Learn How To Play 7 Card Stud Poker Hi - Lo & Rules

7 Card Stud Hi-Lo is an extended variation of the classic poker game, 7 Card Stud. If you want to learn how to play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, a little experience with 7 Card Stud is recommended. The Hi-Lo version is played basically in the same manner, but there are normally two winners instead of one – the High Hand winner and the Low Hand winner.

The Low Hand winner, however, must have a “Qualifying Low Hand” in order to claim half of the pot; the rules of which are defined below.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo - Qualifying Low Hand
When developing a High Hand, the rules are the same as most poker variants – highest ranking 5-card poker hand wins. However, there are distinct rules that apply to a Qualifying Low Hand in Hi-Lo poker games such as 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo.

- Straights and Flushes are not considered combinations
- Aces are the lowest possible card, not the highest.
- There may be no card higher than an 8
- No pairs or better

By these rules, the best possible Low Hand is A-2-3-4-5.
The worst possible Low Hand that still qualifies to win would be 4-5-6-7-8.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – Fundamentals
7 Card Stud Hi-Lo is a game for 2-8 players, using a single 52-card deck of playing cards. As a novice to the game, you may find the complexity of the rules a bit confusing, but as you learn how to play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo and practice the game, the development of two separate hands from 7 cards becomes second nature.

Object of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo
The object of 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo is to develop two potentially winnings hands from the 7 cards available to you – a High Hand (highest ranking 5-card poker hand) and a Low Hand (lowest qualifying 5-card poker hand). The winners of each hand split the pot. Should no hand qualify for the Low Hand, the High Hand winner is awarded the entire pot.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo - Limits
It is possible to play 7 Card Stud in any limit, but it is most often played in a Fixed Limit betting structure. For educational purposes, we will describe all limits for you, but the remainder of this tutorial on how to play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo will utilize Fixed Limit betting.

Fixed Limit: Fixed Limit (FL) means that the stakes of the game define exactly how much a player can bet/raise throughout the game. Example: With $2/$4 stakes, all bets/raises must be $2 during the first 3 betting rounds, then increased to $4 for the final two rounds.

No Limit: In No Limit, the stakes define the lowest possible bet/raise, with no limit to the maximum amount. The only limitation is the size of your chip stack.

Pot Limit: Pot Limit is much like No Limit, where the stakes define the lowest bet/raise allowed, but the maximum amount is always equal to the current pot size.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – Forced Bets
Unlike today’s most popular Hold’em style games, when you learn how to play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, you’ll find that all players must place a forced bet, called the Ante. After the initial deal, one play will be forced to place the Bring-In Bet. These forced bets replace the Blind Bets found in Hold’em poker games.

Ante: A small bet placed by every player before any cards are dealt. The amount of the Ante bet can vary, depending where you play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, but is generally 10-25% of the low-end stakes.

Bring-In: After the initial deal, each player will have 3 cards – 2 face down and 1 face up. The face up card is called the Door Card, and the player with the lowest Door Card must place the Bring-In bet, equal to 50% of the low-end stakes. Should two or more player tie for lowest card, lowest suit determines the Bring-In bettor. Suits are ranked alphabetically, lowest to highest - Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts and Spades.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – Betting Options

Check: To decline Betting without Folding. The Check option is only available if no Bet has been placed during the present round of betting.

Bet: To place the first wager in the present round of betting.

Call: To wager an amount equal to the present Bet.

Raise: To wager an amount higher than the present Bet.

Fold: To surrender the current hand.

All-In: To wager all remaining chips. A player can only win an amount equal to h is own All-In bet from each player. In Fixed Limit games, a player can only push All-In if he has just enough, or too few, chips remaining to Call, Bet or Raise.

How To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – Walk-Through of a Hand
Throughout the following walk-through of how to play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, we’ll be using a Fixed Limit betting structure with stakes of $2/$4.

Each player will first offer up their Ante Bet, followed by the initial deal of cards. Every player is dealt two face-down Hole Cards, followed by the Door Card. The lowest Door Card holder places the Bring-In bet to start the first betting round.

First Betting Round: All Bets/Raises must equal the $2 low-end stakes for the first three betting rounds. The player left of the Bring-In must Bet or Raise to stay in the hand (or Fold), since the Bring-In has already been wagered. Every player, in clockwise order, will do the same. When betting comes back around to the Bring-In bettor, he may Call or Raise the current Bet by adding the appropriate amount of chips to his Bring-In to equal the required amount. Once all players have Called or Folded, the game continues.

4th Street: Each player receives a fourth card, face-up.

Second Betting Round: From here on out, the player with the highest face-up hand will start each round of betting. A Pair of Aces would be the highest possible hand at this point in the game.

5th Street: Each player receives a fifth card, face-up.

Third Betting Round: Same as the second.

6th Street: Each player receives a sixth card, face-up.

Fourth Betting Round: From here on out, all Bets/Raises must equal the $4 high-end stakes.

7th Street: Each player receives a seventh card, this time face down (if possible - See “Not Enough Cards” below.)

Fifth Betting Round: This is the final round of betting.

The Showdown: If two or more players remain active in the hand (everyone hasn’t Folded), a Showdown will occur. This is where all active player reveal their strongest 5-card High Hand to determine who wins that half of the pot. Next, all active players reveal their best Low Hand. The best Qualifying Low Hand wins the other half of the pot.

If no player qualifies for a winning Low Hand, the High Hand winner takes the entire pot. Note that the same player can potentially win both the High and Low Hand land, scooping the whole pot.

Hot To Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo – Not Enough Cards
As simple mathematics tells us, with the highest number of 8 players at the table, and 7 cards needed for each player, there simply aren’t enough cards to deal out (8 x 7 = 56). Most often, at least a few players will Fold before the 7th Street, but if not, the 7th Street is dealt as a Community Card (one card dealt face up to the center of the table). In this case, all players assume this card to be their final, 7th card.