The game of Stud high/low is a variation on the regular poker games whereby the pot can be shared, not something you come across very often! The principal word there is can, not will, because whilst there will always be a high winner, there won’t necessarily be a low winner. This is due to the fact that a winning low hand cannot contain any cards with a value above 8. Consequently, there will be several rounds, where no player meets this requirement and therefore nobody qualifies for the low pot. In this circumstance, the high winner scoops the whole pot.
It is possible to actually win both Stud high and low in the same game, through being dealt a hand which is referred to as the Bike or Wheel hand. This is a set of 5 cards consisting of a 5,4,3,2 and an ace. This is the lowest possible winning hand, using the ace as a low, but equally it can be a very good high straight, using the ace as a high.
Stud high/low is technically a very demanding game, which probably will take a little longer to master when compared to other forms of stud, such as 5 and 7 card. That said, it is a terrific alternative and for those who always feel they get poor hands dealt to them, it offers a genuine chance of gaining success.
Many people who play the game follow a simple rule and that is to bail out early if there seems to be no chance of a scoop hand. The game begins with each player receiving 2 hidden hole cards, plus 1 exposed card. Everybody makes a nominal wager and then a betting round continues clockwise. The fourth round of betting – or 4th street – is on an exposed card, and the first player to play is the one with the highest ranking card.
Should there be a tie on the leading card, there is an order of rank in the suits which is: spades, hearts, diamonds ad finally clubs. The betting streets continue as in a standard stud poker game through to the ‘river’ card. As with all poker games, the top hand is an ace high royal flush – 5 cards of the same suit in sequence; followed in order by: four of a kind – occasionally called quads, with a fifth card kicker; a full house – often referred to as a ‘boat’; a flush, a straight, three of a kind, two pairs, one pair and finally a highest card – preferably an ace!
Stud high/low poker is a serious game, but possibly because there can be two winners per hand, it doesn’t attract the same sort of media coverage and as a consequence hasn’t gained a great following. However, it is a very good game to be played online and whilst having a strategy is always advantageous, the ability to win through having the poorest hand can be quite appealing to a casual player.