Developed by Scientific Games, Mississippi stud has become a fairly popular table game. It may not carry the same prestige as blackjack or roulette, but it still manages to find a place on many gambling floors.
Almost everybody who plays Mississippi stud does so without an advantage. In fact, the vast majority of players don’t even realize that this game can offer an edge.
However, Mississippi stud is one of the best games for advantage players (APs). It can offer over a 50% edge with the right strategy.
This guide discusses the basics of Mississippi stud along with how you can beat it through hole carding. It also covers how to gain over a 50% advantage on the house.
Basics of Mississippi Stud
The objective of Mississippi stud is to form a qualifying hand (jacks or better) using your two cards and three community cards.
Each round begins with you and other players making an ante bet. The dealer then deals two face-down (hole) cards to each player and three-face-down community cards.
After reviewing your hole cards, you can either fold (forfeits ante) or make the third-street bet (worth 3x the ante). The dealer will turn over the first community card following this round.
You then have the option to fold or place the fourth-street bet. The second community card is flipped over after this round.
Finally, you can either fold or make the fifth-street wager. The third community card is turned over at this point and your hand is evaluated for a potential payout.
Common Mississippi stud pay tables are as follows:
- Royal flush – 500:1 payout
- Straight flush – 100:1
- Four of a kind – 40:1
- Full house – 10:1
- Straight – 4:1
- Three of a kind – 3:1
- Two pair – 2:1
- Pair of jacks or better – 1:1
- All other hands – Loss
You Can Beat Mississippi Stud With Hole Carding
As described above, Mississippi stud features three face-down community cards. Neither you nor any other players are supposed to see these cards in the beginning.
Instead, you’re only supposed to see your two hole cards along with community cards following certain betting rounds. Of course, you must place a bet for each card that you hope to see.
But what if you were able to see these card values before betting? You’d certainly have a lot more information and be able to get a leg up on the house.
Hole carding involves trying to spot face-down card values before they’re flipped over. It’s a rather simple AP technique in theory. Used in any games with hole/face-down cards, hole carding requires you to find a dealer who’s sloppy when removing cards from the shoe or shuffling machine.
Dealers are supposed to be good at removing these cards without giving anybody a chance to see the values. However, some croupiers—whether due to inexperience or just being inept—aren’t great at keeping card values a secret.
These dealers are known as “flashers.” They flash face-down cards and give you a perfect opportunity to win profits.
Your first goal with this endeavor should involve finding a dealer who’s sloppy enough to reveal this information. Doing so can take countless hours, especially when considering that Mississippi stud tables aren’t as prevalent as baccarat or blackjack tables.
Secondly, you have to perfect your technique for spotting face-down cards. You need to sit in a manner that allows you to see community cards without being overly obvious.
The best way to pull this off is by leaning back slightly in what looks like a natural manner. This puts your eyes low enough to the table felt to where you can still see cards.
How Do You Gain a 50% Edge?
Given that Mississippi stud features three community cards, you have three different chances to see a hole card. Of course, you’re not going to see every card in every round no matter how bad the dealer is.
Even the worst croupiers will keep some face-down cards a secret. But if you can see even just one of the cards, you’ll gain a long term advantage.
You also need to know which hands are worth playing. After all, knowledge of the community cards won’t help out much if you’re holding low cards.
Basic Mississippi stud strategy helps out greatly in this regard. You can determine whether it’s worth betting to begin with by judging your hand’s value.
According to Dr. Eliot Jacobson, you’ll gain at least a 50% advantage just by seeing one face-down community card. You’ll enjoy an even larger advantage when identifying two or three of the cards before they’re flipped over.
Outside of rare circumstances, no other casino game allows you to gain this type of advantage. Even blackjack shuffle tracking, which can provide a considerable 5% edge, doesn’t come close.
Challenges to Beating This Game
The thought of winning over $50 in guaranteed profits for every $100 wagered is exciting. However, you also have to deal with the following challenges before making this dream a reality.
Finding a Flasher Is Difficult
Casinos do a great job at training their dealers. They want to ensure that each croupier can deal games in a fast manner without giving away any advantage.
You may have to visit dozens of casinos on different shifts before spotting a bad dealer. Even then, you might only have a brief window of time to take advantage before the casino notices that they’re losing serious money.
Mississippi Stud Isn’t Available in Abundance
As mentioned earlier, Mississippi stud isn’t the most-prevalent game throughout the gambling world. While it does retain some popularity, it’s not quite on the level of real money blackjack, baccarat, Caribbean stud, craps, or roulette.
You’re not going to walk into a casino and have 10 Mississippi stud tables to choose from. In most cases, you’ll only have one option.
Of course, casinos have multiple shifts and dealers working these tables. But given the small percentage of flashers, you’ll still struggle to find a game that you can really profit from.
You Must Spot Hole Card Values Without Getting Caught
Mississippi stud hole carding is completely legal. You’re not hiding cards in your sleeve, colluding with a dealer, taking chips off the table, or doing anything else unlawful.
Instead, you’re merely using observational skills to make money. Nevertheless, casinos can kick you out all the same.
Gambling establishments are quite thorough when looking for APs. They like to hold the edge in every situation and don’t want somebody earning consistent profits off them.
Given that they’re private businesses, casinos have the right to kick you out for being an AP. They’re especially be quick to throw you out when you’re obviously leaning in an effort to see hole cards.
Should You Still Try Beating Mississippi Stud through Hole Carding?
The biggest drawback to Mississippi stud hole carding is the frustration that you’ll deal with. You’ll find the process of going from casino to casino and table to table to be extremely tedious.
It’s very possible that you’ll give up on hole carding before even finding a dealer that you can take advantage of. Even when you do find a beatable game, you only have so much time to capitalize before the casino realizes what’s happening.
They may not specifically catch you hole carding. But if a casino sees that they’re losing serious money, they’ll looking closer into the matter and retrain or fire the dealer.
Bottom line: you won’t just walk into any random casino and start winning big. You must invest lots of time and effort into the matter.
You’ll also have travel cost wrapped up in this pursuit. After all, your best chances of successfully hole carding are in Las Vegas.
You may consider starting out with an easier AP technique, such as card counting. While counting cards doesn’t offer nearly the same edge as Mississippi stud, it provides a nice introduction to AP.
In the end, you’ll need to decide whether it’s truly worth hole carding in Mississippi stud. This path can result in huge profits, but it isn’t any get-rich-quick scheme.
Mississippi stud seems like an average poker game on the surface. But beneath the surface lies one of the most-profitable opportunities that gambling has to offer.
Assuming you find an inept dealer and spot some hole cards, you stand to gain a minimum 50% advantage. No other common AP method offers this kind of edge—let alone at a minimum.
Of course, you don’t just walk into the casino, throw down your money, and immediately start winning. You instead need to put serious work into the matter beforehand.
Mississippi stud hole carding feels like looking for a needle in a haystack at times. Once you find that needle, though, then you can use it to thread gold.