How to Play 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo | Poker Rules
Also known as 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo and Stud 8, Stud Eight or Better is essentially a mix of Stud and Razz.
Stud Hi-Lo is a split pot game. The best high hand wins half of the pot, and the best low hand wins the other half of the pot. The low hand must "qualify" with at least five cards below 8 in order to win half of the pot. This game uses the A-to-5 lowball rankings for low hands, in which straights and flushes do not count against your hand.
It is possible for a player to win both the high and low portions of the pot -- known as "scooping". If there is no qualifying low hand (five cards below 8), the best high hand scoops the whole pot.
Stud Hi-Lo / Eight or Better Rules
- Stud 8 is almost always played as a fixed limit betting game. The small bet size is used during the first two rounds of betting (third and fourth street), and the big bet size is used on fifth street and beyond.
- Each player antes a fraction of the small bet before the cards are dealt. In a $2/$4 limit game, for example, the antes are usually $0.30.
- Three cards are dealt to each player, including two face-down "hole cards" and one face-up "door card".
- The player with the lowest Door Card must start the betting with the Bring-In, which is usually about half the size of the small bet. Alternatively, the player may also complete the size of the small bet.
- If multiple players have the same low card, the card with the lowest suit will Bring-In (the order from highest to lowest is spades-hearts-diamonds-spades).
- A round of betting begins with the player to the left of the Bring-In, who may call the current bet, raise, or fold. The betting proceeds counterclockwise.
- Four more cards are dealt to each player with rounds of betting in between:
- Fourth Street: Each player is dealt another card face up. There is then a round of betting, and the player with the highest value exposed hand is first to act, so a player with Q♦-4♠ exposed would act before a player with 5♥-3♠ exposed. The player may bet the small bet size or check unless any player is showing a pair, in which case they, or any other player, may raise the stakes by using the big bet size instead.
- Fifth Street: Each player is dealt another card face up. As with the previous street, there is a round of betting and the player with the highest exposed hand acts first. This time, the player may bet the bigger limit bet or check.
- Sixth Street: Once again, each player is dealt another card face up, and the player with the highest exposed hand must act first, either checking or betting the big bet size.
- Seventh Street (the 'river'): On Seventh Street, each player is dealt one final card face down for a total of three face-down cards and four exposed cards. The player with the highest exposed hand is first to act in the final round of betting, and they must bet the big bet size or check.
Showdown and Hand Rankings
The pot is split between the best low hand (following the A-to-5 lowball hand rankings) and the best high hand. If there is no qualifying low hand, the best high hand wins the whole pot.