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How to Play 2 by 4 Stud Poker


2 BY 4 STUD POKER: Standard high-low 7 card stud, but to win the pot a player must have at least 2 of the following 4 requirements:
1. The highest spade in the hole. (Ace plays as highest card*.)
2. The lowest spade in the hole. (Deuce plays as lowest card.)
3. The best high poker hand.
4. The best low poker hand.
It is recommended to play 2 by 4 stud under 5432A low hand rules.
If no single player has at least 2 of the above qualifiers, the game is played again.

Summary of action:
Deal 2 hole cards and 1 up card to each player.
Deal 1 up card to each player ("4th street").
Deal 1 up card to each player ("5th street").
Deal 1 up card to each player ("6th street").
Deal 1 hole card to each player ("7th street").

* The ace of spades may also be played as a low card in the low hand.

Playing Tips for 2 by 4 Stud Poker


Strategy for 2 by 4 Stud Poker is similar to classic 7 card stud high-low. The twist is that your hand must include at least 2 of the 4 requirements in order to win. Because of that condition it is imperative that your starting hand has a chance at meeting this requirement. The most desirable way to do so it to start with at least 1 spade in the hole. It is recommended to play the low hand under 5432A rules. This will make it a bit easier to make a high and low hand.

While the ace of spades is ranked as the highest spade, any ace, including A♠ may also be played as the lowest card in a low hand.

Starting Hand Selection


As noted above, starting with at least one of the top 3 high or low spades in the hole gives you a better chance at winning. Without a good spade in the hole your only possibility of winning requires that you make both the best high and low hands. That's a tough spot to be in, since you are going to have to stay in for up to 5 rounds of betting before you know. Thus, when you are not dealt at least 1 spade as one of your original 2 hole cards you should consider folding unless your original 3 cards give you an excellent shot at drawing the best high and low hands. (For example 3 suited low cards or 3 low cards to a straight.) While it may still be possible to pick up a winning spade as your last hole card, there are too many rounds of betting you will have to weather and too small a chance of doing so. In the very best case scenario - 7 players staying until the end and neither the ace nor deuce of spades appearing among the up cards - there is only about an 9% chance of you catching one of them as your final hole card. The more likely case is that the winning spades are already among your opponents hole cards (why else are they in?) and you have zero chance. You should also consider folding if you are dealt only a middling spade such as 7, 8, 9 (probably 6 & 10, too) and don't also have a very good start for the high or low hand.

The absolute best starting hand you could get is ace of spades and deuce of spades as your 2 initial hole cards. You are now certain of at least a tie and virtually guaranteed to win. Your only concern would be to keep as many players in the game as possible and build the pot as high as you can. Having both a high spade (K♠ or Q♠) and a low spade (3♠ or 4♠) while not a lock, is worth playing. Obviously, you'd love to see any higher or lower spades show in the up cards. Another excellent starting hand would be trip aces with the ace of spades a hole card. You are half way to a lock and you have a great chance of making the best poker hand.

Having either the ace or deuce is a much more achievable 12:1 chance and is certainly playable. Now you are hoping to develop the highest or lowest poker hand or catch another winning spade as your last hole card. You could even win if no other player has a spade in the hole as a single spade in the hole can be considered both the highest and lowest in play. You'd prefer it to be the ace since it can act as both a high and low card, while the deuce probably only helps your low hand chances. Consider coming out strong right away in an effort to eliminate players which will give you a better chance of ending up with the best high or low hand.

It is about a 16:1 shot of both of your original 2 hole cards being spades. If they are both middle ranked and you have no other draws it is usually best to get out right away. But, if you are starting with 3 to a flush or straight or a pair with a high kicker, it may be worthwhile to play and see another card or 2.

What About Ties?


Two types of ties are possible in this game:

The easiest to deal with is when 2 players each possess 2 of the requirements. For example, 1 player has both the highest hole spade and the highest poker hand, while the second player has the lowest hand along with the lowest spade. In this case the pot is split evenly between them.

A bit more complicated is if 2 or more players tie for the best high or low hand. (A tie is not possible for the highest or lowest spade.) Although a tied high or low poker hand is possible, it is not a common occurrence. A tied high or low hand does not qualify as a winning hand. In order to win the pot a player must have 2 of the qualifying events outright.

Some Hole Card Probabilities


Approximate chances of these cards being dealt to you as your first 2 hole cards.

2 Hole Cards Percent ProbabilityOdds Probability
A♠3♠ or A♠4♠0.15%665:1
K♠2♠ or Q♠2♠0.15%665:1
K♠3♠ or K♠4♠ or Q♠3♠ or Q♠4♠0.3%332:1
Any other 2 spades5.2%18:1
Any 2 spades5.9%17:1
A♠ or 2♠7.7%12:1
K♠ or 3♠7.7%12:1
Q♠ or 4♠7.7%12:1
Any other (J♠ - 5♠) 1 spade27.2%2.7:1
Any 1 spade50%1:1