Seven Card Stud Hi Lo

Although Stud was very popular before the inception of Texas Hold’em it can be difficult to find Stud poker games spread at a casino anymore, and the games that do still run are full of experienced Stud players that have been playing for a couple of decades or more, which is hardly an attractive proposition for new players looking to give this game a try.

That said, Stud poker variants are still regularly featured in mixed games, and H.O.R.S.E. (Hold’em, Omaha hi-lo, Razz, Stud, Stud 8 or better) is still a very common game that is played. With this in mind, here are some basic considerations you will need to think about when you are first getting your feet wet in stud 8 or better games.

How to Play Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo

Seven Card Stud hi lo plays exactly like Seven Card Stud except that the highest and the lowest hands shares the pot.

For the low hand to qualify in 7 Card Stud hi lo or Stud 8 or better as it’s commonly called, it must consist of five different cards with all the cards of equal or lower value than 8. So, you must have an 8 high hand or lower for a chance to win the low portion of the pot.

If two or more players have qualifying low hands in Seven Card Stud hi/lo poker, the high cards are compared, and if those are the same, the second high cards in each hand are compared to determine the best low hand and this player is awarded half the pot.

So, for example, if a player had 8-6-5-4-2 this is referred to as having “eight-six” and will beat an “eight-seven” such as 8-7-5-4-A, since the second high card is lower. Even though the Ace is the lowest possible card, you must first look at the highest card in the hand to determine the best qualifying hand.

Seven Card Stud hi lo, the lowest possible hand is A-2-3-4-5. The second lowest hand is A-2-3-4-6, the third lowest will be A-2-3-5-6 and so on and so forth.

It is actually possible to have more than one low hand winner. In this situation whereby two or more players share the same low hands, then the low half of the pot is split between them..

Flushes and straights do not affect the low value of a hand, so a hand like A-2-3-4-5 all of the same suit will the majority of the time scoop the pot (win the whole pot). This hand will give you a nut low and a 5 high straight flush.

When playing Seven Card Stud hi lo, if there is no qualifying low hand, than the best high hand scoops the pot.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Strategy

Seven Card Stud hi lo is a tougher game mentally than most other poker games. In order to be successful at this game, you must study each players hand and remember most of the cards that have been folded, understanding how it affects your chances as well as your opponent’s chances of making hands. With Stud 8 or better, like any poker game, being one based on misinformation, doing well in this game is all about using what information you do have at your disposal and using this knowledge to your advantage.

Going for a low hand in an attempt to win the low and high portions of the pot is usually a good strategy. Hence, the reason why a lot of the premium starting hands in 7 Card Stud hi lo have low cards with a value lower than 9 in them.

Generally, it pays to keep players in the pot because you are usually competing for half of the pot, unless of course you are going for a high hand, in which case you should raise in order to make low draws fold.

Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo Starting Hands

Your goal playing Seven Card Stud hi lo is to scoop the pot (win all of the chips in the pot), so you only want to enter the pot with solid starting hands.

The best starting hands in Seven Card hi lo poker are:

  • Three of a kind (A-A-A through to 2-2-2).
  • Three different cards of the same suit (flush) with a lower value than 9.
  • Three cards to a straight. All cards with a lower value than 9. The lower the high card, the better the hand.
  • Small pair with a small side card (3-3-5).
  • One gap three straight (2-3-5) or (2-4-5). All cards lower than 9.
  • Any three cards that are 8 or lower (2-6-8).