Best HORSE Poker Sites

Which online poker rooms with HORSE?

If you're mystified by the HORSE games during WSOP coverage on ESPN, or are simply a casual poker player who has seen the term bandied about and are curious to know what exactly it means, you've come to the right place.  This short piece will cover the basics of HORSE, a brief review of the game's recent surge in popularity and finally survey the current options available to online poker players seeking some HORSE action.

What Exactly is HORSE?

HORSE is a type of mixed game with a specific rotation of games: Limit Holdem, Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo (Razz), Seven Card Stud High and Stud Eight-or-Better.  The players rotate between games every round.  All of the games are traditionally played with limit betting.

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Playing HORSE Online

While mixed games have been a staple of large live card rooms for several years, the last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the popularity of HORSE across the entire poker community.  Online, interest in the game has grown as players burnt out on no limit holdem (or big bet games in general) look for new goals and new areas to conquer.  That interest has blossomed into a full range of HORSE games available in several formats across multiple online poker rooms.

At the same time, HORSE has exploded on the live tournament scene, driven primarily by the introduction of a $50k buyin HORSE event at the 2006 World Series of Poker.  That event, won by the late Chip Reese, sparked a revival of major HORSE events at the WSOP and beyond.  While the $50k event is now an 8 game format, the WSOP offers more HORSE events currently than at any time in history.

Why Play HORSE Online?

HORSE games - both cash and tournaments - may just be the most profitable spots in live poker rooms these days.  However, it will take you quite a bit of time to get in enough hands to become skilled at each format if you're playing live - a restriction that doesn't exist online.  Therefore, online poker provides a great opportunity to develop and polish your HORSE skills in a relatively brief period of time - skills that could prove very profitable on your next trip to the local poker room.

Past the potential for profit, learning new games is by many measures one of the best ways to improve as a poker player.  Seeing the game as a new player can remind you of some things you may have forgotten or lost along the way, and can rekindle your enthusiasm for the game as a whole.  With a mix of five games, HORSE is a hyper-efficient way to flex your poker muscles and raise the level of your overall game.

HORSE Players Have Very Limited Choices

The one major downside of playing HORSE is that you don't have a lot of options when it comes to finding games online.  While more popular now than ever, HORSE still remains somewhat of an exotic game, and many rooms simply don't spread it at all - or only on a regular basis.  This isn't to say that there's absolutely no HORSE action to be found, but rather to temper player's expectations.  You should not be surprised to find HORSE absent from the lobbies of major online poker rooms, and that situation is unlikely to change radically at any time in the near future.

Primary Option for Playing HORSE Online: PokerStars

It should be no shock to find PokerStars at the top of the list of rooms offering HORSE games.  When it comes to exotic poker variants, PokerStars is the undisputed leader of the online poker pack.  Part of it is sheer numbers; the room has roughly seven times the cash game traffic of its closest competitor.  Part of it is a willingness to nurture such games; PokerStars was one of the first to offer HORSE as a dedicated cash game and tournament format.  Put together, all of these factors lead to one conclusion:  PokerStars is the premier choice for online poker players seeking HORSE games.

Online Poker Options for US HORSE Players

With PokerStars unavailable to players from the US, finding a suitable option for HORSE action is a tough task.  Most US-facing online poker rooms simply do not offer HORSE games as part of their software - even if players wanted the games, they're just not on the menu.  As a result, the only room that really fits the bill is Carbon Poker, which does offer both HORSE and HOSE tables at a variety of stakes.  Finding action at those tables may be a bit of a challenge, but for those willing to start games or play shorthanded, Carbon Poker does offer a viable option - a claim most of their competition can't make.

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