HORSE is a combination of 5 different poker variations with the game variation being played changing after a set amount of time or a set number of hands played, depending on the poker room and the structure you are playing. For example, after 15 minutes of limit hold’em the game being played would be changed to Omaha hi/low, and so on until each of the 5 variations have been played for fifteen minutes, at which time it would start all over again with limit hold’em.
A game of HORSE consists of Texas hold’em, Omaha hi/low, razz, seven card stud and stud hi/low. The games rotate in that order and all of the games are played using the limit betting style. To succeed at HORSE you must be able to skilfully play each of the 5 poker games included in a game of HORSE.
HORSE has become a very popular game for the high limit professional poker players who have become tired of just playing no limit Texas hold’em all the time. Many professionals feel that HORSE is the best way to determine who the best poker player is because it takes skill and understanding in 5 different poker game varieties to succeed rather than just the most popular Texas hold’em.
Most people know how to play hold’em and Omaha and you can find the razz poker rules on this site, so we will take a quick look at the seven card stud rules so that you know how to play each game variation of HORSE.
Seven card stud is an ante game where you try to make the best possible poker hand with the seven cards you are dealt; four of which are dealt face up and three face down. To start a hand every player antes up and is then dealt three cards, two face down and one face up. The player with the lowest up card after the first three cards have been dealt is the first to act. This player must either ‘bring in’ and pay half of the low limit bet, or complete the bet to the full low limit bet. After the betting for this round has finished all players are dealt another up card and the player with the highest combination of up cards starts the betting.
In this round the bets are still at the low limit, with the exception that if the first player has a pair they can choose to double the minimum bet. After this betting round is complete a third up card is dealt and play proceeds as in the previous round, except for the fact that the betting is now at the high limit. The high limit betting continues for the next two rounds in which the last up card is dealt and a final down card is dealt. Finally at showdown, the player with the highest 5 card hand wins the pot.