H.O.R.S.E.

Introduction

The games described on this page are mixed poker games in which several different poker variants are played in a fixed sequence. They could be thought of as equivalent to the pentathlon in athletics: success requires skill and experience in all the variants included. To ensure fairness, a complete round of each game is played, every player having one chance to deal (or to have the dealer button) before the table moves on to the next game in the sequence. The names of the games are acronyms indicating which variants are played and in what order.

These formats are commonly used for tournaments, both face to face and on line. Unlike the home game of dealer's choice, once the game has begun the players have no choice about which variants to play and in what order.

H.O.R.S.E

The most famous of these mixed games is H.O.R.S.E in which the five games are:

Normally these are all played as limit games. The two shared card games Hold'em and Omaha are played with blinds and the three stud games with antes and a compulsory bring-in bet as usual.

If there are more than seven players at the table, the last player(s) in order (the dealer and if necessary the player to dealer's right) sit out for the seven-card stud games, to avoid the possibility that the deck will run out. Since a complete round of each variant is played, everyone at the table will sit out the same number of hands during these rounds.

An alternative format is sometimes used in casinos, in which the game is changed every 30 minutes when a new house dealer comes to the table.

C.H.O.R.S.E and C.H.O.R.S.E.L

These games are similar to H.O.R.S.E. but with the addition of one or two extra variants. The C stands for Crazy Pineapple and the L for Lowball, which in this case is California or Ace-to-Five Lowball.

R.O.E., H.O.E, H.O.S.E, S.H.O.E.

These are shorter (or more quickly cycling) games similar to H.O.R.S.E but involving only three or four of the variants.

Eight Game Mix

This version was introduced in 2008 and was offered as event 2 in the 2010 World Series of Poker, and is also available online at Pokerstars. It is sometimes known as T.H.O.R.S.E.H.A. and consists of eight variants played in the following sequence: