How to Win HORSE Tournaments
The Main Event at the World Series of Poker might be the most well known poker tournament but it’s not the most prestigious. That honor goes to the $50,000 buy-in HORSE tournament. To win HORSE you have to be a versatile poker player. Here’s how to win HORSE Tournaments.
Know the Games
You don’t have to be an expert at every game in HORSE, but you do have to be good at all of them. The games are Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud Hi and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo. All of the games are limit including Hold’em and Omaha Hi/Lo.
Be honest with yourself and determine which games you’re good at and which games you still need to work on. Focus on your weak points away from the poker table.
When you’re playing, be more inclined to get involved in hands when you’re playing a game that you’re good at and play tighter when you’re playing one of your weaker games.
Be Able to Change Gears Quickly
You can’t fall into a rhythm playing HORSE because the games are drastically different from each other and require different strategies. For example, defending blinds is common in Hold’em and Omaha, but defending bring-ins isn’t common in the Seven Card variants. If you fail to change gears and start defending your bring-in, you’re making a big mistake.
Watch Your Opponents
Not everyone is good at changing gears. HORSE offers observant players the opportunity to capitalize on a unique error; your opponent forgets which game they’re playing. While no one will forget whether they’re playing Omaha or Hold’em, it’s easy to forget whether you’re playing Razz, Seven Card or Seven Card Hi/Lo. If the game is Seven Card and it looks like your opponent is still playing Razz, go after him hard.
In addition, pay attention to which games your opponents play and which games they lay low. If you notice your opponent is weak in a certain game, attack them more frequently during that level.
Steal Without Mercy
Andy Bloch once said, “From my experience, I find that you don’t win HORSE tournaments as much as you steal them.” There’s a lot of money in the pot when the blinds and antes get high. Many times that money will go to the player that goes after it aggressively. Of course, blind aggression alone won’t work. You have to develop a feel for when you can steal pots and when you can’t. Developing this “feel” is critical for winning HORSE tournaments.
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It takes a versatile and observant player to play HORSE. Spend time playing and developing your skills in each individual game before you try to play HORSE. Once you’re at the HORSE table, watch your opponents and try to determine their weaknesses. Attack opponents when you sense they’re weak in a certain game and be on the lookout for players that forget which game they’re playing. With a little practice, you’ll be a consistent winner in HORSE tournaments.