Seven Card Stud High vs. Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo

Seven Card Stud and Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo are similar in rules and structure, but there are several fundamental differences that make each of these games unique from one another. Most importantly, the strategy for each game is completely different. In one game, you only have to worry about getting the best poker hand. In the other, you will encounter much more betting action and have to figure out who’s going for the high hand, who’s going for the low hand and who’s going for both.

NOTE - If you don't know how to play either of the games, read the articles below first before continuing:

This article will cover some of the basic strategy differences between Seven Card Stud and its Hi-Lo counterpart. Hopefully you will come away with a solid sense of the differences between the two games. The strategy presented here is basic stuff but the basics are the most important things to learn first.

Starting Hand Strategy

All strong Seven Card Stud hands do well in Hi-Lo but not all strong Hi-Lo hands do well in Seven Card Stud. In the Hi-Lo version of the game, you can play low hands, high hands, and scoop hands. The best hands in Hi-Lo are hands that can potentially win the entire pot. Hands such as low straights and low flushes have the ability to act as both low hands and high hands.

In Hi-Lo games, you also need to note how many low cards are out there. The more low cards you can see, the harder it will be for you to draw to a strong low hand. It’s always possible, of course, but you want to always have the best odds possible before putting money in the pot.

Scooping the Pot

In normal Seven Card Stud, you win the entire pot if you have the best hand. In Hi-Lo, you can win the entire pot, half the pot, or even a quarter of the pot. You will have the best results if you always play with the intentions of scooping the entire pot. By playing starting hands that have “scoop potential,” you give yourself more outs to win a piece (or all) of the pot.

Tight-Aggressive Play

Tight-aggressive play is a winning strategy in both forms of Seven Card Stud. In both games, you need to fold your weak hands and bet your strong hands. If a hand is strong enough to play, it is strong enough to raise. You should only call when drawing to strong hands. Otherwise, you probably shouldn’t be playing the hand at all.

Always ask yourself what the plan is with the hand. If you can’t come up with a concrete reason to continue with the hand, it should be folded. You should play hands that are either already strong or have the potential to become strong. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you can play any old hand because it might turn into something better. Always have a specific idea of where the hand is going.

Reading Up Cards

One big difference between Seven Card Stud and Hi-Lo is how you interpret your opponents’ up cards. In regular 7CS, it’s always a bad thing to see matching cards in your hand and on your opponents’ boards. In hi-lo, it is sometimes a good thing because it decreases the chances of you catching a pair when trying to make a strong low.

In both forms of stud, it is still obviously a bad thing to see the cards you need on other players’ boards. Always remember to keep an eye out for the cards you need and be willing to adjust your strategy accordingly. No matter how great a draw is, it doesn’t make sense to chase to a nearly hopeless hand.

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