Poker’s dynamic nature has genuinely allowed it to be versatile and become its own everywhere that it goes. Naturally, this gives you freedom as a player to choose the poker variant you like the most and perfect it by spending as much time on it as you possibly can. However, there is one poker variant that tests the best of the best by picking the most popular poker variants and putting them in a streak to check your complete arsenal of abilities. This is a series of sorts the ultimate winner is crowned based on who outperforms everyone else in all of the variations involved. This type of poker is known as Horse Poker.
What is Horse Poker?
Horse in poker does not refer to a single game type; rather, it is a combination of poker games that have been put together in a sequence to test the players in a more wholesome manner. H.O.R.S.E is an acronym for Hold em, Omaha Hi Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud and Eight or Better (Seven Card Stud high low). Each of these variants is significantly different from the other, even though its core may be the same. Some may be masters at selected variations and may not be as confident in other variations. This creates an exciting poker table for horse games where only the most skilled players can excel.
Beginner’s Guide on How to Play Horse Poker
While learning how to play horse poker and succeeding at it, it is important for you to gain ample experience in each of the five poker variants played in this game. Starting-off, it is likely that you are more comfortable playing Texas Hold’em than any other form of poker, but in order to do well in horse games, you will have to start playing stud games, limit games and high hand variations. If you have never played a horse game before, here are a few points to bear in mind.
Being a combined presentation of a number of games, in horse poker; the betting rounds, poker hands, rules and timings, they all change as per the prevailing variation being played. If you are someone who is moderately comfortable with the five variations being played, you might not worry about this. However, what you might want to take into consideration is that while there are no-limit and pot-limit horse games, the most widely played version is the one with a fixed limit. For those familiar with no-limit variations, you will have to make the adjustment beforehand to avoid trouble.
Change of Game
For those wondering how to play horse poker, a common query in mind is regarding the shift between one poker variant to the next. Basically, there are two ways in which you can go about with the change in the game. If you’re playing a cash game, then the variant almost always changes by default after the completion of one round from the dealer position (generally 5-10 hands). After this, the dealer can change the game. For tournaments, the change occurs when the blinds increase. This can continue as many times necessary, and in cash games, it’s a never-ending loop.
Know how to play Horse Poker
Now that we have gone over the structure of horse poker games and we understand the dynamics involved in crowning the winner let us take a more in-depth look at the five game variants being played at the table. The order of these games being organized is precise as per the acronym. Therefore, we begin with Texas Hold’em and end with Eight or Better.
Being the most widely played poker variant, this is likely the one that most players would be able to ace at. However, generally, players are used to playing the no-limit version of hold’em so that adjustment needs to happen. Apart from that, this is a simple variation to understand. You’re dealt with two hole cards and provided with five community cards. Out of the seven available options, you must make the best five-card poker hand combination in order to win the pot. Starting hands are crucial here.
Here too, your objective is the make the best five-card poker hand combination that you possibly can. The difference in this poker variant is that you are dealt with four hole cards instead of two. Five community cards are dealt, which gives you nine cards at your disposal. There is a rule stating that you can only use two of your hole cards and three of the community cards in order to make your poker hand.
Up next, we have a totally different poker variant altogether. Here, the objective is not to make the highest poker hand possible; instead, it is to make the lowest. Each player receives seven cards in every hand using which they must then put together the lowest five-card poker hand combination possible. The ace is regarded as a low card in this variant. The hand itself is read from the highest card to the lowest one. For those who may know, Razz shares similarities with Seven Card Stud.
Seven Card Stud
The next game that you will be playing during the horse set is the popular seven card stud variation. Just like Razz, here too each player is dealt with seven cards. The difference in seven card stud is that unlike razz, your objective here is to make the highest possible five-card poker hand combination, not the lowest. There is no concept of community cards in this game, and each player must only make use of the cards dealt with them.
Eight or Better
There is room for confusion here since you play with two mixed objectives. Your first challenge is to make the highest possible five-card poker hand ranking using the seven cards dealt with you. If you get this right, you are awarded half the pot. The other half is awarded to the person who forms the lowest hand. The task is that on the lower hand, you cannot have an eight or anything higher. Therefore, you will be making two hands in this variant. In case no one qualifies in the lower hand, then the person who made the highest hand wins the entire pot.
Online poker has been the talk of the industry in terms of poker. Now, you can be wherever you are and still participate in poker tournaments from around the world. For beginners, this is the best way to learn the game as everything is merely a click and a tap away. It is good to master a particular variant, but it is even better to do well in most poker games, and that is where Horse is such a tremendous opportunity to learn and evolve. By joining Spartan Poker, you can learn how to play poker, engage in all of the five variants mentioned for Horse, and then try your hand at it for yourself.