What is HORSE? And HOSE?
The HORSE acronyms are as follows:
- H: Hold'em
- O: Omaha Eight or Better (Omaha Hi / Lo)
- R: Razz
- S: Stud (7-Card Stud)
- E: Eight or Better (7-Card Stud Hi / Lo)
In Atlantic City, NJ, there is a weird gaming law that does not permit lowball games to be spread in casinos, so you will not find HORSE in local card rooms. Instead, in A.C. casinos you will find the alternative called HOSE, which is HORSE minus the Razz.
In the early days of the World Series of Poker, the preferred mixed-game of choice amount grinders was SHOE, which is HOSE but played out in a different order.
HORSE has risen in popularity over the last decade. You can find it in both brick and mortar casinos and at online rooms.
HORSE is commonly played as a Limit game, both in case games or intournaments.
HORSE favors well-rounded players who are strong in all five games. Strong opponents will exploit your weaknesses, so you want to avoid HORSE if you are not proficient in all games.
How to play Horse
You can only play a maximum of eight players to accommodate rounds of Stud and Stud 8. Rounds change at a set interval. Sometimes this interval is a pre-determined length of time (for example, the round switched every 20 minutes). Or intervals can be set after the table has completed a full orbit of the individual game. In major tournament settings, HORSE is usually played with a set time limit.
Do not forget what game you are playing. Pay attention to when each game switches, especially the crossover between Razz, Stud and Stud Hi/Lo. Those three games are structurally similar, so it's easy to forget what game is being played.