7-card stud hi/lo is a variation of 7-card stud. Instead of awarding the pot to the best 5-card poker hand, the pot is awarded to the best hi and/or low hand. So there is more action and lots of split pots, which can cause some confusion.
But it is becoming a more popular game, especially as a staple in mixed poker rotations. So don’t let a little confusion stop you from learning how to play 7-card stud hi/lo.
The rules for 7-card stud hi/lo is identical to 7-card stud, so I’m not going to explain them again. You can find the rules here if you’d like to read them.
What I’m going to do instead is explain how the showdown works in stud hi/lo. That’s the only difference between the two games. Afterwards, I’ll show you how to determine winning low hands.
7-Card Stud Hi/Lo Showdown
The difference between the two games will be the showdown. In 7-card hi/lo a hi and low hand can win the pot.
A hi hand wins based on traditional hand rankings. There is nothing different there.
A low hand is any 5-card hand 8 or lower. Aces are low too. So the best hand is a wheel; A-2-3-4-5.
In case you have more than one low hand, you determine the best low hand by starting with the highest card in both hands first, comparing them, and the lowest of the two will be the better hand. If the two highest cards are the same, then you go to the next card.
2-3-5-6-7 is the best hand because the 7 is the lowest of the two highest cards.
2-3-5-6-8 is the best hand because, comparing the 2nd highest card in each hand, the 6 is lower than the 7.
That’s how you determine the best low hand. If there are two (or more) identical low hands than the pot will be split between them. It’s possible to split the pot multiple times between hi and low hands. Even to the point to where you receive less than what you put into it (for a loss, even if you “won” or “tied” the hand).
It’s also possible to scoop the pot. Scooping the pot means that there is only a hi or low hand possible, so the player with the best possible hand wins. Your goal should be to scoop the pot whenever possible.
7-Card Stud Winning Hands (Hand Rankings)
Here are the winning hands for 7-card stud. Stud hi sticks to traditional hand rankings. I list only the best 10 hands for stud low. From best to worst:
- Royal Flush
- Straight Flush
- Four of a Kind
- Full House
- 3 of a Kind
- 2 Pair
- 1 Pair
- High Card