Developed by experienced poker players
seeking a greater challenge, mixed poker games
such as HORSE Poker have leaked out of the high stakes
card rooms, spreading into the major live tournaments, and successfully infiltrating the most popular online poker
sites. Paramount to HORSE Poker strategy
is a thorough knowledge of every game that populates the mix.
The anagram, HORSE, stands for the poker variants that make up the game:
Hold'em (usually Limit Texas Hold'em)
Omaha Hi/Lo (Omaha Hi/Lo Split 8/better)
Seven Card Stud
Eight or Better (7 Card Stud Hi/Lo 8/better)
It is highly recommended that players interested in HORSE Poker familiarize themselves with the rules and strategies of each of these poker forms before risking real money in a HORSE Poker ring game or tournament. The more proficiency a player has with each constituent, the better their results will be.
HORSE Poker is consistently regarded as an examination of a player's poker skill and diversity. Until the mixed game was added to the World Series of Poker's preliminary event schedule with an unheard of $50,000 buy-in, HORSE Poker was rarely found outside of high-stakes games played in casino poker rooms
by the most feared and respected professional poker players in the world.
Flash-forward to the addition of HORSE Poker cash games, now available at all of the top-ranked online poker sites
in the world, and one finds that the general opposition in the lower limits is actually somewhat soft. Inexperienced poker players make up the larger bulk of low stakes online HORSE Poker rings games.
Many players are unfamiliar with the more obscure poker forms of Razz
and 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo Split Eight or Better, giving a significant advantage to players who have taken the time to study these variants. In fact, many Texas Hold'em players have little or no experience playing Limit Texas Hold'em, and therefore are not prepared to compensate for an inability to control the pot with an all-in raise.
However, at each step up the stake ladder, the aptitude and well-rounded skill of the opposition grows. A logical, beginner HORSE Poker strategy encourages new players to first immerse themselves in each of HORSE Poker's variants, then make their entrance into the lower limit online HORSE Poker games.
When choosing a HORSE Poker table online, it is extremely beneficial to examine the table statistics before making the selection. Tables showing players to have obvious difficulty with specific games can be quite lucrative to one who has taken the time to apprehend a good working knowledge of the lesser known HORSE Poker components.
While the mixed poker ring games generally rotate games after a specific number of hands - or passes of the button - HORSE Poker Tournaments often switch to the next round when the blinds are raised. This is important to note, because many more hands of Texas Hold'em Poker
will likely be played than any other form. Omaha Hi/Lo
tends to take a little longer to complete each hand, especially since players are less likely to fold pre-flop. 7 Card Stud variants - Hi, Razz and Hi/Lo Eight or Better - by their very nature take longer to play out. Therefore, in a HORSE Poker tournament with the games switching at regular time intervals, Texas Hold'em may well be the element that decides the outcome of the HORSE Poker tournament.
Early in a HORSE tournament, while one's chip stack is still in good shape, it may be useful to take an occasional risk. Especially if the risk reveals pertinent information about an opponent's betting and bluffing tendencies.
Adaptability is essential in HORSE Poker tournaments. If the opponents at the table are predominately playing tight, loosening up one's own game play along with aggressive betting will provide opportunities to steal the blinds, bluff a "checked" hand, or limp in with a drawing hand. Alternatively, when the opposition is playing loose and aggressive, it is best to play a tighter game, conserving one's chips for only for strong hands.
Most important of all is paying attention to the game rotations. Texas Hold'em and Omaha Hi/Lo are obvious poker variants to recognize in HORSE Poker, but the 7 Card Stud Poker
variants are all dealt the same way. If a player is not paying attention when the game switches from Razz to 7 Card Stud, they are likely to fold a strong hand, or bet/raise on a weak hand. This could lead to untold losses before one realizes the folly.
An attempt to master every poker variant present in a game of HORSE Poker is an arduous undertaking that can literally require years of dedicated study and practice. Poker players will most often exhibit the greatest skill in the poker variants that they have had the most experience playing. One need not avoid HORSE Poker entirely until all of the forms have been mastered. Recognizing that Razz (for example) is a weak point in one's own HORSE Poker game will allow adjustments to be made to the way one plays Razz at a HORSE Poker table.
With an accurate understanding of one's strongest and weakest poker games, a sensible HORSE Poker strategy is to play the strong games to the fullest, while pulling back in the weak games. Since it is not an option to sit out of one rotation of a HORSE Poker game, one can adapt by playing ultra-tight in the games that are the most challenging. If a player can simply learn the absolute best hand for that poker variant, and fold any hand that does not fit the bill, the player can save their chips for the poker variants they are more comfortable with.
While it is strategically advantageous to cultivate a stronger education of the HORSE Poker games that one experiences the most difficulty with, this need not be accomplished in the midst of a HORSE Poker tournament or ring game. Continuing education in the more arduous forms away from a HORSE Poker table will help a player to achieve continuous improvement. Reading strategy guides and playing "play money" or low stakes online poker versions of the individual variants are a good start.