QUESTION: I love to play the Three-Card Poker and Mississippi Stud Poker. On Three-Card it almost seems as if the best strategy is to just go blind on every deal. On Mississippi Stud sometimes it seems like you should just ride out the hand. So many times it seems as if the fifth river card will match one of your three cards and save your hand. But then again, some times it doesn't work out that way.
I was wondering if you could give me some ideas on strategies for the two games. Is one better than the other to play?
ANSWER: Mississippi Stud has been a game on the rise in the last couple of years. While Three-Card Poker remains the most popular poker-based table games outside the poker rooms, Mississippi Stud has been gaining ground, supplanting Caribbean Stud in many casinos.
In Three-Card Poker, if the original rules are in play and there’s an ante bet bonus of 5-1 on straight flushes, 4-1 on three of a kind and even money on straights, the house edge is 3.4 percent of your ante, or 2 percent of total action. There are bonus variations. With the lowest pay table, 3-2-1 instead of 5-4-1, the house edge is 4.3 percent of your ante or 2.6 percent of total action.
Mississippi Stud, with a potential of three rounds of betting after the ante, has a house edge of 4.9 percent of your ante, or 1.4 percent of total action. Assuming you start with the same ante, your average losses will be higher in Mississippi Stud because you’ll wind up with more money in play, but you also have a slightly better shot to win.
Basic strategy is easy in Three-Card Poker. Bet whenever you have Queen-6-4 or better, and fold lesser hands.
In Mississippi Stud, a five-card game with no dealer hand to beat, you ante, then each player gets two cards face down, and three community cards are dealt. After looking at your cards, you may bet one-to-three times your ante, with another round of betting after the first community card is turned up, and a third round after you see the second community card. Payoffs are according to a pay table that starts at a pair of 6s.
The strategy is a little more involved than that in Three-Card Poker. For a full analysis, check out Michael Shackelford's website, www.wizardofodds.com.
In the following basic strategy, a high card is a Jack or better, a middle card is 6 through 10 and a low card is 2 through 5.
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