A River Through Time: The History of Mississippi Stud

Ed Scimia


A River Through Time: The History of Mississippi Stud

The history of Mississippi Stud dates to the early roots of poker itself, even though the game was only invented earlier this century. This blog will take a look at the complete Mississippi Stud history, including how and why the game was created and how you can play Mississippi Stud online.

What is Mississippi Stud?

Mississippi Stud is a relatively simple poker-based game that can be found at casinos both live and online. The object of the game is to make the best five-card poker hand possible. There’s no dealer hand to compete with; the challenge comes from not seeing your entire hand at the start of the game.

Instead, players must make bets or fold as they continue to see more cards. At the end of each hand, players will use their two cards combined with three community cards to make a hand, needing at least a pair of sixes to push or a pair of jacks to win.

Early Origins: The Roots of Stud Poker

Mississippi Riverboat

While Mississippi Stud’s history isn’t all that old, the game is just one of the latest variations on the ancient games that eventually inspired modern poker. In fact, much of that history took place in and around the Mississippi River, likely part of the inspiration for this game’s name.

It’s unclear what games eventually led to the development of poker as a distinct pastime. The Persian game As-Nas, which used the same 20-card deck and five-card hands as early poker, is often seen as a likely inspiration, as is a French game known as Poque.

What’s certain is that by the early 19th century, five-card poker games were popular in the American South. Gambling riverboats would sail up and down the Mississippi River and near the port of New Orleans, helping to popularize and spread the game throughout the country. More complex five-card and seven-card variations would emerge over the next century, as would the now standard 52-card deck.

In the 1970s, the World Series of Poker made the masses even more aware of poker in its many forms, while the emergence of online poker and vastly improved television coverage led to an explosion of popularity in the early 2000s. Many game developers looked to capitalize on this by creating table games that emulated the action of poker, including Mississippi Stud.

The Invention of Mississippi Stud

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The modern history of Mississippi Stud begins around 2005. Shuffle Master CEO Mark Yoseloff looked at existing table games – in particular, Let It Ride – in which players were allowed to make extra bets during each hand. The result of his innovation was Mississippi Stud.

The key difference that Yoseloff came up with was the pressure of mandatory betting. In Let It Ride, players begin with three bets in play, and can pull them off the table if you’re not happy with your hand. In Mississippi Stud, you start by making one bet, but must make additional wagers if you want to see how your hand turns out.

Youseloff quickly pushed Mississippi Stud out to casinos. Initially, it was only available at a couple of locations, but its popularity and success led to more and more venues buying into the game. Today, you can play Mississippi Stud online or live at a wide variety of casinos.

From Shuffle Master to Light & Wonder

Shuffle Master was founded in 1983 as a company that created mechanical shufflers for blackjack games. The company would go on to create a number of highly popular casino games, including Three Card Poker, Blackjack Switch, and the aforementioned Let It Ride.

In 2012, Shuffle Master rebranded itself as SHFL Entertainment in an effort to promote its full line of products, rather than its origins. In 2013, the company was acquired by Bally Technologies for a price of $1.3 billion.

Today, Bally Casinos is well known to online casino players for its slots selection. But it – along with SHFL – is now part of Light & Wonder, which purchased Bally in 2014. Today, Shuffle Master, Bally, and WMS all still produce products, but all do so under the banner of Light & Wonder.

Comparing Mississippi Stud with Three Card Poker

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Mississippi Stud has quite a lot in common with another popular table game, Three Card Poker. Both are loosely based on traditional poker games, and each is fairly easy to play. However, they are far from identical, and have significant differences in gameplay. Here’s a quick breakdown of how these two great casino games compare.

  Mississippi Stud Three Card Poker


Created by Mark Yoseloff around 2005

Created by Derek Webb in 1994

Object of the game

Make the best five-card hand possible

Beat the dealer’s three-card hand

House edge

Varies with Strategy. Typically around 4.9%

Typically around 3.37% for ante-play, 7.28% for Pair Plus

Player strategy

Deciding the amount to bet after seeing a portion of their hand

Deciding whether to bet of fold after seeing their hand

Mississippi Stud Today

Today, Mississippi Stud can be found at casinos around the United States, throughout the world, and even at many online casinos. The basic gameplay remains the same, and the officially licensed version is still distributed to casinos by Shuffle Master under the Light & Wonder banner. Here’s what to expect if you play Mississippi Stud today.

Table setup

A typical Mississippi Stud table will have up to seven spots for players to sit at. At each seat, you’ll see the ante spot, where you must place your initial bet, as well as spots for three additional wagers in each hand. There may also be a spot for an optional side bet, which can vary by table.

The centre of the table contains positions for the dealer to lay the community cards used by all players. In addition, most tables have handy payout tables printed in multiple locations that you can reference in a pinch.

Betting options

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In Mississippi Stud, every player must make an ante bet to start the game and receive a hand. You can then make an additional bet in order to see each community card in turn. If you choose not to make any of these three bets, then you must fold your hand instead, forfeiting all bets made so far in the hand.

When you make your additional bets, you have the choice of betting an amount equal to the ante, or as much as three times the ante wager. Choosing how much to bet is a large part of the strategy of Mississippi Stud.

How Mississippi Stud Plays Online

If you play Mississippi Stud online, you’ll find that the game plays much in the same way we’ve described here. However, there are a couple obvious differences that are worth going over.

First, there’s no actual deck of cards used to determine the results online. Instead, you’ll be playing with a random number generator. All reputable casinos use RNG systems that are fair and random, but it’s still a bit different than watching the dealer shuffle and deal out the cards. In addition, there’s no social element, as you’ll usually be playing alone. This makes the gameplay much faster, but can take away one of the entertaining elements of playing at the live table.

Best Strategy

Mississippi Stud strategy comes down to knowing when to fold, when to keep playing, and when to press your advantage and bet big. Check out our complete Mississippi Stud strategy guide for an in-depth look at how to win at this game.

Popular online variants

Portrait of a Female Croupier Looking at the Camera

There are also many variations on typical Mississippi Stud games online. A few of the most common are:

  • Live Versions – If you miss the social elements of the casino table, or you want to play with real cards, live dealer Mississippi Stud is for you! These games feature real dealers and casino equipment, which you’ll interact with via live video feeds.
  • Free-to-play versions – If you want to work on your Mississippi Stud strategy, get some practice in, or just play a bit for fun, playing for free is a great option.
  • Branded online variants – Some online casinos offer their own branded variants of Mississippi Stud, which can have slightly modified rules or unique features and side bets you won’t find elsewhere.

Play Mississippi Stud Using the Best Casino Bonuses

Now that you’ve learned the history of Mississippi Stud, we hope you might consider playing it online! One great way to get started is with the help of online casino bonuses, which can give you additional money to play with. There are even no deposit bonuses that don’t require any financial commitment from you at all, while still giving you the chance to win real money. If you’re interested in giving online casinos a try, take a look at our list of the best bonuses available in Canada.