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Learning To Play Stud Hi-Lo
Stud High Low is a variation stud poker in which there are separate pots for the highest ranked and the lowest ranked hands at the table.
The most common form of high-low stud is Eights or Better. To qualify for the low pot, you must build a hand with no card higher than an eight.
Stud High Low plays much like Stud High in the basic structure of the game. There are five betting rounds, each of them after 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th street.
The first two cards are "hole cards", placed face down on the table so no one can see another player's cards.
Third street is the third card dealt. This card is dealt face up, in contrast to the first two cards which are dealt. After third street, the first found of betting occurs. The player with the lowest card showing must make the "give in" bet. This is a small "ante" type bet, meant to drive the betting action in the game.
Fourth Through Sixth Street
These are three identical betting rounds, played one after another. Fourth Street, Fifth Street and Sixth Street are named respectively for 4th, 5th and 6th cards dealt in the game.
Each of these cards are dealt face up, for everyone at the table to see them. After the deal, the player with the best hand showing starts the new round of betting. After this round of betting is finished, a new card is dealt. This continues until seventh street.
The seventh card is dealt face down, so that no one but the player who owns the card can see it. After this final card is dealt, a potential showdown occurs. A showdown is simply when two or more players have bet every round, and the players show their cards to see who wins both pots.
If a showdown occurs, players need not declare high or low on their cards. Instead, the "cards speak" stipulation is in place. This has two facets to it.
Besides giving the player flexibility in winning either pot, the player can also build two entirely different hands using the same seven cards.
The cards speak rule not only allows a player a chance to win both pots, but gives that player a distinct possibility of winning both pots.
Aces in High Low
Players are used to aces being important in standard poker. They are especially important in games of "high low". This is because aces can be used as the highest card ranks, or the lowest card ranks.
The "cards speak" rules allows aces to count as both during the same hand. Therefore, a pair of aces can be broken up for the low pot, allowing a player to play one of the aces to create a "bad" hand, too.
In house games of Stud High Low, people are known to place "bug" cards in a deck. Bugs are limited wild cards. These cards typically serve the role of an ace most of the time. But when the wild card can make a fifth card in a straight or a flush, then it can be used as a wild card. This makes flushes and straights much more common, adding an interesting element to a house game. Either one or two bug cards can be used in a game of Stud High Low. These are usually jokers placed in the deck.
Qualifying for the Low Pot
If no one qualifies for the low pot by having five cards ranked 8 or less, then the entire pot is won by the winner of the high pot.
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