Online Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo (8 or better)

Online Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo is a variant of Seven Card Stud. If you need a quick refresher on the basics of Seven Card Stud, click here.

Online Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo is a poker variant in which the pot is split between the holder of the highest hand and the holder of the lowest hand if that low hand is topped by no worse than an 8. If that restriction is not met, the entire pot goes to the holder of the highest hand. Also, the same hand can win both the high and the low half of the pot. See the Hand Rankings page to see how low hands are determined and what beats what.

The game is also called Seven Stud high-low, Seven Card Stud 8-or-better, Seven Card Stud Split, or Seven Card Stud/8. This game should be familiar to those who have played only in home games.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Rules

Just as in the high version of Seven Card Stud, each player starts with two hole cards and one upcard, and then the dealer gives each active player three more upcards, and then a final downcard. Thus each player ends up with seven cards, four face up and three face down. The difference between Seven Card Stud high and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo is that in Seven Card Stud  Hi/Lo each player can potentially have two different hands, a high hand and a low hand. Each player forms a five card high hand by using five of his seven cards. Each player forms a five card low hand by using five of his seven cards. Both the high hand combination and the low hand combination can use the same set of five cards, but they don't have to; in fact, usually they would not. For example, if your seven cards are Kh 8h 5c 4h 3h 2s Ah, your high hand is Ah Kh 8h 4h 3h, an ace-high flush, while your low hand is 5c 4h 3h 2s Ah, a wheel. Here is a hand that uses the same five cards for low and for high: Ks Qh 8s 7d 6c 5h 4c. The high hand is an 8-high straight and the low hand is 8-7-6-5-4.

Ante

Each new hand of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo begins with each player putting an ante into the pot. The ante is a payment into the pot before cards are dealt for the purpose of stimulating action. For example, in a $2/$4 limit game, the ante is 40 cents. Each player must ante each hand to receive cards.

When you first sit down at a table, you get dealt in immediately, after being prompted to ante. Since Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo does not have blinds, you do not have to wait.

When the antes are in place, the dealer distributes two cards face down to each player and then one card face up, starting with seat 1. The two downcards are called hole cards. You can tell which are your hole cards and which your upcard, because the hole cards are situated lower than the upcard. You can see the upcards of all the other players, and they can see your upcard.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, as any form of poker, is about betting. Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo has five betting rounds. The sizes of the bets depend on the structure of the game.

Third Street

On the first round (known as third street), the betting starts with the player having the lowest upcard. This bet is a forced bet. The bet must be at least a specified minimum, in which case it is called the bring-in, but can be more. The bring-in is usually one-fourth the lower limit. If two or more players have the same rank of upcard, who must make the bring-in is determined by suit, in reverse bridge order (clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades). This is one of the few times that suits have any bearing in poker. For example, if three deuces appear on the first round in this order, 2s, 2h, 2d, the holder of the 2d would be required to make the bring-in bet.

At this stage you have two options:

  • Open for the bring-in
  • Complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit

You choose your action by clicking in a dialog box. While you can always complete the bet, you will find that players usually open for the minimum. If everyone folds, you win the antes, and the next hand is dealt.

Normally everyone would not fold for a bring-in, however.

If you open for the bring-in, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Complete the bet, that is, increase the bet to the lower limit

If you or anyone else completes the bet, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

Each player in turn has the same three choices. If there has been a raise, each player who chooses to continue must either call the total bet thus far or raise. As you evaluate your cards, realize that since this is a Hi/Lo split game, good cards can be low cards as well as high cards. You want to end up with a hand that is best for either high or low and, ideally, one that can win both high and low (scoop the pot). If you are trying to build a low hand, cards 9 and higher lessen your chances. Compared with Omaha Hi/Lo, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo has a greater proportion of pots split between high and low on the showdown. An Omaha Hi/Lo pot can have a low only if at least three of the community cards are 8 or lower and even then, it sometimes happens that no player can make a low. In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, however, since a player can use any five of his seven cards, the likelihood of a low hand is often quite high.

Fourth Street

Once the betting for the first round is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to fold or match the total betting, the dealer deals each active player a second upcard (fourth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting.

The only betting difference between Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo and Seven Card Stud is that in Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo the appearance in anyone's board of a pair on fourth street does not offer an optional increase in the betting limit. In Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, the first two betting rounds are always at the lower limit and the last three always at the higher limit.

In all rounds after third street, the player first to act has two choices:

  • Check, that is, make no bet
  • Make a bet at the proper limit for that round

If no one bets, each player in turn has the same choices. It is possible in every round except third street for no betting to occur. No betting in a round is called being checked around.

If anyone bets, each succeeding player has three choices:

  • Fold
  • Call, that is, match the bring-in
  • Raise, that is, increase the preceding bet

A player who checks retains his cards. If someone bets, when the action returns, a player who previously checked has the preceding three choices. To check and then raise when the betting returns is known as check-raising. If you check with the intention of raising, you of course risk the possibility that no one will bet.

Fifth Street

Once the betting for fourth street is equalized, that is, once everyone has had an opportunity either to check or match the total betting for the round, the dealer deals each active player a third upcard (fifth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on fifth street are at the higher level.

Sixth Street

Once the betting for fifth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a fourth upcard (sixth street). Players still in the hand participate in a round of betting. The bets on sixth street remain at the higher level.

Seventh Street

Once the betting for sixth street is equalized, the dealer deals each active player a final card, face down (seventh street or the river card). Players still in the hand participate in a final round of betting. The betting proceeds exactly the same as the three previous rounds.

Showdown

Once the betting for seventh street is equalized, the betting is over, and there is a showdown. Remaining active players show their cards. The best high hand, comprised of the best five cards from among each player's seven, wins half the pot. The best low hand (as long as one qualifies by consisting of five different cards 8 or lower), comprised of the best five cards from among each player's seven, wins half the pot. The software determines the winning hands, and awards half the pot to the holder of each hand. If no hand qualifies for low, the software awards the entire pot to the holder of the highest hand. If the same player's set of seven cards consists simultaneously of the best high hand and the best low hand, the software awards the entire pot to the holder of that hand.

If the betting is not equalized on seventh street, that is, one player bet or raised and no one called, there is no showdown, and the software awards the pot to the player who made that uncalled bet. This is the case on any previous street, as well. If it happens on earlier streets, no further cards are dealt, because the hand is over.

Sometimes a player runs out of chips before all the betting is over. In such case, one or more side pots are created, and the software awards appropriate main and side pots. When a player is all in, a bet or raise can be made that is not called, but a showdown still takes place.

Players often do not show losing hands. You are entitled, however, to see any cards that were active at the showdown even if they were not shown. Click on “Show previous hand” to bring up a new window that shows the results of the last hand and all the active cards.

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