All you need to know about H.O.R.S.E – the ultimate poker hybrid

If you’re a fan of online poker (somewhere like:,  you’ll know that Hold’em is the most popular variation of the game, and the one that most people (especially beginners) flock to. But it’s not the only version of Poker that’s available. 

Have you heard of H.O.R.S.E? Combining different variations of poker, H.O.R.S.E consists of Texas Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Lo, Razz, Stud and Eight-or-Better – and has previously been one of the events at the World Series of Poker (WSOP), although it’s now more commonly part of the World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP).

Before you play, it’s important to know that each variation will last for however many hands it would take to go around the table. For example, a six-max table will play six hands of Hold’em, before moving to Omaha, then Razz and so on. Also, it’s important to know that all players probably won’t be proficient in all variations of poker. Some will more than likely specialise in one or two, so don’t worry if you think you’re at a disadvantage. Obviously having an understanding of all variations is ideal, and you’d be at an advantage if you’re a solid all-round player. 

Texas Hold’em

If you’re a poker player, you’ll no doubt know how to play Texas Hold’em. When playing H.O.R.S.E, the game is played in the Fixed Limit format, when most players are used to playing No-Limit Hold’em. 

In Hold’em, players are required to create the best five-card hand by combining their two hole (face down) cards, with the five community (face up) cards available to all players.


Omaha is pretty similar to Hold’em and this variation will also be played in the Fixed Limit format, when players will be more used to playing Pot-Limit or No-Limit games.

In terms of the rules, Omaha is fairly similar – however, players receive four hole cards rather than two. They must then combine two of their four hole cards with three of the five community cards to again create their best five-card hand.


Razz is a completely different card game, pun intended! The aim of the game is to create the lowest-ranked hand, as opposed to the highest, with the Ace acting as lowest card (or one). 

Razz is similar to Seven-card Stud in that players will receive seven cards during the hand and they must use five of those to create their Poker hand. 


Seven-card Stud sees players receive seven cards during a hand, and similar to other Poker variations, they must make the highest-ranking hand. While Stud is similar to Razz in terms of creating hands, there are some differences.

In Stud games, there are no community cards, so players can only use the cards which are dealt to them.


Eight-or-Better is a variation of regular Seven-card Stud and it’s sometimes also known as Hi Lo. Players will be dealt seven cards, but will need to make two different hands from those cards. 

This variation of Poker is split-pot, as the player who makes the highest-ranked hand will receive half of the pot, with the player creating the lowest-ranked hand receiving the remaining half of the pot. But in the lowest-ranked hand, players cannot use any cards ranked higher than 8 and if no player can therefore produce a lowest-ranked hand, the winner of the highest-ranked hand receives the full pot.


H.O.R.S.E may require a larger skill set, with more games to learn and understand, but ultimately, it’s ideal for those looking to increase their Poker repertoire or for those looking for something more challenging than Hold’em.