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The rules of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo

Introduction

In this article we will cover
  • The rounds of betting
  • How to make a Hi hand and Lo hand
  • How the pot is paid out at the showdown

Stud Hi/Lo, or Stud8, is one variation of Stud poker: instead of using community cards, each player is dealt seven cards (four face up, three face down), from which he must make his hand. In Stud8, a player makes two hands, one Hi and one Lo.

This article will familiarize with the rules of the game. You will learn...

  • ... how the game is played.
  • ... how the betting rounds develop.
  • ... how to make a Hi and a Lo hand.
  • ... how the pot is paid out at the showdown.

The betting rounds from the 3rd to 7th Street

THE THIRD STREET

All players post an ante

Unlike Texas Hold'em, Stud8 is generally not played with blinds, but rather with antes. An ante is a certain amount that each player at the table puts into the pot before the cards are dealt.

The ante will usually be between 1/5 and 1/10 of the Small Bet, although there are exceptions.

Each player is dealt three cards

At the start of the round, each player is dealt three cards, two face down and one face up. Those dealt face down are called hole cards, pocket cards, or down cards. The card dealt face up is called the up card or the door card.

The betting begins

The player with the lowest door card opens the round. If two players have a door card of the same value, the suit comes into play. The suits rank from lowest to highest: Clubs , Diamonds , Hearts and Spades . Note: The suits only have value in the first round of betting.

Let's look at the example below. Player A would open the round; his three is clearly lower than the other door cards.

Player A
 
Player B
 
Player C

Unlike in Texas Hold'em, the player with the lowest door card cannot fold; he is forced to make a bet. The so-called Bring-in is the minimal amount that must be put into the pot.

The Bring-in will usually be half of the Small bet. Let's look at an example of a game with a $1 ante, $20 Small Bet, $40 Big Bet and $5 Bring-in. The player must pay at least $5. He can, however, make a Small Bet. In this case, he "completes", which is a type of raise. Unlike Fixed Limit Hold'em, in Stud8 you can only raise the Small Bet once.

The game continues with the next player to the left - he now has the option of folding. If the player before him only paid the Bring-in, he can call or raise with a Small Bet. If a Small Bet has already been made, he may raise with another Small Bet.

The betting continues in clock-wise order until all players have folded or paid up. You should be familiar with the rest from Fixed Limit Hold'em. The main difference is the Bring-in and that the first raise is the "complete".

THE FOURTH STREET

Once the first round is finished, each player receives a fourth card dealt face up for all to see.

The next round of betting is opened by the player with the highest combination of cards showing. At this point, each player has two cards which can be seen by everyone.

The highest possible combination would therefore be a pair of aces. If no one has a pair, the high card determines the order of betting. This time the suits are not taken into consideration. If two players have equally high cards showing, for example two players have a pair of aces, the player closest to the dealer opens the round of betting.

In the example below, Player B would open the round of betting, as his pair of 8s is the highest combination.

Player A   Player B
 
Player C

The betting progresses in the same manner as in Fixed Limit: players can fold, check, bet or raise. In this round, the Small Bet is the amount that can be bet or raised.

THE FIFTH AND SIXTH STREET

In the next two rounds, all active players are dealt a card face up. The player with the highest combination of cards showing opens the round. Once the Fifth Street has been reached, bets and raises are limited to the amount of the Big Bet.

THE SEVENTH STREET

The final card, or river, is dealt face down. A final round of betting takes place opened by the player with the highest combination showing. The Big Bet is once again the amount that can be bet or raised.

Showdown

Usually a player uses five of his seven cards to make his hand, and the player with the best hand wins the pot. In Stud8, however, players have two chances to make the best hand: one Hi and one Lo.

The pot is split between the Hi half and the Lo half: the Hi half goes to the player with the best Hi hand, while the Lo half goes to the player with the best Lo hand. There is an exception, however: if no one has a Lo hand, the player with the best Hi hand wins the entire pot.

THE HI HAND

The Hi hand is determined by the classic poker hand rankings: High card, pair, two pair, three-of-a-kind, straight, flush, full house, four-of-a-kind, straight flush and royal flush.

The Hi half of the pot goes to the player with the best Hi hand. Should two or more players have the same best Hi hand, the Hi half is split between them.

If no player has a Lo hand, the Lo half of the pot goes to the player with the best Hi hand. There is a Lo pot only when there is a Lo hand as well.

THE LO HAND

To make a Lo hand in Stud8, you must have five cards, all of which must be an 8 or lower. Paired cards may not be counted twice, so if you have a pair of 2s you can only use one of them to make your five card Lo hand. Straights and flushes are not counted as such, but rather at face value only.

In a Lo hand, an ace is the lowest possible card and the best possible Lo hand, called the "wheel", is A2345. The most important thing to remember is that Lo hands are ranked based on the highest card, not the lowest. Take a look at the following example:

 

Player A   Player B

Who would win the Lo pot? The answer is Player B. The comparison begins with the highest card, the 8. Both players have this card, so the next highest card is evaluated. Here we see that Player B has a 5, whereas Player A a 6. Since 5 is lower than 6, Player B wins the Lo hand.

If more than one player has the same Lo hand, then they share the Lo pot, unless another player has an even lower Lo hand. A Lo hand can also be the winning Hi hand. The "wheel", for example, which is also a straight, could win the Hi half of the pot as well.

Conclusion

Here is a short summary of the way a hand in Stud8 is played:

  • All players post an ante.
  • Each player is dealt two cards face down and one face up.
  • The player with the lowest card opens the round of betting. The Bring-in is the minimal amount he can and must put into the pot. The maximum amount he may bet is the Small Bet (in which he "completes"). The game continues with the player to his left.
  • On the 4th Street, each player is dealt one card face up.
  • The player with the highest combination of cards showing begins the round. Each player can decide to either fold, call or raise the Small or Big Bet.
  • On the 5th and 6th Street, each player is dealt another card face up. The round continues with bets and raises limited to the amount of the Big Bet.
  • On the 7th Street, each player is dealt his final card face down, followed by another round of betting.
  • Once the showdown has been reached, players compare their Hi and Lo hands and the pot is (or can be) divided.

Those are the basics of Stud8. As a Hold'em player, you will need some time to get used to the progression of the game, but with a little practice you will develop a good feel for it.

The following article concentrates on playing the individual streets. It begins with 3rd Street, which is comparable to the "pre-flop" round of Hold'em: Click here for that article

 

Comments (2)

#1 mouse89, 03 Nov 08 20:58

ok<br />

#2 surfwell1818, 07 May 14 06:57

thanks