Seven card stud hi-lo (8 or better) poker is almost identical to seven card stud hi, except that there are two opportunities to win a share of the pot. The pot can be divided between the holder of the highest ranking hand and the lowest ranking hand. A low hand does not qualify in all games and if there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand winner will win the entire pot.
A Qualifying Low Hand
A low hand qualifies if it is made up of five distinct cards (no pairs) that are valued at eight or lower. Ace counts as a low card for low hands and a high card for high hands. The best qualifying low hand is A-2-3-4-5. The hand is ranked according to the highest card and if two players have a low hand with the same high card, the next two cards will be compared. For example, a 6-4-3-2-A will beat a 7-4-3-2-A and a 7-5-4-3-A will beat a 7-6-4-3-A.
The Betting Rounds
The betting rounds in the game of seven card stud hi-lo run in the same way as seven card stud hi. The only difference that is evident is that in fourth street, players are not given an option to increase to the higher betting limit. When playing seven card stud hi-lo, the first two rounds are always played at the lower betting limit and the next three rounds are always played at the higher betting limit.
Step 1 – The Ante
The game begins with each player placing an ante bet into the pot in the middle of the table.
Step 2 – Third Street
Each payer is dealt two cards face down (hole cards) and one card face up. This is followed by the first round of betting which starts with the player with the lowest show card. This player places the bring-in bet which is half the size of the low limit bet. Play continues clockwise around the table with each player able to call, raise or fold.
Step 3 – Fourth Street
The dealer deals a fourth card face up to each player, followed by a betting round that begins with the player holding the highest ranking show card. Play continues clockwise around the table with each player able to call, raise or fold.
Step 4 – Fifth Street
The dealer deals a fifth card face up to each of the players. A betting round follows, beginning with the player holding the highest ranking show card and continuing clockwise around the table. Players can call, raise or fold and the betting is set at the high table limit from this point onward.
Step 5 – Sixth Street
The dealer deals a sixth card face up to each player, followed by another betting round starting with the player holding the highest ranking show card and continuing clockwise around the table.
Step 6 – Seventh Street
This is the final dealing and betting round of the game. Each player receives one card face down. If there are not enough cards left for each player to receive one, a single card will be dealt face up into the center of the table to act as a community card.
Step 7 – The Showdown
All remaining players must now create their final five card poker hand from the seven cards that have been dealt. If there is more than one qualifying low hand, these will be compared with the winner taking half the pot. The other half of the pot will go to the player who holds the highest ranking hand. If there are no ranking poker hands, the high card of each hand is compared to determine the winner.