The Origins of Poker; H.O.R.S.E.

In this edition of the Origins of Poker we profile the multi-game by the name of H.O.R.S.E. This poker game will test your skills as an overall poker player as it includes five variants of the game. Bring a full range of skills to the table or face a quick exit.

H.O.R.S.E. is a form of poker that features five different games in one.

They are played as follows:
H – Limit hold ’em
O – Limit Omaha hi/lo
R – Limit Razz
S – Limit 7 card Stud
E – Limit 7 Stud 8 or better (hi/lo)

The origins of this game are not clear, but since each variety has its own origins you can trace them back individually. H.O.R.S.E. requires a player to be good at a variety of games, thus making it a very difficult game to win. Many players do not like it because all sections are in a fixed-limit format. Although the final table in some recent tournaments, such as the $50,000 Poker Players Championship at the WSOP, have been no limit hold ’em to decide the eventual winner. H.O.R.S.E. rotates games every round or in some tournaments every blind increase. Every round means once the dealer has made a full rotation on the table then the game changes. Usually it is played with 6 to 7 players on each table due to the fact that the stud games require more cards and difficult to play with more players.

H.O.R.S.E. history at the WSOP:

Chip Reese

It was first played in 2002 with a $2,000 buy-in with John Hennigan winning the event, earning $117,320. In 2006 a record setting buy-in to any WSOP event of $50,000 was a H.O.R.S.E. event. This event was won by Chip Reese who believed that this event was the true world championship of poker. Perhaps the reason the buy-in was so steep was to limit the number of amateurs in the event. Nonetheless the game still attracted much attention. After Chip Reese died in 2007 the winning trophy was named after him and has been awarded to the winner since 2008. Freddy Deeb won in 2007 and Scotty Nguyen won in 2008, saying that this win was the best of his career. David Bach won in 2009, the last year it was called the H.O.R.S.E. Championship. In 2010 it was renamed the $50,000 Poker Players Championship which featured an 8 game format instead of just the five games found in H.O.R.S.E. Michael “the Grinder” Mizrachi won the event that year. In 2011 Brian Rast was the winner of the event. He beat a suburb field and eliminated the all time bracelet winner, Phil Hellmuth.

H.O.R.S.E. strategy:

The most important thing to consider when playing this game is that you must have a working knowledge of every game in order to be successful. Many players feel they only need to know a few of them to win. However, you will find that you will win when it’s your specialty, but then give it all back on the games you are not as familiar with. Therefore, it is better to be versed in each game. Another thing to remember is not to think ahead to the next game. Simply think of each game as if you were playing it by itself. If you start looking forward to the next game in the sequence. your thought process on the current game will be impaired and you will make bad decisions. You also need to determine your ability to switch gears upon each game change. For example, one player may play tight in one game, but loose in another. You must take note of this on each player to be successful and to get any kind read on your opponents. If you are a beginner at H.O.R.S.E. consider spending some time on each variation before tackling this challenging game. Remember, the game changes every round so the time you have to pick up things is limited. If you do manage to become well versed in each variation then you will become a winning player at the difficult game of H.O.R.S.E.

Michael Krisle – Senior Writer/Editor – AGP

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *