more, I’ll typically place a 1x bet to see the first card. From there, it’s best to play things relatively cautiously unless you have a confirmed push or better.
If you’re dealt a paying pair – say two kings – you can bet 3x your ante for all three cards right away, guaranteeing the max payout (plus more if another King or two pops up).
Mississippi Stud requires restraint. It’s tempting to see hands through to the end, but you risk losing more if you let a dud deal run through all three community cards with nothing to show for it.
Mississippi Stud side bets
There are two side bets usually offered with Mississippi Stud: 3 Card Bonus and Ultimate Pairs.
The 3 Card Bonus bet pays out if the three community cards form a particular hand. Your pocket cards don’t matter for this side bet. The pay table looks like so:
|40 to 1
|Three of a Kind
|30 to 1
|6 to 1
|3 to 1
|1 to 1
Ultimate Pairs focuses only on the two cards you are dealt. If you have a qualifying pair, you’ll get paid out according to this table:
|30 to 1
|Ace King Suited
|25 to 1
|Ace Queen or Ace Jack Suited
|20 to 1
|Ace King Unsuited
|15 to 1
|Two Kings, Queens, or Jacks
|10 to 1
|Ace Queen or Ace Jack Unsuited
|5 to 1
|Pair of 2s through 10s
|3 to 1
What Virginia casinos offer Mississippi Stud?
Virginia’s Bristol Casino – future home of the Hard Rock – currently offers Mississippi Stud. The minimums vary based on the day and time, with busier periods featuring higher minimum bets.
Caesars Danville Casino was unable to confirm whether Mississippi Stud is available at its temporary casino. It’s likely the permanent property will have the game when it opens.
Rivers Portsmouth does not offer Mississippi Stud.