The basic rule for Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo is that there are two winning hands for each game: the highest hand, splits the pot with the lowest qualifying hand. To qualify for the low half of the pot, the low hand must be 8 or lower, which means the low hand cannot have a card higher than 8 in it. Ace plays both high and low. Hi/Lo game is played eight or better.
Another important thing to know about the low hands in eight or better games is that straights and flushes do not disqualify a hand for low. If you have the A-2-3-4-5 all of hearts, even though it’s a straight flush , it’s also a wheel, or the lowest possible hand. This hand would have an excellent chance of winning both ways.
7 Card Stud Hi-LO Rules
The rules for regular 7 Card Stud and Stud Hi/Lo are very similar, but the strategies for the Hi/Lo game are very different. To determine the best low hand, the highest low card is used. If two players share the same high card, then the next lowest card is used, and so on. If there are no hands qualifying as a low hand (i.e. every hand holds a card higher than an 8), the highest hand will take the whole pot.
Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo is played the same as regular 7 Card Stud with 2 to 8 players and a standard deck of fifty two cards. Unlike Texas hold’em, Seven Card Stud uses antes rather than blinds. Before each player is dealt cards, they must put an ante into the pot. This is a forced bet that everyone at the table must make. Antes vary depending on the limit of the game you are playing. Usually an ante is between five and ten percent of the games large bet. It is mostly played with fixed-limit betting, though sometimes people play it as a no-limit game.
The first betting round, begins with the “bring-in”, which is also referred to as the third street.
Third Street (The Bring in Bet):
After everyone antes, all players are dealt three cards. Two cards dealt face down to each player and one card dealt face up to each player
Fourth Street (The Second Round of Betting):
An face up card is dealt to each player, followed by a round of betting. For fourth street onward, the person with the best exposed hand begins the betting. (a tie is broken by position, with the player who received cards first acting first).
Fifth Street (The Third Round of Betting):
An face up card is dealt to each player again, followed by a round of betting. If the game is played in a fixed-limit format, this is where the big bet would kick in.
Sixth Street (Turn):
Sixth street is virtually identical to the fifth street, a face up card is dealt, the highest hand acts first, followed by a round of betting.
Seventh Street (River):
In the final round of betting, the dealer gives all remaining players one final card face down. Play begins with the player who has the highest ranking poker hand. Once all players have had the chance to act, there is a showdown
The last player to bet or raise must reveal their cards first. If all the players checked through (nobody bet) on the river, the player to the left of the dealer will show first and then all challenging players can choose to either muck their hand in the event they cannot win, or they can reveal their hand if it is the highest or lowest possible hand enough to take the pot. The dealer then determines the winning hands (best hi/lo 5-card hand out of the 7 cards the players have) and awards the player(s) the pot.
Uneven Split Pot:
If the pot doesn’t split evenly, the player with the highest hand takes the extra chips.