Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo is a fairly popular type of poker game. Not as well known to the general public as the much publicized Hold ‘em games Seven Card Hi/Lo is a twist on the Seven Card Stud game opening the win to more than one player and diversifying the strategy required to create the best hand. In this version of stud the pot will be split between the player with the best high poker hand and the player with the best qualifying low hand. In order to have a low hand the player must be holding five unmatched cards that have a numerical rank of eight or lower. Straights and flushes do not count in the low hand, and Aces can be used as either high card or low card.
In order to better understand how Seven Card Stud works, let us review the game play for a Seven Card Stud game.
Ante up. Before cards are dealt at all players that want in on the round have to contribute to the pot. How high this contribution must be depends on the table. Many require ante based on a percentage of the betting limits and will generally inform players of these minimums before play begins.
First deal. Three cards are dealt to each player, two down and one up. The down cards will never be revealed until a call is made and the poker hand played. The names for the first up card are ‘door card’ and ‘Third Street’ or ‘third street card’.
Betting. The first round of betting takes place, based on what the players can build with their initial three cards and hopes for additional cards to be added to what they have. Depending on the room and the table bidding order is started with either the lowest or the highest ranking ‘door card’. Once the first round of bets are in the players that are still in the game continue, those that have folded turn in their cards and wait.
Second deal. An additional card, called Fourth Street, is dealt face up to each player.
Betting. Another round of betting takes place, based on the new card that has been added.
Third deal. An additional card, called Fifth Street, is dealt face up to each player.
Betting. A third round of betting takes place, based on the new combinations, and requiring a raise in the amount being bet.
Fourth deal. An additional card, called Sixth Street, is dealt face up to each player.
Betting. A fourth round of betting takes place, based on the newest combinations.
Fifth deal. The final card, called Seventh Street or the River, is dealt face up to each player.
Final Betting. Final bets are placed and once no one wants to raise the bet further, a call made, requiring that all hands be shown. The player that can create the best five card poker hand from the seven card deal wins half the pot. The player with the lowest qualifying hand takes the other half of the pot. If there is no player with a qualifying low hand then the player with the high hand takes the entire pot. With the right hand it is possible for one player to have both the high hand and a qualifying low hand but this is rare in play.
In each of the aforementioned betting rounds there are several actions that any given player might take at any time. It is best to be familiar with the following betting terms and actions.
Fold – If a player does not feel like they can create a strong enough hand, no matter the cards that may not have been dealt, the player can fold and step out of the game for the remainder of the round.
Check – If no one else has bet in the round a player may call for a check. This shows that they wish to stay in the game, but are unwilling to put money in on their current hand.
Call – The call signifies the end of the round requiring everyone that is still wanting in to match the bets that have been made, all players that are in for the final pot must have contributed to the pot equally, and the cards are revealed.
Raise – If a player wants to increase the bet beyond that which has been started they would call for a raise and add their additional chips to the pile.
Betting play continues going around the circle until no one wants to increase the pot further and someone calls for the hand to be revealed. One thing of note in stud games: The player with the highest face up hand always bets first.