Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo is a popular split pot version of Seven Card Stud. Stud Hi-Lo promotes more action than regular stud due to the fact that in many hands one player will get half of the pot for having the highest hand, and a separate player will receive half the pot if they have a low hand.
A game of Stud Hi-Lo is normally played with eight players. Before the start of a hand, each player at the table must post an ante. After the antes are pulled into the center, each player receives three cards. Dealing starts in seat one and continues around to seat eight. The first two are received face down and the third card is received up.
After the cards are dealt, the player showing the lowest rank card must place a bet known as a bring-in bet. The bring-in is usually twice the ante. If two player have the same rank showing, then the player with the lower suit has the bring-in. Suits are alphabetical in the order of clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades. The bring-in player also may complete the bet. For example, in a $3-$6 Stud Hi-Lo game with a .50 ante, the bring-in is $1 and a completion is $3. A completion does not count as a raise. If the player with the bring-in does not complete the bet, then the next player has the option to complete the bet. After the bet is completed, raises must be done in the amount of the small bet amount, or $3 in the example given.
When betting on third street is completed, the next card is dealt face up to each player still in the hand. From fourth street until the river, the player with the highest hand showing opens the betting. If two players have identical high hands, the player closest to seat one opens. Betting on fourth street is also in the small bet increment. One important rule change from Stud to Stud Hi-Lo is that on fourth street, a double bet is not allowed on an open pair.
After fourth street betting is concluded, each player receives another upcard. On fifth street, betting amounts double to the big bet amount. A third round of betting ensues and then the last upcard is dealt. In normal stud, possible straights and flushes are pointed out in many casino as a courtesy to players. This is not permitted in Stud Hi-Lo. Also, if you are the player that opens betting on sixth, you will also open the betting on the river.
After sixth street betting, the last card is dealt face down to the remaining players. The term of river has been given to seventh street and is borrowed from Holdem. One final round of betting commences and after it is completed, the remaining players show their hands. The player with the highest hand wins half of the pot. The player with the best low wins the low half of the pot.
A low hand is a hand with five different cards eight and below. A player with a low straight or a low flush is not disqualified from having a low. Such hands actually play both ways. If a player has the best high and low hand, they scoop the pot. Scooping also occurs when a player has the best high hand and no low hand is present.
The rules of Stud Hi-Lo are relatively simple, but the game is really anything but simple. Take the time to study up on some basic strategy and then find yourself a low stakes game to play in. Good luck at the tables.