7 Card Stud vs. 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo

7 Card Stud Hi-Lo, also known as Stud High-Low and Stud8, is most commonly played as the letter "E" for the rotating mixed game of "H.O.R.S.E."

Seven Card Stud

With mixed games in general and H.O.R.S.E. in particular becoming more popular every year, learning to play Stud Hi-Lo is not only a good idea, but absolutely necessary for any players hoping to play mixed or rotation games at any point.

Because this article only details the differences between Stud and Stud Hi-Lo, if you aren't familiar with the rules and game-play of Stud, you're going to want to read this article:

The only difference between Stud and 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo comes at the showdown.

7 Card Stud Hi-Lo Showdown Rules

Stud Hi-Lo is a "split pot" game, meaning that at showdown, the pot is divided in half, one half being awarded to the winning best hand, the other half being awarded to the best qualifying "low hand."

The High

The high hand in a 7 Card Stud Hi-Lo game is identical to the winning hand of a standard 7 Card Stud game. Half the pot is awarded to the player who holds this hand.

The Low

Low hands must qualify to be eligible for winning the low half of the pot.

  • The cards a player uses for her best high hand have no effect on the low. A player can use any five cards from her hand, regardless of the cards used in her high hand.
  • A qualifying low hand is defined as: five unpaired cards, all with ranks at or below eight.
  • Aces are considered low for the low hand.
  • Flushes and straights do not count for the low, meaning the best low possible is A-2-3-4-5.
  • Low hands are counted from the top down, meaning the hand is only as good as its highest card. For example:
    • 2 3 5 6 7 is lower than A 2 3 4 8
  • Any hand with a pair, or a card higher than eight, does not qualify, even if the rank of the pair is below eight.
  • Suits do not count toward a low; any players sharing the exact same low must equally split the low half of the pot. (Winning half of the low pot and nothing from the high pot is known as being quartered.)

A hand example:

Hand 1: A 2 K K 3 4 5

Hand 2: A 3 Q Q Q 3

High Winner: Hand 2 wins with a full house, queens over threes: Q Q Q 3 3.

Low Winner: Hand 1 wins with a five-four low: 5 4 3 2 A (Hand 2 doesn't have a qualifying low).

General Rules

  • If there is an extra odd chip that cannot be split in half, this chip is always added to the pot awarded to the winning high hand.
  • If there is no qualifying low hand, the entire pot is awarded to player with the winning high hand.
  • Players can win one or both halves of the pot with the same or different cards from their hand.
  • A player does not have to announce what half of the pot they're playing for at the beginning of the hand. This is only required in other variations of poker, known as "declare" games.

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