HORSE Poker Rules

Your probably wondering why this poker game is called horse!  HORSE is an abbreviation for Hold’em, Omaha Hi Lo, Razz, Stud (Seven Card Stud) and Eight or better (Seven Card Stud Hi Lo). H.O.R.S.E is the most popular mixed poker game and can be found in brick and mortar casinos as well as several online poker rooms. Popular with high stakes players, there is also a WSOP H.O.R.S.E tournament. High stakes players like to play H.O.R.S.E because they think they are so good at poker that they have a greater edge playing mixed games. This makes sense as someone who is a poker all-rounder is going to fare better playing H.O.R.S.E with another player who may be an expert at Hold’em but is not aware of the subtleties involved in the other games like Razz.

Basic HORSE Poker Rules

For detailed rules on how to play each individual page see our poker rules page.

1)      H.O.R.S.E. works by playing one round of each game. All games are played using the fixed limit betting structure.

2)      The first game played is Hold’Em followed by Omaha Hi Lo, then Razz, next is Stud and then eight or better. After the round of eight or better finishes, the game goes back to Hold’em and carries on in the same loop.

3)      What makes up a round? In online games, this is usually one hand of each game. After one hand of Hold’em, the game switches to Omaha Hi/Lo and so on. In tournaments, a “round” might be a certain period of time e.g. every 10 minutes the game switches. Sometimes in tournaments, the game changes after each blind level.

4)      The limits stay the same as the game switches. So if the blinds are $2/$4 for Hold’em then they will stay $2/$/4 for Omaha Hi Lo etc

5)      If you’re an advanced player then you might be wondering what happens when the game switches from Omaha Hi Lo to Razz. Razz, Stud and Eight or Better are all ante games whilst Hold’em and Omaha use blinds. The dealer button freezes when the game moves to Razz from Omaha Hi Lo. This makes sense as otherwise some players would have to post an extra blind.


Another common mixed game that you can find online and in casinos around the world is H.O.S.E. This is exactly the same as H.O.R.S.E. but without Razz.


Recently during high stakes online games, it was noticed that some players were sitting out during games that they were not familiar with and only playing the rounds that they were expert in e.g. only sitting in for the Hold’em round. This is now against the rules at most online poker sites and you will be booted from the table if you attempt this. Therefore make sure you know how to play each game before you sit down at a HORSE or HOSE table. This doesn’t mean that you have to play every hand so don’t be afraid to only play very strong hands in the games you are less familiar with.

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