7-Card Stud Hi-Low
The formats for regular Stud and Stud Hi/Lo are very similar, but the strategies for the Hi/Lo game are very different. The basic premise for Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo is that there are two winning hands for each game: the strongest (highest) hand and the weakest (lowest) hand split the pot.
The game itself is still played the same as conventional Seven-Card Stud. Each player is dealt two face-down "hole" cards and a face-up "door" card. The dealer then deals to each player in turn three more face-up cards and one more face-down card. The highest and lowest hand split the pot.
Here's where things get interesting. For a hand to qualify as a low hand it can't have any card higher than an eight. However, an ace counts as both a high card and a low card, so the best possible low hand is A-2-3-4-5.
You're probably thinking, isn't that a straight? And you'd be right, except that in Seven-Stud Hi/Lo any hand that qualifies for the low is not affected by straights or flushes. This creates an interesting situation because you can qualify for both the highest and the lowest hand in a game! If you win both, you will take the whole pot.
So, let's say it's your lucky day and you've been dealt the A, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of Spades. Your straight flush will (most likely) take the high hand and because neither straights nor flushes count in the low hand ranking, you've got the best possible low hand. Congratulations, you've just "scooped the pot," taking 100%.
Now, to determine the highest hand we'll use the standard hand rankings, which can be viewed on our Hand Rankings page. To determine the best low hand, the highest low card is used. If two players share the same high card then the next lowest card is used and so on.
If there are no hands qualifying as a low hand (i.e. every hand holds a card higher than an 8), the highest hand will take the whole pot.
The rest of the game play is the same as regular Seven-Card Stud.
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Basic Rules for Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo
Antes: At the beginning of every hand, each player must contribute a small bet called the ante. Antes are used as an incentive for players to play the hand, and build the pot.
The Stakes: In the Main Lobby's table list you may have noticed a "stakes" column. For each Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo game, the stakes dictate the bet and raise amount for each round of betting. The lower number is used for the first two rounds and the higher number for the last three.
Let's use a $5/$10 stakes example. In the first two rounds of betting both the bet and the raise must be $5 or more. The last three rounds have a bet/raise amount of $10.
The Cap: In Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo, each round of betting can consist of one bet and has a maximum of three allowable raises, known as the cap. If a bet is made, that bet can only be raised three times, after which all players must call or fold.
So you want to play some Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo. You've chosen your stakes and taken a seat at the table. What now?
Ante Up. All players must ante. If you want to play, you’ve got to pay.
The Pocket and the Door: Dealer deals each player in turn two face-down cards (the pocket), then a face-up card (the door.) After this, the first betting round and it starts with the bring-in.
The Bring-In: The player with the lowest showing door card must post the bring-in, a mandatory initial bet of usually half the smaller stake amount. The bring-in player has the option to increase this bet to the full small stake.
If two players are showing the same door card, we'll use the suit rankings to decide which card is weakest. The ranks of the suits are (strongest to weakest): Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.
The bring-in's purpose is much like the ante's: to encourage players to stay in a hand and build the pot.
To stay in the game, all players must call, raise or fold to the bring-in bet. Betting begins to the bring-in player's left and continues clockwise. If the bring-in opens with half the low stake, the first raise will complete the bring-in, raising it to the lower stake limit. Any raises after that must be the lower stake amount.
So, at our $5/$10 table, if a player brings-in with $2 and you want to raise him, you must raise $3 to complete the bring-in. Now any player that raises after you must raise $5.
Still with us? Great, now on to Third Street.
Third Street: After the bring-in bets have all been called, each player is dealt another face-up card, called "Third Street." Now the highest showing hand opens the betting round. If a pair is showing for any hand on Third Street that player has the option of doubling his (or her) bet amount and raising the stake for this betting round. Otherwise, Third Street bets and raises are limited to the small stake.
Let's say we're in our $5/$10 game and your facing cards show a pair. You now have the option of doubling the bet to $10 and if you do, any subsequent raises have to be the upper stake limit of $10. If you choose not to double up, the bet/raise amount stays at $5 for this round.
Fourth Street: Another face-up card is dealt to each player and high hand opens the betting round. For these last three rounds, the bet amount is now the higher stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).
Fifth Street: The fourth face-up card is dealt to each player and the high hand opens the betting round. For these last three rounds, the bet amount is now the higher stake ($10 in our $5/$10 game).
The River: The final card is dealt to each player face down, making a total of seven cards in each hand. Now the final betting round begins and as before, the highest showing hand starts the betting. The river bets are still limited to the upper stake of $10 in our $5/$10 game.
A special circumstance: At this point, you may be doing some math in your head and thinking seven cards x eight potential players equals 56 cards which is more cards than we have in the deck! To solve this issue, if all eight players are still in the game by the river, the dealer will flip a single community card in the middle of the table which can be used by all eight players to fill their hand.
The Showdown: OK, now all the bets have been called, and it's time to pay the winners. The last player to bet or raise during the final betting round (the river) will show their hand first. If all the players checked through (nobody bet) on the river, the player to the left of the dealer will show first. The remaining players' hands will be automatically revealed moving clockwise, unless a hand is weaker than the winning hand shown. In this case you'll have the option to show or muck (fold without showing). The highest and the lowest five-card hands split the pot. A player can use any five cards in their hand to win either the high, low or both. For a complete list of hand rankings, please consult the Hand Rankings page.
Buying the Pot: If during a betting round you make a bet and all players fold to you, then you've bought the pot. You have the option to show or muck your cards.
Uneven Split Pot: If the pot doesn't split evenly, the player with the high hand takes the extra chips.
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*All buy-ins are in USD.