HORSE Poker Game

Understanding the Basics

HORSE Poker is a combination of five different poker games. It is essential to have a basic understanding of each game to be successful. The games rotate on a fixed schedule, typically changing every orbit or after a set time period.

Why Play HORSE Poker?

This format tests a player’s skills in multiple forms of poker, making it a popular choice among experienced players. It requires adaptability and a diverse set of poker strategies.

The single Parts of HORSE

Part 1: Texas Hold’em (The ‘H’ in HORSE)

Fundamentals of Texas Hold’em

In Texas Hold’em, each player is dealt two private cards, and five community cards are dealt face-up on the board. Players must make the best five-card hand using any combination of the seven cards.

Key Strategy Tips

  • Understand Position: Position is crucial in Texas Hold’em. Playing in later positions allows you to see others’ actions before making your own.
  • Hand Selection: Be selective with your starting hands. Playing too many hands can be costly.

Part 2: Omaha Hi/Lo (The ‘O’ in HORSE)

Basics of Omaha Hi/Lo

Players receive four private cards and must use exactly two of them, along with three of the five community cards, to make a hand. The pot is split between the highest and lowest hands.

Strategic Considerations

  • Hand Selection: Look for hands that can win both the high and the low pots.
  • Beware of Draws: Drawing hands can be tempting but risky.

Part 3: Razz (The ‘R’ in HORSE)

Razz Essentials

Razz is a form of stud poker where players aim to make the lowest possible hand. Straights and flushes don’t count against a low hand.

Key Strategies

  • Starting Hands: Prioritize low cards, especially ‘wheel’ cards (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
  • Reading Opponents: Pay attention to the upcards of your opponents to gauge their hand strength.

Part 4: Seven Card Stud (The ‘S’ in HORSE)

Understanding Seven Card Stud

Players are dealt a mix of face-down and face-up cards over multiple betting rounds, aiming to make the best five-card hand.

Strategic Points

  • Starting Hand Selection: High pairs, connectors, and suited cards are strong starting hands.
  • Observe Opponents’ Cards: Keep track of visible cards to estimate odds.

Part 5: Stud Hi/Lo (The ‘E’ in HORSE)

Basics of Stud Hi/Lo

Similar to Razz, but the pot is split between the highest and lowest hands. Straights and flushes don’t count against a low hand.

Key Strategies

  • Aim for Scooping: Try to build a hand that can win both high and low.
  • Watch the Board: Monitor the cards in play to adjust your strategy accordingly.

General HORSE Poker Rules

  1. Game Rotation: HORSE Poker consists of five different poker games, which are played in a fixed rotation. The games included are:
    • H – Texas Hold’em
    • O – Omaha Hi/Lo
    • R – Razz (Seven Card Stud Low)
    • S – Seven Card Stud
    • E – Seven Card Stud Eight or Better (Stud Hi/Lo)
  2. Rotation Schedule: The games are usually rotated either after a set number of hands or a set time period. In tournament play, this rotation is often based on time, while in cash games, it’s usually based on the number of hands or dealer rotations.
  3. Betting Structures: HORSE is typically played in a fixed-limit format, meaning that the bet sizes are predetermined and consistent within each round of each game. There are no no-limit or pot-limit games in standard HORSE rotations.
  4. Equal Rounds: Each game is given equal play. For example, in a tournament, each game might be played for one hour, or in a cash game, each game might be played for one complete rotation of the dealer button.
  5. Understanding Each Game: To play HORSE Poker effectively, players need to understand the rules and strategies of each individual game within the rotation.
  6. Chips and Blinds: The chip values and blind structures remain consistent when transitioning from one game to the next. This consistency helps maintain balance across the different game types.
  7. Table Dynamics: Players must be able to quickly adjust to the changing dynamics as the game shifts from one variant to another.
  8. Ending the Game: In a tournament setting, the game continues until one player has all the chips. In a cash game, it can continue for a predetermined time or until players agree to end the session.

How HORSE came to be

This is one of the renowned mixed game variants available in the world of casino gaming. High roller players in and based casinos will usually go for a mix of poker games and not a single game. With a mixed game, the house edge will be lowered compared to a single game specialist. Many punters also believe that a mixed game will give a true reflection of a true poker gamer. HORSE is part of the WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker).

Understanding and Play HORSE Poker

HORSE Poker is a mixed-game format that combines several poker variants into a rotating sequence. The key to excelling in this format is versatility and adaptability. Players must be proficient in different styles of play, adjusting strategies as the game changes.


Adapting to different games is essential. Each segment of HORSE Poker requires a unique approach, so flexibility in your play style is crucial. Switch gears quickly and efficiently between games.

Understanding Hand Values

Hand values vary significantly between the different games in HORSE Poker. It’s vital to understand the strength of your hand in the context of the specific game you’re playing.

Position and Betting

Be aware of your position at the table. It influences your betting strategy and the way you play your hands. Positional awareness is key in making profitable decisions.

Player Observation

Observing your opponents’ tendencies and betting patterns is crucial. This information can be invaluable, especially when transitioning between games. Read your opponents to gain an edge.

Starting Hand Selection

Choosing the right starting hands is a fundamental skill. While the specifics vary, generally, selective aggression with strong starting hands pays off.

Bankroll Management

Effective bankroll management is vital. Given the game’s complexity, it’s important to play at stakes where you can withstand the variance without exhausting your bankroll.

Continuous Learning

The learning process never stops in HORSE Poker. Stay updated with strategies and practice regularly. Learning and adapting are continuous processes that help you stay competitive.


Mastering HORSE Poker is a challenging but rewarding journey. It requires a deep understanding of various poker strategies, keen observational skills, and the ability to adapt quickly. Remember, practice and patience are crucial in becoming a skilled HORSE Poker player.

Author: YPD
last updated 19.11.2023