Poker Games — Stud 8 or Better
Seven Card Stud 8 or Better is a well-known form of poker that’s sometimes called Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo.
A single deck of cards is used to play Seven Card Stud 8 or Better, where a deck refers to 52 cards, excluding jokers.
A fresh game begins with all players posting the “ante,” which is a predetermined amount placed in the pot before the cards are dealt. The amount of the ante is based on the size of the game, and does not follow any set rule. For example, the ante amount for a $1/$2 table is $0.25, while the ante amount for a $3/$6 table is $0.50. The exact amount should be made clear at the online casino you’re playing at.
In Seven Card Stud 8 or Better poker, players receive seven cards: three “down” cards and four “up” cards.
After the antes have been placed, the first round gets under way with each player being dealt three cards—two down cards and one up card. The up card is also known as the “door card” or “third street.” The lowest up card initiates the action with what’s called a “bring-in” bet. If two or more players have the same lowest card, the person who “brings it in” is determined by suit order in the following progression: clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades.
Each player is allowed one bet and three raises in each betting round. To continue play, players must take action from what’s given to them in each betting round, unless they are “all in.” (More on “all in” later.)
After the first round, another card is dealt face-up to each player who’s still in the game; in other words, every player who didn’t fold on third street. The second round of betting, as you might expect, is called “fourth street.” From fourth street on, the highest hand showing begins the action by checking or betting. If a player makes a bet, the other players may call, raise the bet, or fold.
After third street and fourth street have passed you by, it’s time for “fifth street”—if you’re still alive, of course. In this third round of betting, another card is dealt face-up to those who remain in the pot and, again, the highest hand showing starts the action by checking or betting.
One difference between the later rounds and the first two rounds is that the betting limits switch from the table’s lower number to its higher number. For example, if you’re playing at a $5/$10 table, you can bet $10 once you’ve reached the third round, whereas in the first two rounds you can bet only $5.
The fourth round continues in the same vein as the others: this round is called “sixth street” and the betting limits remain on the higher number.
The fifth and final round is a little bit different. The last card is dealt face down instead of face up, and this card is called the “river” (although many people call it “seventh street” too).
Some standard rules:
A maximum of four bets, including one bet and three raises, are allowed for each betting round per player. As mentioned above, players must take action on what’s given to them in every round of Seven Card Stud 8 or Better in order to remain in the game (unless they are “all in”).
The term “cap” is used to describe the final raise in a round, since betting is then capped and no one can make another raise. Once capped, players will have the option of calling or folding only. Folding can be done at any stage of the game. The action of folding means that the player is no longer considered part of the game, and does not have any rights over pots created on the table.
Apart from folding, a player also has the option of checking, which means that the player passes his or her turn without placing a bet. This option is not always available to the player, and depends on the actions taken by the previous player in the hand. The player HAS TO equal the amount of the bets placed by other players for each round in the hand.
Poker is typically played by “table stakes,” which means that only the chips in play at the beginning of each hand can be used throughout the hand. This means that players cannot get additional funds from the cashier while they are in the midst of a game. The table stakes rule has an application called the “all in” rule, which states that a player cannot be forced to forfeit a hand because he or she doesn’t have enough chips to call a bet.
Exceptions to the value of betting in each round:
A player who does not have enough chips to call a bet is declared All-In. The player is eligible for the portion of the pot to the point of his final wager. All further action involving other players takes place in a “side pot”, which is unavailable to the player who has already gone All-In. When a player goes All-in, the pot currently at the center of the table, which has contributions from him/her as well, is treated as the main pot, over which the All-in player has rights. After the player goes all-in, all the new bets are placed in a side pot, over which only the contributing players have rights. The All-in player does not have any rights over the side pot. The side pot is then given to the next winning combination.
Upon completion of the final round of betting, the best hand wins the pot. (The pot may also be won by someone who bets without being called at any time during the hand.). Your “hand” is determined by using the best five of seven cards. A combination of the following may be used – ? Five cards from the seven dealt to you ? One board (community) card and four of the cards dealt to you. There is no qualifying on the “High” side – the best hand automatically wins half the pot and could win the whole pot. To win the “Low” side, however, you have to qualify (which is why the game is called Seven Card Stud “8 or Better”).
To qualify for Low: It takes a five-card hand with different numerical values from Ace through eight (with the Ace being the lowest value) to qualify for the “Low” half of the pot. The best “Low” hand is A,2,3,4,5 (also known as the “wheel” or “bicycle”). The winning “Low” hand is the one with the lowest high card in it. If two or more players qualify for “Low” but have the same highest card, the second lowest high card (and if necessary progressing down to the third, fourth, or fifth lowest high card) would be the winning hand. For example, a 2,3,4,6,8 would be a better “Low” hand than an A,2,4,7,8.
There is a set rank of cards, which is used for deciding the winning combination. To view the various ranks that are possible, click here.
Split Pot: Any leftover odd chip goes to the “High” hand. If two or more players tie for the “High” side of the pot and there is an odd chip, the player with the highest card in their hand is awarded the odd chip. (If they have the same high valued card, the suit takes preference going from Spades, Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.) If two or more players “tie” for the “Low” side of the pot and there is an odd chip, that chip is awarded to the player with the lowest card in their hand. (If they have the same lowest card, the suit takes preference in the order of Clubs, Diamonds, Hearts, and Spades.)
Some things to remember:
- Straights and flushes do NOT count against you when qualifying for the low side of the pot.
- You are permitted to use different cards in your hand for both the high and low sides, or you can use the same cards for both sides.