7 Card Hi Lo Stud Poker Challenges and Tips

StudPoker.orgIf you’re primarily a Texas Holdem player but find you’d like more variety or simply want to try something different there are many different poker games that you can try. One that will challenge you differently is the game 7 Card Hi Lo Stud. Stud poker is challenging unto itself, but the 7 card version (as opposed to 5 card Stud) and the high/low aspect really make this a challenging game for those who are used to Holdem.

The challenges for the Texas Holdem player are numerous when entering into the world of 7 Card Hi Lo Stud. It takes a very different frame of mind to play this game. The rules of Hi Lo Stud in terms of how cards are dealt, etc. are the same as Stud. See  this Stud Poker site for information regarding the basic rules and manner in which 7 Card Stud and 7 Card Hi Lo Stud are played. For our purposes, I’ll assume that you understand the outline of this Hi Lo game as we look at some of the challenges players face.

In many ways, as long as you’re observant, it’s a bit easier to tell where you stand with 7 Card Hi Lo than with Holdem. There are various reasons for this. The first is that if six or more players stay in the hand for all seven cards more than half the deck will be exposed and about 85 to 95% of the deck will be used. With Holdem you only get to see your two hole cards and five face-up cards total and those are community cards. About 23 cards total are dealt at the Holdem table and less than 10% of the deck is exposed. A lot of times, it’s vividly clear when you’re beat on top with Stud.

The lack of community cards also helps to make 7 Card Hi Lo Stud a bit easier to read. You are not reading your hand and others in the context of sharing cards. You’re actually reading numerous individual hands. Through process of elimination regarding what cards are being shown, you start to get a decent sense of what each player is holding and your chances of having your hand stand up.

It’s also helpful that almost 60% of each player’s hand is exposed. Once again, as long as you read those face-up cards carefully, and compare them to what you’re holding, you can get an accurate idea of what someone might be playing.

The other aspect that makes this game a little easier to read is the fact that from the face-up cards along with betting trends you can usually tell if someone has an Ace or even an Ace, 2 in the hole, as they tend to drive up the betting on the low hand, pushing those still in the hand who are going for the high.

Finally, the Hi Lo aspect of this makes it a game that you can control when you’re fairly sure you have the low hand and will take at least half the pot. One thing that makes 7 Card Hi Lo Stud a really great poker game for those who are highly observant is the fact that you get to use all 7 cards in putting together both a high and low hand. You can hit a low straight and at the same time a flush to take both hands or, once again a low hand of A, 2, 4, 5, 7 and then a high with another Ace  and 4 to score two pair and win both sides of the pot.

Trips can be golden on the high end, as can two pair. A flush is tough to hit because of the number of cards out and a full house is rare. So the lack of hands that have a chance at trips or higher can be a great help in telling you when you should push the betting. Thus, reading the entire board accurately against your hand is essential.

When you sit down to play 7 Card Hi Lo Stud rid yourself of your Holdem state of mind. This is a very different game with extremely different odds when it comes to hitting high hands. Also, make sure you read the entire board carefully in conjunction with what you’re holding. That gut shot low hand is a little harder to put together than with Omaha Hi Lo and the two pair you’re holding with one card left to be dealt probably won’t become a full house. Then again, it may not have to for you to win. 7 Card Hi Lo Stud is an exciting game.