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HORSE Poker Tournaments

For most of us, participating in a game of HORSE involves a hoop and a basketball.  For poker players at the World Series of Poker, 2006, it will involve $50,000 buy-in's and millions of dollars to win.  HORSE Poker is thought by many to be one of the biggest tests of skill for poker players because it measures a player's all around game.  Many professionals complain that the huge pool of players and the nature of the No Limit Hold'em game, lends too much weight to luck in the $10,000 WSOP main event.  With a buy in this large, count on a field of well known poker legends and some great televised poker!

So, what does H.O.R.S.E. stand for?

Hold'em
Omaha
Razz
Seven Card Stud
Seven Card Stud, Eight or better.

How are HORSE tournaments played?  What are the rules?

Player's buyin to the tournament in the usual way, and the game begins as Hold'em.  At set intervals, the game changes to the next poker variation.  The intervals can be done each time the blinds increase, with each rotation of the dealer chip, or something entirely different.  The timing is completely up to the tournament director who creates the rules.  The game continues to change throughout the tournament, following the progressions until we are left with one man standing...or sitting...with all the chips and wads of cash in front of him.

How can I fit HORSE into my home poker game?

HORSE is a great idea for a home game.  It takes the concept of "dealer's choice" and gives it structure.  One can go with either a HORSE tournament or a simple cash game format.  For a tournament, switching to the new variation every time the dealer chip makes a rotation is advised, as this will keep the game changes coming at a good rate to keep everyone interested in the format.  For a cash game, the only difference is, you do not increase blinds or antes.  They stay at the same level for the entire night.

Keep it Simple!

Playing a HORSE Tournament or cash game will add all the complexity you want to your home game.  To make things easier, have the basic rules for each game printed out to distribute to your players who may or may not be familiar with each game.  Even running through a few test hands for each game is a good idea to give folks the idea of how each variation is played.  Make sure you, as the tournament or game host has a good grasp of each game as well!

HORSE Tournament Strategy

The two most important things to keep in mind when playing HORSE poker are "what are my weaknesses?" and "what are my strengths?" in that order!  No matter how great a no limit texas hold'em player you are, if you trickle away your chips in Razz, you're not going to win alot of HORSE tourneys.  Get plenty of practice in the variations, and especially the ones you are weakest in, before sitting down to a HORSE tournament.  If you still feel weak in one particular game, make a point to only tangle with the other players when you have a very strong hand.  Save your chips for variations that you feel you have a skill advantage
and push hard then.

You should do your best to get an idea of your opponents strengths and weaknesses as well.  Many players will give obvious tells when the game changes.  When the game changes to 7 Card Stud eight or better and Billy Bob says "wake me up when Hold'em starts again," you've got a good idea that this probably isn't a strong point for him.  Meanwhile, if you find yourself sitting across from 7 Card Stud ace, Ted Forrest, you might want to play rather cautiously during the 7 Card Stud round!

Where can I practice HORSE Tournaments?  Who has Razz??

Currently Full Tilt Poker is the place to be for online poker HORSE tournaments.  Plenty of low buy-ins and HORSE freerolls can be found here.  They also have some of the more active Razz tables in the online poker world.

Full Tilt is currently giving depositors a 100% signup bonus up to $600 free.  Use the bonus code EXTRACHIPS for your $600 bonus.  If you would like to know more about Full Tilt, take a moment to read our Full Tilt Poker Review.