Ever since the late Chip Reese won the inaugural HORSE event at the 2006 World Series of Poker, the multi-game poker variant has continued to gain in popularity among casual and professional players. In fact, after Chip’s passing in 2007, the WSOP paid homage to the former champ by awarding the “David ‘Chip’ Reese Memorial Trophy” along with $50,000 to the H.O.R.S.E world championship winner. The mixed poker games has several layers and details to it and is why we created this guide to explain basic HORSE poker rules, how to play and some basic strategy and tips for those just learning.
The first thing you need to know about HORSE poker is what game formats are used. The mixed poker games test each player’s skill set in Texas Hold’Em, Omaha Hi, Razz, Stud High and Stud High-Low 8’s-or-better. For details on how to play each game, click the hyperlinked text on each.
Here is a HORSE cheat sheet to remember what is and isn’t active during each round:
|Game||Fixed Limit||Hole Cards||Community Cards||High Hand Ranking||Blinds and Dealer Button|
|Eights or Better||YES||YES||NO||NO||NO|
Much like basketball’s HORSE or better yet, “Around the World” mini-games, you play HORSE poker by having each person at the table deal out one full round of each game. If there’s six people at the table, that means six games of Hold’em before six games of Omaha Hi can begin. A LIVE dealer will call out when the games switch, while online poker casinos will notify which game is active near the top of the screen.
Each HORSE game are typically played under fixed limit betting rules. Keep this in mind if you’re a fan of No Limit Hold’em as it’ll significantly impact your poker strategy. These pot limits, say $5/$10, remain the same for all five poker games. After Hold’em and Omaha Hi, the dealer button remains in place until Hold’em is up again as a way to keep big/small blinds organized.
H.O.R.S.E. poker is a multi-game variant that is comprised of rounds of Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Razz, Stud and Eights-or-better stud. After each player at the table deals a game, the next round of H.O.R.S.E. begins.
HORSE is comprised of Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Razz (seven-card stud low), Stud (seven-card stud high) and Eights-or-Better (seven-card stud high/low).
Yes, HORSE tournaments are offered both in land-based casinos like at the World Series of Poker and small satellites as well as at some online casinos.
A better idea would be to play the five games that make up HORSE before playing the multi-game itself. Go and play FREE practice hands of Hold’em, Omaha Hi, Razz, Stud and Eights-or-better stud to learn the lay of the land and build individual strategies for each game.
Whether or not you win more playing HORSE poker is relative to what you’re comparing it up against. The one thing you do need to know is that unlike No Limit Texas Hold’em, the pots are fixed limit, so you can’t go all-in and shouldn’t slow play hands because of this. Each pot total is capped.