7-Card Stud Hi/Lo Rules
7-Card Stud is still a fairly popular game, most often played hi only, it has a hi/lo split version as well. Both the hi only and the hi/lo versions are available in most online poker rooms. Whether you’ll find any competition at these tables though, is another matter.
The only difference between Stud and Stud Hi/Lo is that in the latter version, the pot is split between the highest and the lowest hands. In Stud Hi/Lo, a hand only qualifies as a low one if it doesn’t have any cards higher than 8 in it. For that reason, the game is also known as Stud Hi/Lo 8 or better.
Anyway, here’s how the game goes:
In order to participate in a hand, the players need to place a compulsory bet called an ante. In Holdem, the compulsory bets are called “blinds” and only two people need to make them every round. In Stud, everyone needs to ante up before the cards are dealt. The antes are small though: they’re only about 10% of a small bet.
If you’re in a $10/$20 game, the ante will probably be $1.
After all players ante up, the dealer hands each of them 3 cards. Two of these are face down, the third one is face up. This card carries special significance because it will determine the person who needs to bring it in. The bring-in is another compulsory bet which acts as the catalyst for action in Stud games.
The player with the lowest face-card needs to bring it in. If two players happen to have the same lowest face-card, suit will be used to break the tie. Spade is the highest, followed by Hearts, Diamonds and Clubs.
After the bring-in, the first betting round commences. The action goes around in a clock-wise direction, and players will be able to call the bring-in, raise it or fold. If everyone folds, the single remaining player takes the pot.
After the first betting round is consumed, the dealer gives each of the players another face card. From this point onward, the betting will be started by the player with the best showing partial poker hand. He who has A,A showing on 4th street is sure to be the one to begin the betting as that’s the best possible two-card poker hand.
5th street is another face-up card, followed by yet another betting round. 5th street is significant because this is where the big bets kick in if the game is played fixed Limit (which it usually is).
6th street is yet another face-card, followed by another betting round. 7th street is the 3rd and final hole card for each player, followed by the last betting round.
Because 7-Card stud requires many cards to play, in the eventuality of the dealer running out of cards to dispense by 7th street, a single community card will be used for 7th street, which all players will consider as one of their own cards.
After 7th street comes the showdown. The player with the highest 5-card poker hand (which he can makes using his 7 cards in any combination) wins the pot, that is if there’s no qualifying low. If there is a qualifying low (a 5-card hand in which none of the cards is higher than 8), the pot will be split.
It is possible to scoop the pot (to win both the high and the low halves of it). A hand like the bicycle (A,2,3,4,5) which makes the nut low, is also a nice high hand as it makes a straight. The high and low hands a player shows down don’t have to use the same 5 cards. Low hands cannot contain paired cards.
As in any hi/lo split game, the ultimate goal of every player is to scoop the pot. The pot is raked before it is awarded to the winner. To cut back on the effects of the poker rake, sign up for a rakeback deal like the NoiQ Poker rakeback or the ongame rakeback. These deals will offer you a nice rebate on the poker rake you generate.