HORSE Poker Rules: How to Play HORSE Poker

Some poker players become very skilled and knowledgeable in one discipline and play that as often as possible. This is a good tactic for many players but with so many different types of poker to choose from, there is a lot to be said for diversifying your poker skills.

HORSE provides poker players with the perfect opportunity to showcase different skills in games or tournament settings. The type of poker that is played in each round alternates and in HORSE, there are five different poker types. The games are as follows:

  • H: Hold ‘Em
  • O: Omaha
  • R: Razz
  • S: Seven Card Stud
  • E: Eight or Better Seven Card Stud (Stud Hi-Lo)

If the game is taking place in a rotation style the game will change each time a full round has been made by the dealer. When HORSE is played in a tournament, the game is changed as a round ends or after a pre-determined amount of time. The way HORSE is played can be flexible so make sure you understand the layout and rules before you start playing.

The game is also popular in tournament play and regularly features in the World Series of Poker events.

How to Play HORSE

As HORSE is made up of a number of games, there is a need for players to follow the rules for each individual game. This will determine the success or failure of the player in the overall game so it is wise to familiarise yourself with each of the separate games involved with HORSE.

In mixed game tournaments, there is a greater need to keep an eye on your bankroll and the bankroll of your opponents. This is true in standard play but when it comes to mixed game tournaments, knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and potential areas to attack opponents can be the key to winning.

Best HORSE Starting Hands

When thinking about the best starting hands for HORSE, there is a need to think about each individual game.

  • Hold ‘Em – Amongst the best starting hands for Hold ‘Em would be A,A or K,K or Q,Q or A,K when both are in the same suit or A,Q when both are in the same suit.
  • Omaha – A,A,K,K would be the best starting hand in Omaha with the next best considered to be A,A,J,10. After this having a pair of Aces with a pair of Queens, Jacks or 10s would be considered the best starting hand.
  • Razz – In Razz, an opening hand of A,2,3 is deemed the best starting hand but in general, you should look for low cards that avoid pairs.
  • Seven Card Stud – A three of a kind is going to be the best possible start in Seven Card Stud but this doesn’t come up that often. You should be happy starting with a high pair, ranging from a pair of Aces to a pair of 10s but a medium pair, between 9’s and 6’s is not disastrous.
  • Eight or Better – An opening hand that provides a high pair or a potential for a low straight (with no pairs) is what you should be looking out for.

HORSE Poker Tips

  • Playing tight is a very basic tip for HORSE players but it is an important one. There is a need for players to remain patient and stay in the game.
  • Paying attention to up cards and the actions of other players is extremely important when playing HORSE. There is a lot of information provided in the cards that are dealt face up and with the cards that are removed from play. Staying alert and observing is an integral part of HORSE success.
  • Having a great understanding of the individual games of HORSE will be a big factor too. Make sure you know the basics of all the games and have a level of confidence in them.
  • Master one of the lesser games. While having a level of understanding for all the games is important, if you are able to master Razz or Stud Hi-Lo, you will be in a strong position to do well in these games.
  • React to the differences between the games. When playing poker it is often helpful to fall into the rhythm of the game which can help players to make decisions about raising or folding. However, when each game is different, it is important for a player to be able to play each game on its own merits and pace.