7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Poker Rules
Is one of the most popular types of poker games and first appeared around the American Civil War. 7 Card Stud varies greatly from Texas Holdem and Omaha. It requires a lot of analyses and can be similar to a jigsaw puzzle. 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo (otherwise known as Eight-or-Better) is a very interesting game where you can win half of the pot even if the highest card you have is an 8.
The object of the game is similar 7 Card Stud and it is to win the pot by making the best hand using seven cards dealt to each player, there are no community cards in the centre of the table. Each player must make a winning 5 cards hand by using any of the cards dealt, face up or down. The difference with 7 Card Stud Eight-or-Better is that the players can also try to get the best five-card low hand.
The low hand must have five cards of different value no higher than 8, no pairs are allowed, any of the seven cards can be used. Straights and flushes are not considered when evaluating low hand.
Aces can be used as both a high card and a low card.
In 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo the pot is usually split between the player holding the best high hand and the player holding the best low hand. Sometimes the player holding the best low hand may have the best high hand as well. In this case, this player will get the entire pot. 7 Cards Stud Hi-Lo games usually have high pots as players compete for both high and low hands.
Before any cards are dealt all players are required to post an ante bet which is put into the pot to start the action and give the players at the table an incentive to play. Antes are usually a fraction of the minimum bet.
Dealing cards and First Betting Round
Each player is then dealt two cards face down and one card face up, the face-up card is called the door card, or the third street. The player who holds the lowest exposed card is now required to place a bet of 50% of the minimum bet. This bet is called the bring-in. If two players have the same value low card then the suit of the card will be used to establish the lowest card. In 7 Card Stud the clubs card is considered to be the lowest, then diamonds, hearts and spades. The first betting round begins. The next player on the left from the player holding the lowest card is now required to act. He/she can match the bet of the bring-in (call), raise or fold the hand. In the first betting round players cannot check, i.e. not to make a bet and still stay in the game. If a player chooses to raise all the players who place their bets after must contribute at least the same amount of chips into the pot to stay in the game.
Second Betting Round
The dealer hands out the next card face up to each player. This card is called the fourth street. This time it is the player with the highest exposed card that must act first. The players can now choose to check (if no bets were yet made in this round), call, raise or fold their hands.
Third Betting Round
The third betting round is called the Fifth Street. Each player is given out the fifth card face up. Again the player with the highest exposed card is the first one to act. The players have a choice to check (if no bets were yet made in this round), call, raise or fold their hands. Betting amount from this round on, however, is double of the Fifth Street so in a $10-$20 game, the antes will usually be $3, bring in $5, full bet in the first two betting rounds $10 and minimum $20 from the third betting round.
Betting Round Four (Turn)
Betting Rounds Four is called the Sixth Street. One card is given to each active player face up. The bets can be placed by all active players still in the game. The first player to act is the player holding the highest open card. As in the previous rounds players can check (if no bets were made), call, raise or fold. The minimum betting amount in round five is the same as in round four.
Betting Round Five (River)
Betting Rounds Five is called the Seventh Street. The final card is given to each active player face down and the final bets can be placed by all active players still in the game. Again the first player to act is the player holding the highest open card. As in the previous rounds players can check (if no bets were made), call, raise or fold. The minimum betting amount in round six is the same as in rounds four and five.
If two or more players are still in the game by the end of the River betting round the showdown determines the winner. The players now reveal their cards to establish the winning hand. Any five of seven cards held by the player can be used. The player with the best hand and the player with the best low hand will split the pot. If there is no low hand the whole pot goes the player with the best high hand. The player, who acted last on the river, has to reveal his cards first. The other players can still choose to fold and not show their cards.
If there is only one active player at the end of the last betting round because all the other players have folded, the active player will win the pot. This player will not have to show his hand to the table.
It is possible for a player to have the best high hand and the best low hand at the same time. In this case, this player will get the entire pot.
There are three different types of 7 Card Stud betting structures
- No Limit. No Limit games have no maximum amount of the bet, so players can bet all their chips at any time. The minimum amount must be no less than the big blind. The raise must be greater than the last bet or raise in the same round. The number of raises is only limited to the number of player's chips.
- Pot Limit. In Pot Limit Games players can make maximum raise equal to the size of the pot. So if a player's call is $5 and the pot is $20, he may raise no more then $50. (His call of $5 would bring the pot to $25 and he may raise the amount equal to the pot of $25, so his raise is $25.)
- Limit. In Limit 7 Card Stud games players may bet a fixed amount for each betting round. The betting amount equal to the big blind for the first two rounds and double the amount in the third and the fourth. A maximum 4 bets are allowed in each betting round.