7 Card Stud Hi-Lo: rules and premium card play

High-Low, "Hi-Lo" or less commonly known as "eight or better", is a variant of the traditional 7 Card Stud. Its dynamics is governed by the same principles, with the exception that the player is unable to make a large bet when there is an open pair on fourth street.

One of the elementary differences is that the High-Low modality is a split type game, that is to say, the pot between the highest hand and the lowest (hence the qualifiers high and low). The rules state that the lowest hand must be 5 cards lower than the unpaired 8.

7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Rules

  • The rules governing the operation of a game of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo are as follows:
  • You are not allowed to make a big bet if there is a pair uncovered on fourth street.
  • The objective is to scoop (win the entire pot).
  • The pot is split evenly between the highest bound hand and the lowest created hand.
  • It is allowed to use 5 cards of 7 to form the low, and 5 different cards for the high.
  • The ace acts, at the same time, as high card and low card. Each player can choose how to use it, according to his interests.
  • If no player has a hand lower than 8, the whole pot is won by the player who manages to tie the highest hand.
  • In the event of a tie, the pot is shared equally in its entirety.

7 Card Stud vs 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo

The main difference between 7 Card Stud poker and 7 Card Stud Hi - Lo online is that in the standard variant, the objective is only to form the best hand with a maximum of 5 cards out of the 7 cards that are dealt in total. Being a stud type game, it combines the use of covered cards with face cards to bind the hand.

On the other hand, in 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, the objective is not only to bind the best hand, but to do it in two ways: to form the best major hand and the best minor hand, with 5 of the 7 cards dealt and combining, at the same time, the use of covered cards and uncovered cards.

The rules keep the main points intact, both in the standard mode and in the Hi - Lo games. However, 7 Card Stud Hi - Lo is an extremely technical game, in which the best high hand and the best low hand come to the showdown to compete for the pot in an epic head-to-head match.

In 7 Card Stud Hi - Lo, seven cards are dealt to each player over the course of the hand. Only the best five-card hand of each player is used to proclaim the winner, with the peculiarity that the low hand is always played with an "eight or better" requirement, that is, the low hand must be less than or equal to 8 to be eligible for the corresponding part of the pot.

In Hi - Lo games of 7 Card Stud poker, it is possible that several active players reach the last betting round. In case there were no bets in the previous street, the player who occupies the first seat will be the first to show his cards, followed by the rest of the players without altering the direction followed during the game.

After everyone has spoken, half of the pot will go to the player with the best five-card high hand, and the other half will go to the player with the best five-card low hand. If the requirements to form the best low hand have not been met, the entire pot will go to the player who formed the best high hand.

An important aspect of 7 Card Stud games is the bring-in. When two or more players have a card of the same value as the hole card, the lowest suit is used to determine the tie-breaker. The lowest suit is clubs, followed (in ascending order) by diamonds, hearts and spades.

In case the player with the lowest exposed card on third street goes all-in on ante and cannot make the initial bet, the bring-in is shifted clockwise to the next player.

Playing with middle cards and premium cards

Let's go first to the middle cards. The objective of the game is to win the pot without splitting it, but with medium cards we are going to have a hard time. A good starting hand for low, and at the same time a good hand that allows us to continue having the potential to tie the high with a good project, can be three cards under 8 including or not an ace, or three cards under 5 with or without ace.

Any hand containing a pair of aces will be a good starting hand, there is no doubt about that.

The game with premium cards is different. Here we start from the assumption that we have a project with a lot of potential to tie the high. The best starting hand that we can find is A A A, that is a fact, followed by a trio of kings, eights or fives. Therefore, the order of the best premium starting hands would be as follows:

  • A A A A
  • K K K K
  • 8 8 8
  • 5 5 5

It should be noted that K K K has hardly any options for low, so it is a one-way hand. 8 8 8 is a rolled up with a very low potential for low, while 5 5 5 has a lot of potential for low but is somewhat inhibited for high.

If you were interested in this article, you can't miss all the information we have collected in the post dedicated to Razz poker: rules, starting hands and optimal strategies.

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