Mixed games offer a nice change of pace from the traditional No Limit Hold’em games. HORSE is one of the more popular mixed games offerings, consisting of Hold’em, Omaha/8 or better, Razz, Stud, and Stud Eight or better, all played with fixed limit betting. Below are some basic tips that will help you succeed in HORSE tournaments online.
Your opponents will have games in the mix they are good at and some that they are not, so will you. If you have an expertise at a certain game or games, it benefits you to look to get involved more during those rounds and play to your strengths. Conversely, games that are not your strength, it’s ok to play much tighter. Only getting involved with the stronger starting hands will help give you a natural advantage and keep things easier during those rounds less favorable to your skill sets.
Be sure you know what game you’re playing. Especially in the stud rounds, it’s important to make sure when you’re playing Razz in your head, the game is actually Razz and hasn’t switched to Stud high. The name of the game is always displayed on the table. Before getting involved in a hand, double check the game you’re on. It may sound a bit silly, but many a player has made this mistake before.
Position is still relevant as is true in all forms of poker, but while position is fixed throughout the hand during the hold’em and Omaha rounds, it is not so during the razz, stud, and stud/8 rounds. In Razz, the lowest board will drive the betting, while in stud high and stud/8 the highest board drives the betting. If after 4th street a player is showing AA up in stud, the will be first to act and likely will retain that position on future streets. If however the highest board happens to be 87 high, then it is highly unlikely that player will be first to act on the next street, and in fact there’s no way to anticipate who might be first on the next street as it could be anyone that catches a big card, or pairs their board. Keeping this in mind may help you with some of your more marginal decisions.
In fixed limit games there is rarely any value to slow playing a strong hand. Because players only have to call fixed bet amounts and will be getting very good prices on calls as the pot grows, a high % of hands will go to showdown. If you have a strong hand, don’t get cute… bet it.
All games are fixed limit, so you won’t face all in situations until very short stacked. As a result, you can wait a lot longer and play a little tighter as a short stack than you’re otherwise used to from no limit hold’em.
When so short that you will need to pick a hand and go with it, if you can make your stand during one of the split pot games, you’ll have a better chance to survive. Of course this doesn’t mean you will fold a strong hand like JJ just because the hold’em round is about to end. But you can fold marginal hands and make your stand in Omaha/8, where if you choose a starting hand with low potential, you’ll have 2 ways to survive and continue on.
Mixed games like HORSE can be a very enjoyable form of poker that breaks you away from the regular grind of NLHE. Because of the nature of the games, and your opponents likely lack of skill at some of the formats, they can also be very profitable. With a little work on the alternate games in the mix, and keeping your attention on the above tips, we will see you in the winner’s circle soon.
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