Poker in Mississippi

Introduction

Population: 2,976,000

Capital: Jackson

Currency: United States Dollar ($)

Time Zone: UTC-6

State Name Abbreviation: MS

Casinos with Poker

  • Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
  • IP Casino Resort Spa
  • Pearl River Resort
  • Hollywood Casino Tunica
  • Horseshoe Tunica

 

 

Mississippi is arguably the most important location in early poker history. However, it’s the river, not the state.

In the early 19th Century the new card game was first started to be played in the New Orleans area. The oldest version of it was 5-Card Draw with a 20-card playing deck (10’s through Aces of the four suits). Passengers traveling from the Louisiana town up the Mississippi River on steamboats started playing it on the bar rooms of the ships. That is how the new card game spread across America.

When it comes to the history of gambling in Mississippi state, that too dates back hundreds of years with the Native American tribes living in the area. These tribes, among other smaller ones, included the Choctaw and the Chickasaw. They would wager money on “stick ball” (“ishtaboli”, in Indian languages), an ancient ball game. This activity was much akin to today’s sports betting – spectators could bet on which team would win the game.

Slot machines became widespread in hotels along the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the 1950’s. However, some religious folks didn’t take too kindly to that. So, they started to pressure local law enforcement to shut these establishments down by force, citing a 1942 Mississippi law as justification. While they did not succeed in closing these hotels, they made enough of a noise to dissuade many people, especially locals, from visiting them.

As for modern casino gambling, it was legalized in the state in 1990. The Silver Star Casino was first to open in 1994 in Philadelphia, MS.. 

As of now, gambling is still legal in Mississippi, as long as it takes place in a licenced casino. Worldcasinodirectory.com lists 36 of these establishments in this state. According to the same site, 13 of them have poker rooms.

Also, here’s a fun tidbit in the end. A “Mississippi straddle” is when any player (apart from the blinds) can put up a straddle, which is an additional blind raise before the pre-flop action. In other games with “regular” straddle, only the UTG player can do so, then other players can re-straddle in order. Action always starts to the left of the straddle.

Famous Mississippian Poker Players

Timothy Burt has $1.284 million in live tournament earnings. He is from Grenada, MS.

In August 2016, Burt came in 3rd in the $5,250 No Limit Hold’em – SHRPO Championship event at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, FL. He won $310,000, which is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date. He’s also cashed in the WSOP Main Event an impressive 4 times in 2014, 2015, 2016 (three times in a row!), and 2019.

Tyler Smith from Smithdale, MS has $1.209 million live cashes. In 2017, he won his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $565 Pot Limit Omaha event for $224,344. That is also his biggest live tournament score to date.

As for online poker, a player playing under the screen name “Slurpslurp” from Mississippi has cashed for just under $129,000 in online MTT’s on Americas Cardroom.

 

– Playing Live Poker in Mississippi –

   Live Poker Legislation in Mississippi

As we wrote in our intro, commercial casino gaming has been legal since 1990 in Mississippi. That year, the State Congress passed the Gaming Control Act.

That piece of legislation established the Mississippi Gaming Commission, which is in charge of licencing and regulating land casinos within the state to this day. It consists of three commissioners, an executive director, and 14 senior staff members.

The gambling law currently in effect can be read in Title 75, Chapter 76 of the Mississippi Code and Title 87 of the Mississippi Gaming Control Act.

  Live Poker Venues in Mississippi

At the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, MS, you can play cash games on a number of different stakes. They have No Limit Hold’em tables on $1/$3, $2/$5, and $10/$20 stakes; a Limit Hold’em table on $4/$8 stakes; Pot Limit Omaha tables on $5/$5 and $5/$10 stakes; as well as a Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better table with $10/$20 blinds. They also offer a daily $100 NLHE tournament, starting at noon every day.

The IP Casino Resort Spa is also located in Biloxi. They too have a poker room which offers No Limit Hold’em, Limit Hold’em, and Pot Limit Omaha cash games.

The Pearl River Resort in Choctaw, MS is home to the semi-annual Pearl River Poker Open. It’s a homegrown tourney series, usually taking place in the spring and the fall. The buy-ins range from $125 up to $1,100, with a $600 Main Event.

The Hollywood Casino in Tunica, MS also has a running poker room. Unfortunately, there’s very little information available on their website about their room. All we know is that they have Hold’em and Omaha poker in their game selection. They also have Mississippi Stud, a version of poker named after “the Hospitality State”. It’s one of those game types that you play against the house, not other players.

The Horseshoe Tunica, owned by Ceasars Entertainment, hosted WSOP Circuit events in 2020. Their year-round poker room puts on 1 or 2 tournaments a day, with buy-ins ranging from $30 up to $165.

– Casinos and Poker Rooms in Mississippi –

Beau Rivage Resort & Casino

IP Casino Resort Spa

Pearl River Resort

Hollywood Casino Tunica

Horseshoe Tunica

  Online Poker in Mississippi

Sadly, all internet gambling is illegal in the state of Mississippi.

This is a quote from the FAQ page on their Gaming Commission’s website:

“Internet gambling is illegal under state law. Online sites may advertise they are ‘legal’ and ‘licensed’ forms of gaming. They may be legal or licensed where the bets are received, but it is illegal to place bets from Mississippi with these businesses.”

The local sports bettors can have the most hope for a welcome change. In early 2017, the state legislature passed a fantasy sports bill (House Bill No. 967), making the quasi-gambling pastime activity legal on the internet. Some optimists took this as a sign of good things to come. However, since then, no such luck for Mississippian gamblers.