When it comes to developing table games, there is no magic formula and there are no guarantees to success. Three Card Poker is currently the pinnacle of proprietary table games and thus many inventors try very hard to copy some aspect of it. Games like Three Card Poker have a “Je ne sais quoi” quality to them, which is French for something like “I haven’t a clue”. You can’t just take the key components of a game like payback, hit frequency and fold rate, and mimic them to another game and assume you will succeed.
A great example of this is the late blooming, Mississippi Stud. This game was launched about 5 years ago. It really didn’t have much success for 2 years. It had a single table placement for much of this time, and yet this table was one of the hottest in the place. But, despite this, many other casinos were not interested. Then for reasons that no one can put a finger on, it slowly began to spread, and now has about 100 tables in the marketplace.
Mississippi Stud is owned by Shuffle Master and was the brain child of its former CEO, Mark Yoseloff. When the game was given to me to analyze, I don’t think there was a lot of enthusiasm. I think it was one of those cases where the guy at the top wanted it done, so it was going to get done. Much of the other games we were working on were variations of Texas Hold’em or involved complicated wagering going head to head against the Dealer. Mississippi Stud was a relatively simple game and a paytable game. It is just you against the paytable, which always make analyzing the game rather simple.
To start play, the Player makes a single wager and receives two (2) cards, while 3 additional community cards are dealt face down. The Player now has the option to make another wager that is 1x or 3x his original wager. If he declines to make this wager, he must Fold. If the Player does not Fold, the first community card is turned over. Again, the Player must Fold, bet 1x or 3x his original wager. If he does not fold, the 2nd community card is turned over. Yet again, the Player has the same options – Fold, bet 1x or bet 3x. It is kind of Let It Ride on speed.
So, just to stay in until the end, you have to be prepared to wager at least 4 units. The good news it that the paytable begins at a Pair of 6’s and if you get dealt at least a Pair of 6’s on your first 2 cards you have the opportunity to wager 10x your initial wager. The most common paytable in use is as follows:
Four of a Kind
Three of a Kind
Par of J’s or Better
Pair 6’s – 10’s
*This does NOT include the return of the original wagers which are returned as well – payouts are TO 1
Analyzing Mississippi Stud was relatively easy given that there are just 5 cards dealt. What should be fairly obvious about the strategy is that once you get a Pair of 6’s or better, you bet all you can because you can’t lose. However, unlike Let It Ride, you can’t just sit back and wait until you have a winner or nearly a winner. With the paytable above, the payback is 99.64%. To achieve this, however, may take some nerves of steel and some patience. Expert Strategy dictates a Fold Rate of over 50%! You have to be prepared to dump your hand when the cards are not going you way. Sometimes, you’ll even have to walk away from multiple units wagered.
The strategy after the first 2 cards is relatively simple:
q Bet 3x on Any Pair
q Bet 1x if you have One High Card (Jack – Ace), two Mid Cards (6 – 10) or a suited 5-6
q Fold all other hands. (You will fold 31+% of your hands at this point)
If you’re interested in the rest of the strategy and statistics of the game, my latest booklet “Expert Strategy for Mississippi Stud” (surprising name, huh?) will give you plenty of both. You can order it now at a special Gambatria blog price of $4.95 (reg, $5.95). Send a check or money order to Compu-Flyers, P.O. Box 132, Bogota, NJ 07603.