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

With the rising popularity of poker, more and more people are now learning and playing its different variants.  Texas Hold’em and Seven Card Stud were the most popular forms of poker throughout the world. Now a days the poker players are opting for mixed poker games, one of them is H.O.R.S.E.

H.O.R.S.E is an acronym for the mixed poker variants.  This form of poker was only played by high stake players in land based casinos.  The most interesting example is the Bobby’s Room at Bellagio where masters of poker competed against each other in the seven games.  These seven poker variants are played in rotation and the name is based on their respective places in the same.

Five Variants of Poker in H.O.R.S.E

H.O.R.S.E is one of such mix poker games. It is a combination of different variants of poker which are

  • Texas Hold’em
  • Omaha Hi
  • Razz
  • Stud
  • Eight or Better

Texas Hold’em:  Texas Hold’em is one of the most common variations of standard poker.  This game is played with a standard deck of cards.  This game deals with two hole cards and five community cards with face side up in three rounds known as “The Flop”, “The Turn” and the “The River”.  Community and hole cards form the best five card hand. One should keep in mind that Aces have the highest value in this game.

Omaha Hi: Omaha poker can be classified as one of the derivatives of the Texas Hold’em.   In this game all the players are provided with four “hole cards”.  These cards should be used along with five community cards, dealt by the dealer to form a best hand.  Players need to use any three community cards along with two of their hole cards to create the best poker hand.

Razz:  Razz Poker is classified as a “Low” variant of Seven Card Stud Poker.  Some players call it Seven Card Razz.  The game play involves creating the lowest possible combination by using five cards from the hand of seven cards dealt to the player.  Razz Poker is a form of lowball poker which considers ace to five as the lowest denomination cards.  This game is played with a normal 52 card deck by two to eight players.

Stud: The Seven Card Stud requires a normal deck of cards for its game play. Two to eight players can play this game. When playing for a single pot at a time, a player should try to win maximum number of chips.  As the player with the highest number of chips wins this game. The whole game play of the game comprises of four sections which are

  • Set Up
  • The Bring
  • Betting Rounds
  • Showdown

Eight or Better:   In this variant of Seven Card Stud, player with a traditional high poker hand and the player with the best Ace to Five lowball hand share the pot. In this game all players receive seven cards from the dealer.  A player may form a best five card hand or a low hand with an eight or a better qualifier to win the pot.  Some players call this game “Seven Card Stud Hi Lo”.

Rules for Playing H.O.R.S.E

In H.O.R.S.E, the rules governing the rotation of the games can be altered by considering the house rules.  The standard conventions which guide the H.O.R.S.E are as follows.

  • All the players must agree on the rotation of the poker variants.
  • Addition/Removal of a game from the rotation needs approval from all the players.
  • In the tournament the rotation of the games should be decided beforehand.
  • All the variants should be played for one full rotation.
  • There must be some sign to remind the players of the variant of poker currently in play.
  • Players must play all the variants and cannot skip any one of the five.