Had tickets for the U2 Joshua Tree concert in St. Louis on Saturday night but it got cancelled because of the riots. U2 concerts don’t matter, apparently. The stone set in my eyes, and a thorn twisted in my side. Well, by sleight of hand and a twist of fate, I got a call from Mr. Blue saying he was headed for the casino in Michigan City. With nothing to win and nothing left to lose, Ava and I headed for that jewel on Lake Michigan, in the shadow of a nuclear reactor, to meet up with Blue.
So I get there and Blue is into this table game Mississippi Stud, and teaches me how to play. I lost my ass, but I was HOOKED. I downloaded a Mississippi Stud app on the iPad machine, and was up all night Sunday deciding whether to triple up the odds on 3d, 4th and 5th street. Since that abortion on Saturday night, I have played thousands of hands on the computer, and have figured out EXACTLY where I went wrong, and how I will defeat this motherfucker in the future, and by the future I mean in a week and a half when SeaDick, Irish Jesus, Mongo, Kool, Keckie, and allegedly Captain and Butthead, descend on Vegas. So herein I give myself away, I give myself away, and describe how you too will defeat Mississippi Stud, like I will, in a week and a half in Vegas.
First off, let me dispel the notion that Mississippi Stud is a sucker game, as SeaDick will inevitably allege, because he doesn’t like to have fun. MS is like blackjack. You must play optimally, making the right decision based on the cards shown. If you don’t play optimally, then yes, you are fucked, as I was on Saturday night. If you do play optimally, and that is a big IF, the odds in favor of the casino are 4.92%. Sure, that is worse than Craps, which can be close to a 0% house advantage with long odds behind the line, and blackjack with less than a 1% house advantage if you play PERFECTLY, but it is not bad. And better than the HARD EIGHT on the craps table, which is a 9.09% house advantage.
But, you have to know how to play the game, which takes about five minutes to learn. The basics are you ante, and then get two cards, and then the dealer flops three community cards, one at a time, like Texas Hold Em. You decide after each card whether to fold or stay in, but to stay in, you must bet at least the same amount as the ante, with the option of betting three times the ante on each bet. At the end, you have 5 cards, and your hand pays out the following, on both your ante and your three bets along the way:
So the fun part of the game is that as soon as you know you have a winner, or even a push, you hammer the fuck out of the 3d, 4th and 5th street bets, knowing that you got a sure winner (or at least a push), with the possibility of trips or two pair that will really pay off big.
For example, lets say you ante $10, and then draw a pair of jacks. The three dealer cards are down at this point. No matter what the dealer cards are, you can’t lose. Whatever you bet, you are getting paid at least 1:1. On third street you bet $30, hoping for another jack. Nope, its a 6. So what, hammer it again, $30 on 4th street. Dealer turns an Ace. Hammer it again 5th street, hoping for a best case trips jacks that will pay 3:1 on a $100 total bet, or a two pair on a 6 or Ace, that pays 2:1. Well shit fire, its a JACK. You get paid $300 on the $100 bucks out there.
Doesn’t always work out like that, of course. Most of the time you are sitting on 4th street with a king-queen, and the dealer showing a 4, and wondering dafuq do I do now??? Should I stay or should I go now? Well that’s where I come in.
When I first played on Saturday, I was playing conservatively, waiting for the pat hands where I could hammer the bets and see all the dealer’s cards. If my early cards didn’t look good, I was done, and would not keep betting. After getting home and researching the stats, and then playing thousands of hands on the iPad machine, it turns out that is EXACTLY the wrong way to play. The key is you have to keep playing, and dumping money on the 3d, 4th and 5th street bets. The key is the middle cards, 6 through 10, that push your bet if you pair them up. Often, you end up with $30 in the game, and absolute shit on the table, but you have to drop another $10 to protect the bet so far, with the best case being a fucking push where all you do is get you money back.
That’s how the casinos make money on this game. If you fold early, like a reasonable person, you will lose in the long run. You will just get drained over time, which is what happened to me Saturday night, because you are losing $10 or $20 every hand, and you aren’t there for the paydays.
You have to stick around on shit hands, even where the best you can do is push. That is the only way to be there in the long run when the two pair or trips drop, which pay off big. Note that this will be expensive, which isn’t obvious at the start. First, you are playing a $10 ante card game. Next thing you know, you have dropped $40 or $50 three hands in a row and you are looking for another hundred to keep yourself in the game. On a $10 ante, you will have $200-$300 swings, or more, as a matter of course, so be prepared for that.
Ok, so here is how you play Mississippi Stud.
First off, think of the middle cards 6-10 as 1 point. If you pair those cards, you push. Count the over cards J-A as 2 points. If you pair those cards, you get paid even money on all your bets, which will be considerable when you have bet every round. The middle cards are good, but the over cards are great. Just think about pairing those cards, and all else becomes clear. It can be better, but the only thing you can control is knowing how much to bet in anticipation of pairing the middle cards, or better yet, the over cards.
Secondly, as soon as you pair a middle or over card, hammer a 3X max bet for all the rest of the potential bets. That’s obvious, even for idiots. A pair of 6-10 will push, so you are dumping your money in there with no risk of losing anything, and hoping for that third 7, or two pair. Better yet, your over pair will already get paid, and you are hoping to get paid even more.
Assuming you don’t have a pair, and you probably don’t, count up your middle and over cards, 1 for the middle, 2 for the over. If you have at least as many points as the cards you can see, then bet 1X. Stay in. Remember, that is playing your 2 cards and the dealer’s up cards at the time.
Examples. On first two, you gotta A-4 (2 pts)–stay in; 7-8 (2 pts)–stay in; 9-4 (1 pt)–get out. With three cards showing, you gotta K, 6, 2 (3 pts)–stay in; 10, 9, 4 (2 pts)–get out. With 4 cards showing, it gets harder, and takes some stones, but same formula applies. You gotta Q-7-8-4 (4 points) stay in; J-K-4-5 (4 pts)–stay in. A-8-4-2 (3 pts)–get out.
Other than that, the only thing that regularly comes up is when you get a low pair (pair of 2-5) on the draw, or a low pair any time as cards are coming, and nothing else worthwhile. The book says stay in no matter what. If the low pair comes up first two cards, hammer it 3X, but on 4th and 5th street, 1X only.
Occasionally, on 4th street, you will have 4 to a flush. Hammer it 3X. You will probably lose, but bet it anyway, or go home. Same goes for an outside straight. For a gut shot straight, go 1X.
Finally, on 3rd street, with no other rules keeping you in the game, you will sometimes have straight flush potential. A straight flush pays 100 to 1! So let’s say you end up with $40 in there, that will pay $4,000, if my math is correct, and it always is. I know what I would do, but you do you.
Here’s the rules if you forget. Learn them, know them, live them.