How to Play HORSE Poker

HORSE Poker is one of the most challenging variations of the game that can be played, earning it the nickname "The Hated Game" among professional players. Hated or not, HORSE is quickly making a big splash on the professional poker scene, in large part because it is a game that separates the true professionals from the amateurs.

HORSE Poker is actually a mixed game tournament that consists of five different forms of poker combined in a single game. The poker games that are combined to make HORSE Poker are:

(H) Holdem

(O) Omaha

(R) Razz

(S) Seven Card Stud

(E) Eight or Better (also known as Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo)

When playing HORSE Poker, the form of poker being played switches after a set increment. This is usually when the blinds increase after each timed round, but is sometimes changed each time the dealer button moves once around the table.

This unique combination makes HORSE Poker a particularly difficult form of poker to make, especially since most people are not on a professional level of play at one of more of these games. This makes it important to play strong during the rounds that feature a game you are good at playing, so that other rounds do not hurt you as much. For example, if you are great at Holdem and Omaha, you want to play strong during those rounds, not passive, so that your chip stack won't be hurt as bad if you perform poorly during the Razz round.

Another important aspect of playing HORSE Poker is that it is absolutely imperative to pay close attention to when games are switched. If you aren't careful, you could find yourself playing a different game than everyone else at the table, which will certainly come with disastrous results. This is especially true when the game switches from Seven Card Stud to the Hi/Lo version of the game.