Updated In May, 2013 - 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo (8 or Better) is an intriguing poker variant of 7 card stud where the pot is often split between two winners; the highest hand and the lowest hand. However, there is not always a Low Hand winner because of the strict rules of Low Hand Development. Stud H/L is included in a majority of the mixed poker games played online so developing a basic understanding of how it is played is must. If 7 card stud and razz had it baby it would be 7 card stud hi-lo. This article covers the rules of seven card stud 8 or better and what you should do if you run out of cards. Stud h/l is always the "E" in mixed poker games. below I have added a list of games that include the stud poker variant.
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules - Objective
The object of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo is to use the 7 cards available to you throughout the hand to develop the highest ranking poker hand, the lowest ranking poker hand, or both. Winning the low and high hands is called Scooping the pot.
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules – Hand Development
The High Hand in 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo follows the standard poker hand rankings. The highest hand wins, period. However, the Low Hand must “Qualify” in order to even compete for the low hand half of the pot. A Qualifying Low Hand must following these specific rules of hand development:
- Aces are the lowest card (highest in High Hand only).
- Straights/Flushes don't count against you in the low hand.
- There may be no card higher than an 8.
- No pairs or better are allowed.
By these qualifying rules, the best and worst possible qualifying low hands are:
- Best: A-2-3-4-5
- Worst: 4-5-6-7-8
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7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules – Betting Structure
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo is primarily played in a Fixed Limit betting structure. Instead of the standard Blind Bets used in Hold'em poker games, 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo requires forced bets called the Ante and Bring-In. Fixed Limit: This betting structure limits players to exact bet/raise amount throughout a hand of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo. The exact amounts depending on the stakes and the current betting round. If the stakes are $2/$4, players must place bets/raises in $2 increments (the low bet) for the first two betting rounds. In the final three betting rounds, all bets/raises increase to $4 (the high bet).
Ante: All players must place an Ante Bet before the cards are dealt. The Ante can range anywhere from 10% to 25% of the low bet.
Bring-In: After the initial deal of cards, each player has 3 cards. The first two are face-down, but the third is face-up, called the Door Card. The player with the lowest Door Card places the Bring-In, equal to 50% of the low bet. If there is a tie for lowest card, lowest tying suit places the Bring-In. Suits rank lowest to highest Club, Diamond, Heart, Spade – easily remember because they are alphabetically ordered.
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules – The Deal / Sample Hand
Finally, we'll walk you through a sample hand of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo to depict how the Streets and betting rounds are performed. Please be aware that a hand will end immediately if all other players Fold, awarding the last remaining player the entire current pot. The hand begins with Ante bets, then the initial deal, where each player receives 3 cards. The first 2 cards are hole Cards, dealt face-down. The last is the Door Card. The player with the lowest Door Card places the Bring-In to kick off the first round of betting. The player left of the Bring-In may Bet the low bet, Raise the low bet, or Fold. He may not Call since the Bring-In is only half of the low bet. Betting continues around the table in this fashion. The Bring-In bettor will only need to add enough chips to his Bring-In to Call, Bet or Raise. Once all players have acted, each choosing to Call or Fold, the game continues.
4th Street: Each player is dealt a fourth card face-up. The second betting round begins. For the duration of the hand, the highest open hand showing will start each betting round.
5th Street: Each player receives a fifth card face-up. The third round of betting starts. All bet/raise amounts now increase to meet the high bet for the rest of the hand.
6th Street: Each player is dealt their sixth card face-up, followed by the fourth betting round.
7th Street: Each player receives their seventh and final card, this time face down. The fifth and final betting round follows.
The Showdown: All players who remain active in the hand will use 5 of their 7 cards to develop the highest possible hand. The strongest ranking poker hand wins half of the pot. Next comes the Low Hand. All active players who have a Qualifying Low Hand will compare their lowest 5 card hand, with the lowest winning the other half of the pot. Should no player Qualify for a low hand, the high hand winner scoops the entire pot. It is also possible for the same player to win High and Low hands.
Note: It is possible to run out of cards before the 7th Street can be dealt. At a full table of 8 players, where no one choose to fold, there won't be enough cards. In such cases, a single card is dealt face up to the center of the table. This becomes the 7th Street for all players.