H.O.R.S.E. Poker Overview

H.O.R.S.E. Poker is the most popular mixed poker game format and it is becoming even more popular every day. H.O.R.S.E. Poker doesn’t use any special rules; it simply rotates the following 5 poker games:

H – Holdem (Texas Holdem)
O – Omaha
R – Razz
S – Stud (7 Card Stud)
E – Eight or Better (7 Card Stud Hi-Lo)

In cash games, the game changes every time the dealer’s button makes a complete orbit around the table. Depending on how many people are at the table, the game usually changes once every 5-10 hands. In tournaments, the game changes every X minutes, where X is determined by the casino, or after every increase in blind levels.

At live casinos, H.O.R.S.E. is commonly reserved for the high stakes tables because casual players rarely have a working knowledge of all 5 poker games. Online, however, players can find H.O.R.S.E. games at all stakes.

Online players looking for a new way to earn profits at the tables should take a serious look at H.O.R.S.E. poker. At high stakes levels, the game can be very difficult but at the low and small stakes levels, the game is full of people who only have a working knowledge of 1 or 2 of the games in the lineup. The rest of the time, it’s a feeding frenzy for the players who know all the games.

Learn How to Play H.O.R.S.E.

Becoming proficient at 5 different games is no easy task but if you make the effort, the rewards will make it worth it. Not only will you make money at H.O.R.S.E. poker but you will most likely improve all aspects of your poker game as you challenge your mind with these different forms of poker.

The good news is that the basics aren’t super difficult to wrap your mind around. Texas Holdem and Omaha are structured very similarly and the other 3 games on the list are all based on the same structure as well. If you already know how to play Texas Holdem, you’ll be able to catch on to Omaha fairly quickly. After that, you can learn 7 Card Stud and you’ll have 3 of the 5 games down just like that.

The best way to learn how to play H.O.R.S.E. poker is to learn each game individually. Learn the rules of the games and then play them for smaller stakes than you normally do until you get each one down pat. After you can jump in and play any of the 5 games without referring to the rules or losing money, you’ll be ready to try your hand at H.O.R.S.E.

H.O.R.S.E. and the WSOP

H.O.R.S.E. Poker was introduced to the World Series of Poker in 2006 with a special $50,000 buyin event. This tournament was filled with extremely skilled poker players and was said to be the true test of the best player in the world. The winners of the first H.O.R.S.E. WSOP Events have included:

  • 2006: Chip Reese
  • 2007: Freddy Deeb
  • 2008: Scotty Nguyen
  • 2009: David Bach

This list is a powerhouse of successful poker players so it looks like whoever came up with the tournament had the right idea. Unlike the Texas Holdem Main Event, the H.O.R.S.E. event has so far been won by well-known poker professionals. With its fields of 5,000+ players, the Main Event just has too many people fighting in what is basically a giant mosh pit for it to be any sure indicator of the best player in the world.

Of course, no single tournament can determine the best overall player in the world but this one definitely comes closer than the WSOP Main Event. A single look at the winner’s list is all the evidence you need.