If you are unfamiliar with the game of 7 Card Stud, please first read our article on 7 Card Stud, then return here for specific distinctions of 7 Card Stud High-Low, including 7 Card Stud High-Low 8 or Better.
In 7 Card Stud High-Low (8 or Better) the pot is split between the highest (or best) five-card hand and the lowest (or worst) five-card hand, when a qualifying low hand exists.
To qualify as a low hand, it must be comprised of unpaired cards only, and have no card valued greater than 8. Therefore A,2,3,4,9 does NOT qualify as a low hand, nor does 2,2,3,4,6.
Straights and flushes do not affect the value of a low hand. Therefore, A-S,2-S,6-S,7-S,8-S still qualifies as a low hand, and the best low hand possible is A,2,3,4,5, regardless of suit.
Aces are both the highest and lowest possible cards.
The winning low hand is determined by the lowest high card in the hand. In other words:
3,4,5,6,7 beats 2,3,4,5,8, because 7 is lower than 8. If competing hands both have the same high card, the second highest card is considered, and on down the line until the first difference appears. In other words 3,5,6,7,8 beats 4,5,6,7,8.
If two or more players have the exact same low hand numerically, the pot is split evenly between them, as suit is not taken into account when determining low hands.
If there is no qualifying low hand, the high hand wins the entire pot.
Players can use five different cards (from their seven total) for their low hand than the five they use for their high hand, or they may use the same exact five cards. Thus 4,5,6,7,8 is both a low hand and a high hand. Let’s say a player has A-D,2-D,3-D,5-S,6-H,J-D,K-D. He/she would have a King-high diamond flush as their high hand (K-D,J-D,3-D,2-D,A-D) and a 6-high low hand (6-H,5-S,3-D,2-D,A-D): not bad at all.
The betting structure for 7 Card Stud High-Low is the same as for 7 Card Stud except that in the second round of betting, when each player has two face up cards, a player can NOT elect to bet/raise the upper betting limit if a pair shows up on the board. The lower betting limit is strictly adhered to in the first two rounds of betting and the upper betting limit comes into play from the third betting round onward.
If the pot cannot be evenly split, the leftover “odd” chip goes to the player with the high hand. If two or more players tie for both high and low, an odd chip would go to the player with the highest card by rank and suit (from highest to lowest: Spades - Hearts - Diamonds - Clubs), selecting from all seven of the tied players’ cards and not merely the five used in each of their final hands. If two or more players tie for highest hand, the odd chip goes to the player with highest card by suit. If two more players tie for the lowest hand the odd chip goes to the player with the lowest card by suit.
In 7 Card Stud High-Low players do NOT have to declare before the showdown whether they are vying for the best high hand, low hand, or both. Every player can try, without penalty, for both.