Choosing whether or not to play the three cards you are dealt in 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular is the most important decision you make in any hand. Unlike many other high/low split games, where there is a qualifying hand for low that must be achieved in order to split the pot, 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular ALWAYS has a split pot. Therefore, it is especially important to be aware of which starting hands have the best chance of achieving your main goal in a split game, which is scooping the entire pot. In addition, there are starting hands that are played best heads-up, and others that do better in multi-way pots, so knowing when to jam as many bets as possible and when to simply call other bets is equally important.
The best possible hands are three suited cards eight or lower or three low straight cards (seven or lower). The best of these are three suited “wheel” cards (cards five or lower). These hands can be played profitably either multi-way or heads-up, as can rolled-up (three-of-a-kind) hands of aces through eights, which are a big favorite to win high, and can also back into a good enough low to win that way as well.
The top hands to try and play heads-up are ones that include a pair of aces along with a small card, or an ace coupled with two cards seven or lower that don’t make a straight. With the first group of hands, you are a big favorite for high against almost any other single starting hand, but are vulnerable to multiple hands chasing down the aces, and while the second group is an excellent low hand, it plays much better heads-up for high, hoping to hit a high pair or two pair to go along with a good low.
The hands cited above are ones that should be played at all times, and your betting actions should be based on how many players you want to have along for the ride. There are other hands that should usually be played, depending on the other action at the table, as well as if you can get the number of players that you want remaining after the round of betting. Of these hands, the ones that can play either heads-up or multi-way are three-card sevens that don’t make a straight, or suited three-card nines and tens. You will usually play a pair of sixes through nines with an accompanying small card, but only if you can get heads-up as quickly as possible. Three-card eights that can make a straight, or which have an ace, are also best played heads-up, as are a pair of aces with a 9 or 10, or specifically 7-8-9. The other hands that will usually be played, but MUST be played multi-way, are rolled-up nines through kings.
Other small pairs accompanied by small cards are much more vulnerable than the hands above in both directions, and can sometimes be played, preferably heads-up, but great care must be taken with these hands, as well as three-card eights without straight possibilities and three suited cards that include two small ones.
Any other hands, other than ones where you might try to steal the antes with a low card showing against only picture cards remaining, should be thrown away. Many players will play high pairs, but this is a mistake that will cost money almost all the time. By focusing on playing hands that either have a great chance of scooping, or are so strong in one direction that they will almost come out ahead in a multi-way pot, you will be able to become a successful 7 Card Stud High/Low Regular player.
The Main Index for Poker Variant Seven Card Stud High/Low Regular.