Home/ Poker Games/ 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo

How to Play 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo

Get an edge with these quick tips and basic strategies

Played with 2 hole cards, 4 up cards and 1 down card, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo is a split pot game that has grown in popularity over the last 10 years.

Since so much information is revealed in the up cards, memorization and math are key components of Stud Hi/Lo, which makes it a relatively complex game.

Previously, 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo (aka 'Stud 8-or-Better' or 'Stud 8') was only played in high stakes mixed games. However, with the recent surge in HORSE popularity, more and more people are learning the game.

7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
Game Complexity Advanced
Type Stud Poker
Players 2-8

Gameplay of 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo

  • Setting Up

    Setting Up

    • You'll need: Antes from each player.
    • Use a limit betting structure.
    • Deal each player 2 cards face down and one card face up. This is 3rd street action.
    • Play begins with a forced "bring-in" bet where the lowest up card (called the door card) must make a bet. In the event of a tie, the lowest suit goes first - suits are ranked alphabetically, clubs (lowest), diamonds, hearts then spades (highest).
    • Action goes clockwise starting with the player left of the bring-in. Raises are capped on each street at either 3 or 4 raises (4-5 bets).
  • Action

    The Action

    • There are 5 betting rounds:  3rd street, 4th street, 5th street, 6th street and 7th street.
    • 4th street: all remaining players are dealt an up card. Action starts with the best high hand.
    • 5th and 6th street actions occur the same as 4th street, except the bet is doubled.
    • On 7th street the card is dealt face down and betting occurs the same as 4th - 6th streets.
  • Who's the Winner?

    Determining a Winner

    • Players who complete the last round of betting without folding go to the showdown.
    • The player with the best 5-card hand wins half the pot.
    • The player with the lowest 5-card hand wins half the pot as long as all cards are 8 or lower and are not paired. If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the whole pot.

Basic Strategies of 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo

  • 3rd Street

    Beginners should focus on playing starting hands with three low cards.

    Position is not as important in 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo. The highest hand goes first on every street and moves clockwise, so the order of play changes from street-to-street.

    Observe other players' up-cards to see if your cards are live.

  • 4th Street

    This is where players should decide to play the hand out or fold. The bet will double on 5th street so choose wisely.  

    Pay attention to other players' hands. Determine which players appear to be going for a high hand and which appear to be going for a low hand.

  • 5th-7th Streets

    Betting doubles on 5th-7th streets. Keep watching the boards of other players to see if you are drawing live.

    If you have a marginal hand on 7th street, you most likely have the correct odds to call.  Your difficult decisions should be made before this point.  

What You Need to Know About 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Starting Hands

  •  Good Starting Hands

    Play these hands:

    • Any three cards 7 or lower. Remember an ace can be played as a low and a high card.
    • Hands with two low cards and one high card that contain an ace.
  •  Poor Starting Hands

    Never play these hands: 

    • Most hands containing a 9.
    • Hands where most of your outs are already appearing on other players boards.
  •  Marginal Starting Hands

    Play these hands cautiously:

    • Hands containing a high pair where an overcard appears on an opponent's board.
    • Hands containing 2 high cards and 1 low card.
  •  Positional Hands

    Play in late position when folded to you:

    • None.  It is generally not a good idea to try and "steal" pots in Stud Hi/Lo. Fold and move on.

Do's and Don'ts for Better 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Play

  • Stick to Low Hands

    The only way you can scoop a pot is if you start with low cards. Give yourself a chance to win both the high and low halves of the pot. The highest value starting hand in 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo is three low, suited cards.

  • Keep a Keen Eye on Opponents Boards

    Constantly look at other players' boards to determine if they are going high or low. If you are the only player with a low hand against players with high looking boards, pump the pot as much as humanly possible.

  • Play High Hands Cautiously

    If up against a single opponent on later streets and it looks like they have a 'made' low hand, it's better to just call on all remaining streets since you're only competing for half the pot, and could get scooped.

Famous 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Hands

  • 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo: Randy "Nanonoko" Lew learns the game.

    Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew plays 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo horribly.

    This Video Contains:

    1. Randy Lew
    2. Tips for beginners
  • 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo: Randy "Nanonoko" Lew continues his education.

    Team PokerStars Pro Randy Lew plays some more 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo hands.

    This Video Contains:  

    1. Randy Lew
    2. Nuances of heads-up play

Where Can I Play 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Online?