HORSE Poker is a somewhat new addition to the global poker landscape, both online and in brick and mortar casinos. While the game itself is new, the components that comprise it are as old as the game of poker itself.
When it comes down to it, HORSE Poker can most simply be described as a combination of 5 different types of poker, including Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Eight or Better. What really draws players in is the fact that this single game brings in components of just about every other poker game out there. The contrasting gameplay from round to round makes for an exciting game because while a player may excel at Texas Hold’em, they may not be as skilled at Seven Card Stud or Omaha. The fact that so many different game types are played under the umbrella of HORSE poker, many believe that this game offers more of a level playing field than any of the 5 games do by themselves.
Games That Make Up HORSE Poker
As was stated previously, HORSE Poker is a game that only exists due to the existence of 5 other poker variants. The 5 variants, as well as a quick overview, are as follows:
Texas Hold’em: Texas Hold’em is easily the most popular poker variant in the world, and involves players utilizing 2 dealt hole cards and 5 community cards to put together the best possible hand. The last person left standing or the person with the superior hand is the hand’s winner.
Omaha: In many ways, Omaha is similar to Texas Hold’em in that it forces the players to use both hole and community cards to put together an ultimately superior hand. The difference, however, is that players are dealt 4 hole cards, but must rid themselves of 2 when putting together the best hand. Similar to Hold’em, this version of poker utilizes 5 community cards.
Razz: In Razz Poker the person with the lowest ranking hand wins the pot.
Seven Card Stud: By utilizing face up and face down dealt cards, players are to put together the best possible poker hand.
Eight or Better: This poker variant is almost identical to Seven Card Stud, with the only difference being that it follows hi-lo stud poker rules only.
Gameplay – HORSE Poker Rules
HORSE Poker is a game that can only be understood so long as you understand the rules of all the poker variants that comprises it. This is so because each time a hand is played, the rules governing that hand are the rules of the poker variant being played. That is, if you are playing Hold’em this hand, the only rules that are being followed are the rules of Hold’em. In most scenarios, the poker variant being played changes with each hand. Having said that, however, there are some casinos and online establishments that play a few consecutive hands of each poker variant before moving to the next. Sometimes, a specific poker variant will be played for a set time period before the table moves onto the next game.
Something that is worth mentioning is the fact that every game played in HORSE is fixed limit, meaning the amount someone can bet or raise is fixed.
Another key factor of HORSE is the fixed button requirement. That is, when the game transitions from Omaha Hi/Lo to Razz, the button is frozen in order to prevent situations where someone is able to avoid paying blinds or is forced to pay more blinds than they would have otherwise.
HORSE Poker Strategies
Because there are 5 different poker games making up this one variant, there are significantly less strategies that can be employed during a HORSE game than can be employed in any of the games individually. This means that if you are a Hold’em expert but have never played Omaha before, any wins you have during the Hold’em segment may be lost when you play the game that you really know nothing about. Understanding this, the best strategy to employ when playing HORSE is to have a more than basic understanding of all 5 poker variants.
Another strategy of sorts is to keep your mind focused on the current hand. With so much switching around taking place it is easy to turn your attention to the next Hold’em or Omaha hand rather than the Seven Card Stud Hand that is happening right now. By not remaining solely focused on the game at hand, you are running the risk of bypassing excellent moneymaking opportunities now for the possibility of winning hands down the road.