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How do you play no-limit seven-card stud? What is Mississippi Stud?

Author: David Zanetti
Last updated: Mar 2000
Copyright © 2004 David Zanetti
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here.

It isn't practical to play classic seven-card stud with no-limit betting, but here is a game called mississippi seven card stud, which can. Deal the start cards as for conventional seven-card stud, two down, one up; then deal each active player two more upcards, then a fourth upcard, then a fifth upcard. In other words deal the cards 3-2-1-1 instead of 3-1-1-1-(1).

Mississippi is more suited to half-pot, pot-limit and no-limit betting than seven-card stud for two reasons: The four round structure is less crippling financially than five rounds, and the fact that only two hole cards out of seven are concealed means that hands as small as trips of the biggest card showing can be the absolute nuts at the end. Similarly, a straight or flush is the absolute nuts if none of your opponents have paired their board, and aren't showing three cards to a possible (bigger) straight or flush. In seven-card stud (with it's third hole-card) trips, straights and flushes can never be the nuts at the end because your opponent could have quads or a full house without showing a pair, or a (bigger) straight or flush if they have two cards to a straight or flush showing.

Mississippi also plays well as a limit game. It's faster and more active than seven-card stud because the two card individual flop not only speeds up the game, it is better value than taking the cards one at a time, and you get more callers at every round on average as a result. Mississippi can be dealt with the last card down for limit betting if you prefer it that way.

If you like mississippi, the layout also works very well with an extra hole-card, a form called murrumbidgee stud: the deal is the same as mississippi except everyone gets three hole-cards to start: only two of the hole cards can be used at the end. Hands like (3s,Kc,Ac)3c, have a lot of ways to improve: you'll make the flush 20% of the time by the end, and there are eight cards which give you at least kings up. (9s,Jc,Qc)10c will make either a straight or a flush over 40% of the time by the end, and if you flop Ko,8c or Kc, 8o, you have a twenty-three way straight and flush draw. A king or an eight on the flop, plus one club, gives you a twenty way straight and flush draw. There is plenty of action in murrumbidgee, making it an excellent short-handed game: it can be dealt for up to six players at time.

Disclosure: the writer invented mississippi in mid 1998 and murrumbidgee in early 1999.