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Hung up on HORSE

Hung up on HORSE
Thursday, 3 March 2011

Dear Dr. Tom,

I have noticed that a lot of pros are playing HORSE or even 8-game. As a NL player, how can I begin to branch out into other poker disciplines?

Phil, Kilburn

Dear Phil,

You’re faced with the double whammy of learning how to play limit poker, as well as learning the tricks of the trade of a bunch of new poker variants. However, that’s no reason to shun mixed games. You don't have to be as good at razz as you are at NL – you just have to be better at razz than the average guy you’re playing against.

Happily that’s not hard in low stakes mixed games, which have a recreational sort of feel to them, and where people will go to blow off a few $ that that would otherwise sully their Poker Tracker NLH stats. As for improving, reading is always good, as long as you combine it with playing. The 2+2 stable of books has all the HORSE games well covered in separate volumes, though you’ll find razz tucked away in the last third of Sklansky on Poker.

Eight game is a bit more exotic and suits NL players who find limit hold’em unbearable. Plus, if you find you have a knack for triple draw, then it’s your best chance of picking up a bracelet – there were just 100 runners at last year’s WSOP.

Until you really know the plays that people want to put on you, play tight, tight, tight, and make your money from taking your rightful share of dough from wild players who like the mixed game party feel. Unlike no limit, where you live in fear of the squeeze, limit poker allows you to take a non-nut hand to the river in a pot with two pros and a maniac. Playing premium hands will see you right.


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