Some kudos for Shuffle Master classic

I visit casinos often and mostly play craps, blackjack and video poker because they have the smallest house edge. Every now and again I like to shake things up when I’m in the casino and play games that have large jackpots but a larger house edge.
I recently found Mississippi Stud Poker when wandering around a casino looking for something different. Mississippi Stud is a variant of Shuffle Master’s similar to 3 Card Poker with long odds (house edge of almost 5%) and potential for big payouts.
The buy in for MSP is generally $5 and bets are paid for hands ranging from a push for a pair of 6’s or higher all the way to 500-1 for a royal flush. One of the fun things about the game is the ability to multiply your bet when you have a good hand.
When playing MSP you’re not playing the game against anyone and not against the casino. You’re just playing for good cards. Like 3 Card Poker, MSP is at its best if you just want to relax with some friends and have a couple drinks while gambling.
There’s little skill to playing the game and little strategy, though it’s there. First we have to learn the basics of the game.
You enter the game with an Ante bet and you’re dealt two cards. If you like your two cards you’ll place a 3rd street bet and the dealer turns a card. The process is the same for 4th and 5th streets. You have the option to raise up to three times your original bet or fold after each card is dealt.
This is where fun and strategy take place because if you’re dealt a winning or push hand you can increase the bet and maybe get an even better hand as more cards are dealt.
Because there are so many card options with Mississippi Stud optimal strategy is somewhat complex, but here’s a simple way to look at it starting with the 3rd street bet. You’ll stay in and place another bet on 3rd street if you have a suited 5/6, two mid cards or one high card.
If you have a pair you’ll raise three times, which is the maximum bet. On 4th and 5th streets your options open up as you are potentially closer to drawing straights, flushes and even a royal flush, but if you have a winning hand you’ll continue to increase your bet by three times.
MSP is a low key game mostly played by novice gamblers. Because of this the dealers are always helpful with providing basic strategy. Since your play doesn’t affect other players there is no reason for people to judge or comment on your play like they might when playing blackjack.
The low key nature of Mississippi Stud, simple play and potential for big jackpots are what makes this one of the more fun games to play in the casino.

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