Mississippi Stud: What's Going On With Those Ante Bets?


I just received an email from an AP in which he told me about a play he has against Mississippi Stud (MS) that is almost beyond belief. He told me that the dealer does not collect his Ante bet if he folds pre-Flop. The dealer does collect the Ante if the AP makes a Flop wager, so from the Flop on, it's just MS played the normal way. But, there's more. This AP also told me that he can see the Flop hole-card! That is, not only is he allowed to fold pre-Flop without losing his Ante, he also knows the first card that's going to be exposed! Could it get any better?


This AP asked me to analyze this for him. He told me that we hole-carded 3CP together at the Barbary Coast back in 2003, which is completely believable to me. I told him in response to his email that I would be glad to do the analysis, but I would post it here. I hope that whatever casino this is happening at, and whoever the dealer is, gets the news really fast. Because this is big.


Here is the e-mail I received:


Email about Mississippi Stud


Here are the edges this player is getting:

  • A pre-Flop fold is a "push" and no hole-card gives the AP an edge of 51.5323% over the house.

  • A pre-Flop fold is a "push" and seeing the Flop hole-card gives the AP an edge of 133.0459% over the house.


Strategy When No Hole-Card Observed


Here are the hands that should NOT be folded pre-Flop with the fold=push rule. The AP should fold all other hands. Correct strategy with these hands is the same as basic strategy. Pairs should be raised 3x. All other hands should be raised 1x.



  • All pairs should be raised 3x.



  • J/7, J/8, J/9, J/T

  • Q/8, Q/9, Q/T, Q/J

  • K/9, K/T, K/J, K/Q

  • A/T, A/J, A/Q, A/K



  • Q/J

  • K/J, K/Q

  • A/J, A/Q, A/K


Strategy When Hole-Card Observed


For the hole-card strategy, here are the hands to play. The raise wager (1x or 3x) is the same as hole-card strategy, as given in this post.

  • Any pair

  • Any 3-card straight flush, 3/4/5 or higher.

  • Any 3-card one-gap straight flush, 3/4/6 or higher.

  • Any 3-card two-gap straight flush, 6/7/T or higher.

  • Any 3-card flush with two high cards (J-A) and one mid-card (6-T).

  • J/Q/K unsuited


I get a fair number of emails like this; AP's who have a play who want me to do the analysis. I think APs realize now that if they ask the question then I'm going to post. With the "burn it" mentality in the modern AP community, most don't care if the play survives for another AP.  This kind of "turf war" attitude is the norm. As Abram Alexander wrote in "Advanced Tactics in Casino Advantage Play,"


I have been told that in days past, there existed an "us vs. them" mentality among advantage players, leading them to cooperate with each other, because they perceived the casinos as a common enemy. In such a climate, rivals would be easy to deal with, because they would almost certainly be open to cooperation and sharing. I can say this is not the case anymore. There is no honor or agreement to be had among rivals anymore, and the competition can be quite fierce. Each team usually plays according to its own rules and interests; there are no industry standards for how to deal with other advantage players. Some rivalries are so bitter that they involve players ratting each other out to surveillance or the pit.




My attitude about all of this is that a player needs to take whatever she can get, whenever she can get it, and guard closely any knowledge that she has of a great opportunity. She cannot rely on any type of equitable arrangement from other players or other teams; they are hustlers by trade, and they will undoubtedly seek to get an advantage over her as well. A motto that one of the elders in the hole-carding world has uttered to me on a few occasions is, "If I'm here, I'm playing."


When I recently wrote my thoughts on advantage players and how much they dislike the casino industry (see this post), I forgot to mention how much APs dislike each other.