Exercise All Your Poker Skills with HORSE

HORSE is a Poker format that is a popular alternative to Dealer’s Choice when Poker players want to try a variety of Poker games during one playing session. It can be played in home games, but it is also available at land-based casinos, and more recently at mobile and online casinos.

A complete game of HORSE consists of five rounds, each round played in one of the Poker variants contained in the acronym. HORSE stands for Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Eight or Better. These five variations are all fixed-limit games, so the players will be wagering similar stakes during all five rounds. The differences between the five variants are explained below.

Kick off with Texas Hold’em                                                                       

In Texas Hold’em, after the blind bets have been placed, players are dealt two cards face down. After checking the value of their cards, players choose to bet or fold. Once all bets are called, three cards are dealt face up on the board, for communal use. Another round of betting is followed by a fourth card on the board, before more bets, the fifth and final card, and the final betting round. The player who can make the strongest combo with their two hole cards and any three of the cards on the board wins the pot.

Four Hole Cards in Omaha Hi-Lo

The Omaha Hi-Lo Poker variant, the second round in a game of HORSE, is similar to Texas Hold’em in many respects. However, the player is dealt four hole cards instead of two, and must then use the communal cards to make one high hand and one low hand. The total pot is split between the highest high hand and the lowest low hand, which must be eight-high or lower to qualify. Those are the basics, although the game has one or two special rules as well. A player with both the highest and the lowest hand on any deal wins the entire pot.

Razz is Seven-Card Stud Low

The third component is a round of Razz, aka Lowball Stud Poker. The object of the game is to make the lowest possible five-card hand from seven cards dealt, with no draws allowed. The best possible hand is a low straight, from A to 5, in mixed suits. Players are dealt two hole cards after staking the ante, then four face up cards, followed by a seventh hole card, with betting rounds in between, and after the final card is dealt.

Seven Card Stud up Next

The fourth round of HORSE consists of Seven-Card Stud, which is the reverse version of Razz. Until the rise of televised Hold’em, it was the most popular form of Poker at most casinos. Players stake an ante to be dealt two hole cards, followed by one card face up. The player with the lowest card showing must then ‘bring in’ the betting, and bets continue until all hands are called or folded. The player receives three more face up cards, with betting rounds in between, and a final hole card, followed by final bets. After the showdown, the highest five-card hand a player can make from their seven cards wins the pot.

Eight or Better Rounds Everything off

Eight or Better, also called Stud 8, is the final variant played in Horse. It is a Hi-Lo Split version of Stud, with many similarities to Razz. Playing HORSE give Poker fans valuable experience in different styles of Poker, which is helpful when they graduate to no-limit games.