Playing High/Low Chicago
Chicago High and Low isn’t one game. In fact, it is actually two games. Both are very similar to Seven Card Stud. The main difference between Chicago High and Chicago Low is that in the high game, the player who has accumulated the best hand wins only half the pot, whilst the player the highest spade hole card wins the other half. In Chicago Low, half of the pot is paid out to the player with the best hand, and the other half is paid out to the player with the lowest spade hole card. In both games, if no player has a spade hole card, the pot is given entirely to the player with the best hand. Since the games are so similar, we have decided to take a look at both of them, in the same article!
How to play the game
The first three cards are known as the Third Street. Once the betting is complete, the dealer will hand each player another card facing upwards (Fourth Street). The player with the best hand showing must bet first now. He or she can check, bet or fold. Everybody else must follow suit. Another face up card is dealt to each player (Fifth Street), and another round of betting begins. This will continue into the Sixth Street and Seventh Street cards, with rounds of betting in-between. After the Seventh Street and final bet, the player with the best poker hand using 5 out of 7 cards will win half the pot. As mentioned, the player will the highest or lowest spade will win the other half, depending on whether you are playing Chicago High or Chicago Low.
Placing your bet
The first thing that any player must do is place an Ante bet. Once the Ante bet has been staked, the player will be dealt three cards, with two of them face down and one of them facing upwards. Whoever has the lowest valued card showing makes the first bet, which is called the “bring-in”. The bet will then continue for every player, and they must at least call to remain in the hand. Players are entitled to call, re-raise or fold, if another player raises the bet.
The ranking of the hands
In order to win the best hand, you will need to use standard poker hands. In Chicago, the standard poker hands include High Cards, Two Pairs, Three of a Kind, Straights, Flushes, Full Houses, Four of a Kind, Straight Flushes and Royal Flushes, in order of the least ranking, to the highest ranking hands.
Double victory, or a shared pot?
What if the player with the highest hand, also has the highest (or lowest) spade? There are a few variants of Chicago out there that amend this rule. In some games, if the player with the best hand also has the highest or lowest spade, they win the entire pot. In other variants, if the player with the best hand has the highest (or lowest) spade hole card, then they only win half of the pot, and the player with the second (highest or lowest) spade card, will win the other half of the pot.