7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker is known under many different names (the WSOP refers to it as “Split 8 or Better”), and the main aim of the game is to create the best five card “Hi” hand or best five card “Lo” hand from the seven cards that you are dealt. Players will find that the most profitable way to play 7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker is to bet out other players trying to fill their hands full of low value cards when you have a good opening hand, and to fold early when you do not have a starting hand that has a good chance of scooping both the “Hi” and “Lo” pots
How to Play 7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker
7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker follows the same dealing and betting patterns as 7 Card Stud Poker, with the pot split between the players holding the best “Hi” hand (following standard hand hierarchy) and the best “Lo” hand, ignoring straights and flushes. Whereas there will always be a winning “Hi” hand, there may not always be a qualifying “Lo” hand as, in order to win the lower pot, a hand must consist of five cards which have separate denominations of 8 or lower (Ace counting as 1 in a “Lo” hand and as an Ace in a “Hi” hand).
It is also possible for the “Lo” hand to win both pots when, for example, the “Lo” hand is A,2,3,4,5 and the “Hi” hand is a set of Queens, or when the player with the best “Lo” hand can make a winning “Hi” combination using other cards from the 7 he has been dealt. For example:-
A player with A♥ 3♥ 4♦ 6♣ 7♥ J♥ Q♥ may win the “Lo” hand with A,3,4,6,7 and the “Hi” hand with his heart flush.
Opening Hands are All-Important in 7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker
The important thing to remember when you get dealt an opening “Hi” hand with potential is that the reward to the risk you are going to take may only be half of what it would be in a game of 7 Card Stud Poker. Therefore, whereas you might get involved in a hand with three cards to a draw or flush in the “regular” version of the game, it really is not worth your while in 7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker because the only way you should be playing the hand is to limp through five rounds of betting or until you make your hand; and then you will have to split the pot if there is a qualifying “lo” hand.
The best hands to play are those when you are dealt trips (ie QQQ) or have three low cards to a flush, straight or straight flush. Although it may sometimes be a mistake to play these hands aggressively from the start, if you have developed the table persona of somebody who plays hard and fast when they have a good hand, you should be able to get a free card or two when the big blind rounds start, which might enable you to complete your hand and scoop both pots.
As the betting progresses, keep an eye on the open cards which are being folded to establish how they could have helped your opponents hands or had a detrimental effect on your own, never losing sight of the fact that your opponent´s betting tendencies in relation to their position in the betting can tell you more about the strength of their hand than any face up cards ever will.