Stud High-Low (Stud8)

The five key points about Stud Hi-Lo:

  • Stud Hi-Lo is a poker game derived from Seven Card Stud where it is possible to win the pot in two different ways: either the usual way of holding the strongest hand (High), or by making the weakest possible hand (Low). In fact, pots are regularly shared between the players holding the High hand those holding the Low. A player who makes the best High and Low hand is in a position to win the entire pot.
  • All the usual poker hands are valid for a High hand: pair, two pairs, three of a kind, straight, flush, four of a kind, etc. On the other hand, a Low hand can only be made up of cards with a value of 8 or below. Flushes and straights are not counted when making a Low hand. An Ace is both the strongest and weakest card in the deck: it is therefore counted towards both your High and Low hands.
  • Stud Hi-Lo is a poker game in the “open” family: this means that multiple cards that each player receives are dealt face up. However, unlike Texas Hold’em, there are no communal cards: the seven cards each player receives are their own.
  • In Stud Hi-Lo, position (and therefore the order that players act) is not determined by the button (as if the case for the majority of poker games, like Texas Hold’em), but on the strength of the cards shown by each player. Therefore, the order in which players make their action during a hand often changes, according to the cards dealt.
  • Stud Hi-Lo is played with Limit rules: this means that the maximum bet amount permitted depends on the size of the pot. This means that unlike in No Limit Hold’em, you won’t always have the possibility to bet all your chips.

How to make a hand


Low hands

To be considered Low, a hand must be made up of five cards of different values and be a value of 8 or below. Straights and flushes are not taken into account when making a Low hand.


The best Low is therefore:


Ace-2-3-4-5, no matter what the suit of the cards. Additionally, this hand also makes a straight. This makes it an extremely strong hand.


The second best possible Low hand is:


Ace-2-3-4-6


The third best possible Low hand is:


Ace-2-3-5-6


And so on.


If no player makes a low hand then the high hand wins the entire pot.


High hands

The hierarchy for High hands in Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo is similar to that of Texas Hold’em, from high card (weakest hand type that don’t even include a pair) up to the royal flush (10-Jack-Queen-King-Ace of the same suit) via three of a kind, straight, four of a kind, etc.


1. Straight flush

5 cards of the same suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs), and in a row. For example 4-5-6-7-8 of Hearts.


A straight flush A-K-Q-J-10 is called a Royal Flush.


This is clearly a very rare hand!


2. Four-of-a-kind

In your 5 cards, four cards of equal value. Four Aces is the strongest while four Twos is the weakest.


3. Full house

3 cards of one value with 2 cards of another value, or three-of-a-kind with a pair. A full house is ranked first according to the value of the three-of-a-kind. Example: K-K-K-3-3 beats Q-Q-Q-As-As.


4. Flush

5 cards of the same suit (Spades, Hearts, Diamonds or Clubs), but not in a row. We separate two flushes according to the highest card, and in the case of a tie, the next highest and so on.


Example: A-J-8-5-3 of Diamonds beats A-9-8-5-3 of Spades.


In poker, there is no different in value between the suits, but be careful, hearts and diamonds are not considered the same suit, and it’s the same for spades and clubs!


5. Straight

5 cards in a row, but not of the same value.


Example: 6-7-8-9-10. Straights are ranked according to the highest card. An Ace can be the highest card (A-K-Q-J-10) but also the weakest (A-2-3-4-5).


6. Three of a kind

3 cards of the same value.


7. Two pairs

K-K-7-7-2. If 2 players each hold 2 pairs, they are separated by the strongest pair. Therefore, A-A-6-6 beats Q-Q-J-J.


8. A pair

Two cards of the same value. A pair of Aces is the strongest while the weakest is a pair of 2s.


9. High card

If no player manages to make one of the hands above, not even a pair, the winner is the person who holds the highest single card.

How a hand is played


Ante

Before beginning a Stud Hi-Lo hand, every player must pay a forced bet, known as an “Ante”. The ante amount varies depending on the game. It is the amount that must be paid in order to be dealt cards.


The deal and “Bring in”

Each player receives three cards: two hidden and one face up. The player with the lowest face up card must act first, and place a bet called the “Bring in” or, if the player wishes, a full “small bet”.


Should two or more players hold the same value low card, they are separated according to the suit. The suits are ranked in this order: clubs (lowest), diamonds, hearts, spades (highest). The lowest suit wins in this case: if the 2 of hearts and the 2 of clubs are face up at the start of the hand, it’s the 2 of clubs which will go first. (We should note that the suit hierarchy is only used in this exact situation and does not come into play at showdown. If, for example, one player shows Ace-10-8-5-2 of clubs and a second player shows Ace-10-8-5-2 of diamonds, their hands are considered identical and the pot is split.)


3rd street

After the player showing the lowest card has paid the bring in or small bet, the round continues clockwise around the table: each player can either fold, call, or raise.


For each betting round, the number of raises is limited to 3 and progresses in small bets (for example, in a €2/€4 hand, they are made in €2 amounts).


If the bet or raise of a player is not equalled by another opponent, then the hand ends immediately and the player to bet last wins the pot. This rule applies throughout the hand.


4th street

Each player receives another face up card, called “Fourth Street”. The first player to act is the one with the strongest face up cards. Should it be a tie, once again the suit is used to determine the winner (see the paragraph above). The strongest suit takes precedence.


The first player to act may check (bet nothing) or bet (a small bet). If the following players decide to bet, the action goes back to the players who have checked. They will then have the choice to call, fold, or raise if the maximum number of raises has not yet been reached. If all the players check during a round of betting, we go straight to the next round.


Action moves clockwise around the table. Once all the bets and raises have been called, the next round will begin.


5th street

Each player receives another face up card, called “Fifth Street”. Once again, the first player to act is the one showing the strongest cards. Should it be a tie, the same rules as Fourth Street apply.


Action moves clockwise around the table, according to the rules previously explained.


Starting on Fifth Street and for the rest of the hand, all the bets progress in big bets, generally double the size of a small bet (Example: in a €2/€4 game, a big bet is €4).


6th street

Each player receives another face up card, called “Sixth Street”. Again, the first player to act is the one showing the strongest cards. Should it be a tie, the same rules as before apply.


Action moves clockwise around the table, according to the rules previously explained.


7th street

Each player receives a seventh and final card, this time face down (and therefore only known to the player in question). The first player to act is the one showing the strongest cards. Should it be a tie, the same rules as before apply.


Action moves clockwise around the table, according to the rules previously explained.


Showdown

Once all bets have been called in the final round of betting, the last player to have raised must show their cards first. If there was no bet on the last round of betting, the player who checked first must show their cards first. The hands are always then revealed in turn clockwise around the table.


The winner of the High wins half of the pot. The winner of the wins the other half of the pot.


The same player can win both the High and Low hands. If there is no Low hand, the best High hand wins the entire pot.


Should one or more players hold the same High and/or Low hands, the pot will be split accordingly. For example, one player holds the best High hand while two other players hold the best Low hand: the first player wins half of the pot while the two others share the other half of the pot equally, therefore receiving a quarter of the pot each.

Additional rules

  • Stud Hi-Lo is played with a maximum of six players.
  • In a tournament, on 3rd street, if the player with the lowest card is all-in with the ante and therefore has no chips to make the bring-in, the bring-in is made by the player to their left, without taking into account the strength of the cards. Note that if the player possesses enough chips to pay the ante but not enough for the bring-in, the player is considered both all-in and the bring-in. The next player, if he wants to enter the pot or raise, must pay the full bring-in amount.
  • In a cash game, you must have enough chips to post both the ante and bring-in in order to play the hand.
  • 3rd street: if the player making the bring-in increases it to a small bet, this bet is not considered a raise. The number of remaining raises will therefore still be three.
  • 4th street: if a player showing a pair on his two face up cards, the betting round is special. The players may bet or raise in big bets (instead of the usual small bet amounts). A player can raise a big bet against a small bet, but not the inverse.

 


Example:

- If a player checks, the next player can: check, make a small bet or big bet.

- If a player makes a small bet, the next player can: fold, call, raise a small bet, or raise a big bet.

- If a player makes a big bet, the next player can: fold, call, or raise a big bet. In these particular cases, the maximum number of raises remains three.