7-Card Stud Hi/Lo is played pretty much the same as regular 7-Card Stud until the betting rounds are over and it’s time to show your cards. Hi/Lo is a split pot, meaning there can be two winners at the end of a game, one for the Highest hand and one for Lowest. (Although one player can ‘scoop’ both halves of the pot.)
First each player antes up for the hand about to be dealt. The amount of the ante is determined by the table at which you play.
Two cards are dealt face down to each player in the game, followed by 1 card, which is dealt face up (totaling 3 cards in each hand). This first face-up card is known as the ‘door card’ or ‘Third Street’.
There is a round of betting. At some poker rooms, the player with the lowest valued ‘door card’ must bet first – called the ‘bring in bet’.
After betting, another card is dealt, face up, to each player. This second face-up card is known as ‘Fourth Street’.
There is another round of betting.
Another card is dealt, face up, to each player. ‘Fifth Street’.
There is another round of betting, with the betting minimums/maximums typically doubled during this round.
Another card is dealt, face up, to each player. ‘Sixth Street”.
There is another round of betting at the higher values (raised after ‘Fifth Street’).
Another card is dealt, face down, to each player. This is known as the ‘River Card’ or ‘Seventh Street’.
There is then the final round of betting.
Betting Note: Unlike Texas Hold’em or Omaha where betting starts to the left of the dealer, in any Stud game the player with the highest ranking hand showing amongst their face up cards bets first for that round, with the bet then moving clockwise around the table.
Once the betting is over, the hands are called and it’s time to show ’em what you’ve got – the player with the highest *5 card hand wins half the pot and the player with the lowest 5-card hand wins the other half. (When playing at a land based casino you must arrange your cards into to your Hi and Lo hand, but when playing online it happens automatically.)
* Note: While you’ll be dealt 7 cards in total in any 7 card game; you will only play your best 5 cards at the end of the hand, with the two remaining cards not counting towards your final hand total. In a Hi/Lo game you can still only use 5 cards per hand – but can use different card combinations from your 7 cards to make up a high and low hand.
What’s a ‘Low’ Hand? It’s the lowest (worst) hand you can make with your cards. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule, however – straights and flushes do not count in a low hand, so A, 2, 3, 4, 5 is the lowest hand possible (does not count as a straight). In 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo you must usually ‘qualify’ to play a low hand, meaning you can play a 5 card combination with no cards of 9 or higher and no pairs. There is no qualifying for the high hand. This is known as ‘8 or better’ at some poker rooms.