HORSE Poker (Mixed Game)

HORSE is actually an acronym describing a combination of five poker games:

What is HORSE Poker?

HORSE is one of many popular mixed game variants. In large cash games in brick-and-mortar casinos, the players often agree to play a mix of poker games rather than a single game. This reduces the edge that a single-game specialist has, and emphasizes a player's breadth across multiple versions of poker. Many people feel that HORSE and other mixed games are the best judge of a player's true poker ability. It’s also part of WCOOP, the World Championship of Online Poker, held annually on PokerStars.

The five games that are played in HORSE can be split into two types of game: flop games and board games. The flop games are Hold'em and Omaha Hi/Lo, where players are dealt private hole cards, and also community cards to be shared with the remaining opposition (the flop, turn and river). The board games are Razz, Stud, and Eight-or-better, where some of your personal cards are dealt face up for your opponents to see, and there are no community cards.

How to play HORSE Poker

HORSE is played as one ‘round’ of each of its component games. It begins with Fixed Limit Hold'em, then rotates through Fixed Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz (Seven Card Stud Low), Seven Card Stud (High Only), and finally Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. When the Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo round is complete, the game goes back to Fixed Limit Hold'em, and so on. You can tell which game is being dealt by looking at the top border of the table window or checking the tag that sits on the table felt.

When switching from Omaha Hi/Lo to Razz, the button is frozen. That way, when the game switches back to Hold'em (after Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo), nobody skips blinds, or pays extra blinds.

All the component games in HORSE are played Fixed Limit - there are no Pot Limit or No Limit games. The limits (such as €5-10) are kept the same throughout the entire game rotation, and you play €5-10 Fixed Limit Hold'em, then €5-10 Fixed Limit Omaha Hi/Lo, etc.

Hand rankings in HORSE depend on which game you are playing at the time. The Royal Flush is the best hand in Hold’em and Seven Card Stud, and won’t be beaten for the ‘high’ pot in Omaha Hi/Lo and Eight-or-better. Whereas a wheel (A, 2, 3, 4, 5) is the best hand in Razz, and can’t be beaten for the ‘low’ pot in Omaha Hi/Lo and Eight-or better.

Top strategy tips for HORSE Poker

Each individual game is unique, so to become a good HORSE player you’ll need to have a good grasp of the optimal strategy needed for all five games. You can also check out our Poker Strategy page for plenty of tips and tactics that could be applied to HORSE.


Playing HORSE is a great way to develop expertise in multiple games, and break up the monotony of playing a single game throughout a session. We encourage you to get comfortable with each of the component games first so you'll know what's going on, and then jump right into the HORSE games.

Learn How to Play HORSE for Free

If you are unfamiliar with HORSE, we recommend you try the game for free first to get a feel for how it’s played. You are always welcome to play on our free poker tables at PokerStars, and sharpen your skills before playing real money poker.

Finally, if you like to play other Mixed Game variants, we recommend you check out our 8-Game Mix. This game are a nice change of pace from the popular Texas Hold’em, and it is also available in our poker tournaments selection.

As well as HORSE, we also offer many other poker variants. See our Poker Games page to learn more.

Additional Information

The flop games are Hold’em and Omaha Hi/Lo, which means those are the only two games in HORSE where a flop, river or turn is dealt. The other three games are variants of Stud and don’t use community cards.

HORSE is an acronym that combines the five different poker games in the order they are played: Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud, and Eight-or-better.