Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules
Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo (also called Seven Card Stud Eight or Better) is a popular poker variant that you will find often in both live casinos and on the Internet. It’s commonly played in high stakes games, but you can also occasionally find low stakes games, especially online.
Many mixed format games include Seven Card Stud 8/B in their lineup. In the popular H.O.R.S.E. mixed game, Seven Card Stud Eight or Better is represented by the letter “E.” If you would like to move your way into mixed games, it’s vital that you learn how to play Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo.
The game is played with the same rules as normal Seven Card Stud except each pot in the Hi-Lo version is split between the highest hand and the lowest hand. Every other aspect of the game, from the antes to the final betting round, is played the same as Seven Card Stud.
The player with the highest five card poker hand at the showdown wins the high half of the pot and the player with the best low hand wins the low half of the pot. High hands are ranked according to traditional poker hand rankings and low hands are ranked according to “8 or better” rules.
For a hand to qualify as “low” it must have five cards in it that are all eight or lower. Straights and flushes do not count against you, but pairs and high cards do. Aces can be ranked as either high or low.
The best possible low hand is A-2-3-4-5. Even though it contains a straight, it will still win the low half of the pot because straights do not count against you. In fact, a hand like A-2-3-4-5 could quite possibly “scoop” both halves of the pot.
Players can also arrange two different sets of five card hands in order to qualify for both the high and low half of the pot. If you have a hand like A-A-2-2-4-5-6, you could use the Aces and Deuces to make two-pair for the high half, and then use A-2-4-5-6 to go for the low half.
Every hand starts with each player paying an “ante,” which is a small bet that’s used to start each pot with a little money in it. The ante is usually equal to 10% of the lower betting limit.
The dealer now deals each player three cards, one at a time starting at the left and going clockwise around the table. Two of these cards are dealt face down and one is dealt face up.
The player with the lowest face-up card showing must start the betting by paying the “bring-in,” which is a forced bet equal to half of the lower betting limit. The betting then continues to the left, and each player may either call, raise or fold.
Except for the bring-in, all bets made in this round are made in increments of the lower betting limit. In a $5/$10 game, that would be $5 bets.
Each player receives one card face up. In this round and in all the following rounds, the betting begins with the player who has the best hand showing. This player has the option of betting, checking, or folding.
Each player receives one card face up, followed by another round of betting. From Fifth Street on, all bets are made in the upper betting limit.
Each player receives one card face up and there is another round of betting.
Each player receives one last card, face down. There is one last round of betting.
The players still in the hand now reveal their hands. The player with the best high poker hand wins half the pot and the player with the best low hand wins the low half of the pot.
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