Rules of H.O.R.S.E (Eight or Better component)

The final component of H.O.R.S.E is of course ‘Eight or Better’, also known as seven eight, stud eight or eight or better high-low stud and the number eight is simply the qualifier for the low hand. Instead of normal stud where only the best 5-card high hand wins, in eight or better, both the best high and low hand wins and shares the pot.

So, in a nutshell, players have the opportunity of winning twice but only hands with eight high or lower can be considered as qualifying hands for the low end of the pot. For example if a player is dealt K-9-8-7-7-6-5 he or she can play a 9-high straight for the high hand but will not be able to play the low hand as he cannot make an eight high hand or lower!

In any high-low split game, be it Stud, or Omaha or any other variant of poker that allows for a split game, Aces can be both high and low. Players are allowed to use any five cards to make up the high hand and any five cards, whether they happen to be the same as the high hand or not, to make up the low hand. For example if a player is dealt A-A-8-6-6-4-3, his best high hand would be A-A-6-6-8 and his best low hand would be 8-6-4-3-A.

Quick Seven Card Stud Rules that Pertain to Eight or Better

The rules for eight or better are exactly the same as those of seven card stud:

  • The game is played with two hidden or down cards and one exposed or up card which are dealt before the first betting round takes place
  • Three more up cards are then dealt with a betting round after each card
  • After the final down card is dealt, there is one final round of betting and the best five-card poker hand, according to the traditional poker ranking, wins the pot
  • In all ‘limit’ games, where the betting limit is fixed, or predetermined before hand, the smaller bet is wagered on the first two betting rounds and the ‘big bet’ is wagered after the betting rounds on the 5th, 6th and 7th cards. An open pair in 4th street does not affect the limit

As with Seven Card Stud, the betting action begins even before the game, when each player is expected to ante up or place an opening bet. The low card by suit determines which player begins the betting, and an Ace counts as a high card for this purpose. For more in-depth information on each betting round take a look at our rules for Seven Card Stud.

Who Gets the Odd Chip?

Be aware that the splitting of the pot is determined by the cards and not by the players themselves and if the situation arises that there is an odd chip left in the pot after it has been split between the high and low hands, the chip goes to the high hand! It is probable that two players can tie in both the low and high hand and should this happen, then the pot should be split as evenly as possible and the player with the highest card by suit receives the odd chip. In this determination all the cards in hand are used.