Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo is a technically demanding poker game where the best traditional ‘high’ poker hand and the best Ace to Five lowball hand split the pot at showdown. In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo poker, players are individually dealt seven cards throughout the course of the hand, but only the best five-card hand possible for each player is used to determine the winner. Visit our Poker Hand Rankings page to see the ranking of hands for Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo.
In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, the low hand is played with an ‘eight or better’ qualifier, which means that a low hand must be, at worst, an eight-low to be eligible to win the low portion of the pot. (Low hands in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo are determined in the same way as in Omaha Hi/Lo). If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the entire pot.
Stud Hi/Lo uses the ‘Ace to Five’ or ‘California’ system for ranking low hands. Straights and flushes do not count against a hand, and Aces are always low, so the best possible hand is a "wheel": 5, 4, 3, 2, A. To help understand the ranks of low hands, the following sample qualifying low hands are ranked from least powerful (#1, will rarely win the low half of the pot) to most powerful (#10, the nuts):
Note that a low hand is always ranked from its highest card downwards. So for example, hand #9 is known as a ‘Six-low’ because its highest card is a Six. Hand #5 is a ‘Seven-low’, and Hand #1 is an ‘Eight-low’. In poker slang, you distinguish between close low hands by going further down the ranks, so hand #9 would be called a ‘Six-Four low’, which beats hand #8 a “Six-Five low”.
Also remember that straights and flushes do not count against your low hand, so making a qualifying low that is also a straight or a flush is a very powerful hand, that could win both the high and low halves of the pot. That’s called a ‘scoop’.
Before a game of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo begins, all players ante a nominal amount (the exact amount depends on the game, and is displayed in the table’s title bar).
Each player is initially dealt three cards, two hidden hole cards and one face up. The player with the lowest exposed card is the ‘bring-in’, and is forced to start the action. They must make either another nominal bet (again, the exact size of the bring-in depends on the game) or, if they choose, a full bet of the lower betting increment. Action continues clockwise around the table until betting is complete for the round.
Each poker player now receives another exposed card, called ‘Fourth Street’. The first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. By rule, this player may either check or bet. Unlike in Seven Card Stud, there is no double-sized bet allowed if a player makes a pair on Fourth Street – all bets are in the lower increment (eg, $1 in a $1/$2 game).
For example, a player showing a King high would act first, if no other player is showing an Ace high or better. This player may either check or bet the lower betting amount (eg, $1 in a $1/$2 game).
There is a round of betting.
Each player now receives another exposed card, called ‘Fifth Street’. Again by rule, the first player to act is the individual whose exposed poker hand has the highest poker value. There is a round of betting.
Starting on Fifth Street and for the rest of the hand, all bets and raises are in big bet increments (eg. $2 in a $1/$2 game).
Each poker player now receives another exposed card, called ‘Sixth Street’. Again, the first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. There is a round of betting.
Each player now receives a seventh and final card, which is dealt face-down and known only to the player to whom the card is dealt. The first player to act is the individual whose exposed cards have the highest poker value. There is a final betting round, and if more than one player remains, we reach the Showdown.
If there is more than one remaining player when the final betting round is complete the last bettor or raiser shows his or her cards first. If there was no bet on the final round, the player in the earliest seat shows his or her cards first (Seat 1, then Seat 2, and so on). Further hands involved in the Showdown are exposed clockwise around the table.
The player with the best five-card hand for the high (‘Hi’) wins half the pot, and the player with the best hand for low (’Lo’) wins the other half of the pot. In the event that no hand qualifies for low, the best hand for high wins the entire pot.
Remember that in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, there is an ‘eight or better’ requirement to win the low, so a player must have an unpaired five-card hand that consists of all cards less than or equal to an 8. If no player can meet this requirement, no low qualifies.
In the event of two or more players have the same high or low hands, the pot halves will be split accordingly.
After the pot is awarded, a new game of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo poker is ready to be played.
In Stud, as with other forms of poker, the available actions are ‘fold’, ‘check’, ‘bet’, ‘call’ or ‘raise’. Exactly which options are available depends on the action taken by the previous players. Each poker player always has the option to fold, to discard their cards and give up any interest in the pot. If nobody has yet made a bet, then a player may either check (decline to bet, but keep their cards) or bet. If a player has bet, then subsequent players can fold, call or raise. To call is to match the amount the previous player has bet. To raise is to not only match the previous bet, but to also increase it. Bets and raises in Limit games are in pre-determined amounts.
Seven Card Stud, played for high only, is also available at PokerStars.
PokerStars also offers Razz. In this variant of Stud, the entire pot is awarded to the best low hand, with no qualifier.
If you are familiar with Stud poker, then you should be able to pick up Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo fairly quickly. If you are unfamiliar with stud poker or Seven Card Stud, we recommend you try that poker game out first to get a feel for how the game is played. You are always welcome to play on our free poker tables at PokerStars, so that you can sharpen your skills before playing real money poker.
Finally, if you like to play other Hi/Lo variants, we recommend you check out Omaha Hi/Lo, which is a very popular poker game as well. Both games are a nice change of pace from the amazingly popular Texas Hold’em game, and they also are both available in our poker tournaments selection.
Good luck playing Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo!
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