HORSE Poker: What It Is and How To Play

Ever since the late Chip Reese won the inaugural H.O.R.S.E. event at the 2006 World Series of Poker, the multi-game poker variant has continued to gain in popularity among casual and professional players. In fact, after Chip’s passing in 2007, the WSOP paid homage to the former champ by awarding the “David ‘Chip’ Reese Memorial Trophy” along with $50,000 to the H.O.R.S.E world championship winner. The mixed poker games has several layers and details to it and is why we created this guide to explain basic HORSE poker rules, how to play and some basic strategy and tips for those just learning.

Where To Find The Best HORSE Poker Games Online

Ignition Poker
Ignition Poker

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Bovada Poker
Bovada Poker

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Betonline
Betonline

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Sportsbetting
Sportsbetting

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Americas Cardroom
Americas Cardroom

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100+ Games

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Intertops
Intertops

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175+ Games

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HORSE Poker Rules

The first thing you need to know about HORSE poker is what game formats are used. The mixed poker games test each player’s skill set in Texas Hold’Em, Omaha Hi, Razz, Stud High and Stud High-Low 8’s-or-better. For details on how to play each game, click the hyperlinked text on each.

Here’s a H.O.R.S.E. cheat sheet to remember what is and isn’t active during each round:

Game Fixed Limit Hole Cards Community Cards High Hand Ranking Blinds and Dealer Button
Hold’em YES YES YES  YES YES
Omaha Hi YES YES YES  YES  YES
Razz YES YES NO NO NO
Stud High YES YES NO  YES NO
Eights-or-Better YES YES NO NO NO

How Do You Play HORSE Poker?

Much like basketball’s H.O.R.S.E. or better yet, “Around the World” mini-games, you play HORSE poker by having each person at the table deal out one full round of each game. If there’s six people at the table, that means six games of Hold’em before six games of Omaha Hi can begin. A LIVE dealer will call out when the games switch, while online poker casinos will notify which game is active near the top of the screen.

Each HORSE game are typically played under fixed limit betting rules. Keep this in mind if you’re a fan of No Limit Hold’em as it’ll significantly impact your real money poker strategy. These pot limits, say $5/$10, remain the same for all five poker games. After Hold’em and Omaha Hi, the dealer button remains in place until Hold’em is up again as a way to keep big/small blinds organized.

H.O.R.S.E Breakdown
  • Hold’em
  • Omaha Hi
  • Razz
  • Stud
  • Eights-or-better Stud

HORSE Strategy and Tips

  • Observe, study and learn all poker variants before jumping into a game of H.O.R.S.E. or you’ll likely lose your bankroll in short order, especially when up against seasoned players.
  • Because these are all fixed limits games, play your strong starting hands and don’t slow play a hand. Slow play is sub-optimal.
  • Pay special attention to and study up on the three games without community cards. Casual poker players who are more comfortable with games featuring five community cards will be surprised to learn the strategic challenges that come with none.
  • As much as you want to solely focus on your own cards, the more reps you earn, the more often you should start to pay close attention to the actions of your opponents. This can help you scoop pots easier than if you were to just play your hand.
  • You can make some noise during the Razz rotation when possessing strong hole cards (low-hand wins) and should bet aggressively when the opportunity presents itself.

HORSE Poker FAQs