H.O.R.S.E. is a poker game that mixes up different games into a single format. In a set order, players begin with Texas hold ‘em, then Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, and Stud Hi/Lo. Most poker players train and practice just one of these formats, so playing five formats in a session creates a challenge.

H.O.R.S.E. is more popular than you might think, and the World Series Of Poker has hosted massive tournaments over the years. When the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. World Championship began in 2006, it was the largest buy-in tournament in the world. Poker legend David “Chip” Reese won the event and scored $1,784,640 for his efforts.

What is H.O.R.S.E. poker? You’re about to find out!

H.O.R.S.E. poker has nothing to do with real horses

If you want to know how to play H.O.R.S.E. poker, you’ve got to understand several poker formats (and their rules).

H.O.R.S.E. poker includes the following games:

  • Hold ‘em (limit Texas Hold ‘em)
  • Omaha Hi/Lo
  • Razz
  • Stud (7-card)
  • Eight or Better Stud (7-card)
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Other variations of H.O.R.S.E. include:

  • C.H.O.R.S.E (includes Chowaha or Crazy Pineapple)
  • H.O.R.S.E.H.A.T. (includes 2-7 triple draw, pot-limit Omaha, limit hold ‘em, and several other limit games

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PokerStars began offering H.O.R.S.E.H.A.T. in 2008 on their poker platform. They have the 8-game format, as well as H.O.R.S.E., with lots of different stakes.

It’s great to see a major platform offering online H.O.R.S.E., but the player traffic is very low. Logging on and finding a game is tricky in these formats since a huge majority of players are at the no-limit Texas hold ‘em or pot-limit Omaha tables.

Here’s how you can play H.O.R.S.E. online for real money or with free-play stakes. In our Poker with Friends article, we talked about how to start private Home Games at PokerStars – completely free of charge. Get some friends together and organize games of H.O.R.S.E. at whichever stake level you want (free play or real money). It’s easy to send out invites and get everybody at the same table, for tournament H.O.R.S.E. or cash game format.

A couple of players battling it out in a game of H.O.R.S.E on PokerStars

When you’re playing H.O.R.S.E., you’ve got to mix several strategies and rules. Something that works well in Texas hold ‘em doesn’t necessarily apply to ‌other games like Omaha hi/lo or 7-card stud.

This means that a successful H.O.R.S.E. player has to constantly change their strategy to fit the game they are playing. This is what makes the game exciting, but it poses a challenge for new players.

If you’re starting to learn H.O.R.S.E. poker, you’ll need to get familiar with all of the games. Most poker players already understand the rules of Texas hold ‘em and Omaha, but perhaps Razz and stud poker aren’t so familiar.

Pay careful attention to the game format. It will switch every round, so make sure you know which poker format you’re playing.

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Because H.O.R.S.E. poker is more challenging and complicated than other formats, it’s quite hard to find games online. PokerStars is the only major poker site that offers H.O.R.S.E. games, but finding players at the tables is tough. To make things worse, H.O.R.S.E. is a limit game, which most players aren’t familiar with.

You can play the poker games individually on other sites, but probably not in a limit structure. Most online poker games are played with a no-limit or pot-limit structure, which allows for larger bets and bigger pots.

One of the best sites for more popular poker formats is America’s Cardroom. Just like almost every online poker room, the highest traffic is on the no-limit Texas hold ‘em and pot-limit Omaha cash game tables. They also have Omaha hi/lo and 7-card stud (a format from H.O.R.S.E.).

America’s Cardroom is a great choice for tournaments and cash games

The stakes for these games start at $0.01/$0.02 (or $0.04/$0.08 for stud games) and peak at $200/$400 for Texas hold ‘em and Omaha. 90% of the player base is playing hold ‘em and Omaha cash games.

ACR has huge tournaments too, like the $22 Double Deuce with a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool. Weekends are always busy days for online poker rooms. Enter the Sunday Squeeze for $10.50 and compete for a $50,000 guaranteed prize pool.

Head to our Americas Cardroom software and game review to learn more about this long-running site and discover ACR’s bonuses.

Americas Cardroom is a popular poker room with over twenty years of history. Since 2011, it has been part of the Winning network, known for its soft fields with americans and canadians.