H.O.R.S.E. stands for the different types of poker games namely, Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, Razz (Seven card stud low), Stud (Seven card stud high), Eight or better (Seven car stud high-low). In other words, this game is more complicated than your regular poker game. If you’re not at all familiar with playing poker, then you must remember a few basics.
Playing poker always begins with setting who the main dealer is for the game or round and they do this by designating a disc called “the button”. The player to his left would then set the “small blind” (half of the small bet that has been set up). Then the player next to him would set the “big blind” which would be double of the small blind. So if the small blind is $2, then the big blind would be $4. It must be noted that each type of poker has different betting rules.
So as the game begins, each player is given a number of cards called “hole cards” which can only be seen by that player. Once you have seen your cards, you must decide whether to fold (give up your hand for that game), check (you will not bet, but keep your hand), bet (add or increase the pot money), call (to even the amount that the other player has bet) or raise (you raise the betting money). After each player has decided and the turn comes back to the dealer, a series of cards called community cards will then be dealt face up, namely, the flop, where three cards will be dealt out, the turn, where one card will be dealt out, and the river, where another card will be dealt out. Once the river has been dealt out and the final bets have been given, it will be time for the showdown. Depending on the game, the one with the best cards will get the pot.
- Hold’em Poker. For Hold’em, you will only have two hole cards. Procedure as defined above will follow, with you making the best combinations possible out of your hole cards and the five community cards. Some games have some sort of hierarchy with suits, but in Hold’em poker, all suits are equal, therefore the one with the best combination will win the pot.
- Omaha High-Low Poker. This is also sometimes known as “Omaha High-Low” or “Omaha Eight or Better”. For this round, you will be given four hole cards, but you can only use two of them in combination with three from the community cards. It is called “hi-lo” because at the showdown, those with the best hand for high and low get to evenly divide the pot. If no one gets the best low hand, the one with the high hand will take the pot.
- Razz (Seven card stud low) Poker. This game is slightly more complicated than Hold’em and Omaha because the lowest cards win the pot. Unlike the first two, it does not start with a small blind or big blind. The two hole cards are dealt and one face-up card, and this card will determine who places the small bet. In cases where there would be a tie on who would start, the suit ranking from highest to lowest are: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. If you got the highest card, then place your bet and the game will pick up clockwise after you and when the full round is made, another card will be dealt to each of you. This time, the one with the lowest card (the strongest for this game) will either check or bet and get the game going. You will be given another face-up card and the one with the lowest (strongest) will start again. From here until the last set of face-up cards, the bet will be for the big bet. The last card to be dealt to you would be face-down, but the one who will act first would still be the one with the lowest card. The highest combination of cards that can win the pot would be the sequence of 5, 4, 3, 2, A which is called by some as ‘the nut’, or ‘king low’. If there is a tie among the players, then the deciding factor would be the suit ranking mentioned above.
- Stud (Seven card stud high). Stud is the exact opposite of Razz poker, where the highest card will win the whole pot, with the same basis of suit ranking. Instead of the one with the highest card to begin the game, it is the one with the lowest, and so forth and so on.
- Eight or better (Seven card stud high-low). Just like Omaha High-Low, this game will reward the best high hand and the best low hand. The qualifier to win the low hand is to have your hand total at least 8, or more than 8 to earn the low half of the pot.
Poker on its own is not that difficult to play, and it must be noted that it takes a lot of patience and practice to master. Play with people you know, just bet with chips and have fun. For the list of the poker hand ranks, check this website.