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Preparing for a HORSE Tournament: Part Three

This is the third of a three part series on Preparing for a HORSE Tournament. The first part of this can be found here and the second part of this can be found here

There are a few basic strategies worth noting before putting money down on a cash HORSE tournament. Although players who specialize in HORSE games will be able to find a wealth of in-depth tutorials and tips, here are a few of the most important aspects to note.

Remember that HORSE is, at its core, a tournament like any other and that the basic rules of endurance and selective aggression remain as true here as any other long series. Memorize the best starting hands for each style of play and only act aggressively when you have a statistically sound backing for putting down any substantial amount of chips. Good HORSE players don’t contribute to a pot unless they know they can succeed in a given hand.

Bet and raise when you have the chance, just as you would in a fixed-style tournament. It’s important to seize any opportunity to eliminate your competition during every hand you receive worth playing.

Watch out for the Razz section. Razz almost always proves to be the fifth of a HORSE tournament where players simply flounder and make easy targets out of themselves. Consider it a welcome halfway point and take advantage of the weakest players quickly in order to up your bankroll. This is the proper time in the game to identify competitors comfortable with Stud games and learn their quirks before getting into the two final rounds of play.

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Preparing for a HORSE Tournament: Part Two

This is the second of a three part series on Preparing for a HORSE Tournament. The first part of this can be found here.

Now that we’ve established which poker styles make up a HORSE tournament it’s time to look into basic outlines of the series itself and how to succeed in it.

HORSE is always offered as a fixed-limit game (although some sites may offer pot-limit or no-limit mixed-style series that stray a little from the traditional HORSE format) with a rotation of the five aforementioned poker styles. Knowing how to approach a rotation tournament is essential for succeeding in HORSE.

Make your most aggressive moves during the games that include blinds — the first two styles (Hold ‘Em and Omaha) can help to knock down weaker players while increasing your bankroll going into the Stud section of HORSE. Betting and raising during the first two rounds (with appropriate cards) can be the key toward making this work. It’s often a good plan to consider the preliminary pair of games as a proving ground and a solid opportunity for eliminating the less qualified competitors.

Practice each one of the HORSE styles and concentrate on those formats that you’re least experienced in. Making money in low-stakes HORSE tournaments is often as easy as picking off the weaker players during Razz or Hi-Lo Stud but insufficient practice in these less popular games can make you the victim of a well-rounded competitor. Without proper knowledge of each style it will not matter how good you are at any one or two of the other games so it’s definitely worth the time to practice on low-stakes or virtual chip tables before entering a HORSE tournament.

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Preparing For a HORSE Tournament: Part One

HORSE tournaments can be a great way to improve your overall ability in poker through its demanding play and requirement of multi-style aptitude. While many are put off by the different styles the tournament goes through, those enticed by the constant game changes owe it to themselves to learn the basics of the popular tournament format.

The first step for learning how to become a contender in HORSE involves knowing what the tournament itself constitutes. HORSE is an acronym that stands for the different styles that make up the game play. Here is a brief note on each one.

Hold ‘Em is a style well known by poker players and should be familiar to any fan of the game. These articles will assume a basic knowledge of Hold ‘Em rules and play.

Omaha is another form of poker that is quickly growing in popularity. Proper HORSE tournaments offer the Hi-Lo Omaha style.

Razz is the first of the three final stages of Stud play and is the only part of HORSE that is sometimes knocked out of the proceedings (players may be familiar with HOSE games where Razz is removed).

Seven-card Stud High is a return to the formerly popular style of poker and makes up the second-last stage of play.

Seven-card Stud Hi-Lo (Eight or better) is the last stage of a HORSE tournament and is a variation of the rules set by the previous round.

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Basic Omaha Strategy: The Starting Hand

Much of your success in Omaha Poker comes from your starting hand just as in Texas Hold ‘Em. Knowing when to fold and when to play is as important here as it is in any other style of poker playing and is worth the time to learn.

Simply because of the fact that Omaha provides players with four pocket cards, the strength of your own deal is far more important in this style than in Hold ‘Em. Cards need to work very well together and contain a lot of flop potential to warrant entering into betting. Position is also extremely significant in Omaha just as it is in Hold ‘Em so this factor must be taken into account before entering a round.

If you’ve received middle cards (7s through 10s essentially) then you must have strong accompaniment to rationalize playing them. A pair of 8s, say, is worth holding on to but just one 10 is not usually strong enough to take into flop play in Omaha. Players must be much more ruthless with these ‘middle’ cards in Omaha. Aside from this, pretty much the same pre-flop worth remains the same in this style. The basic rule to keep in mind is just toward being stricter with your hand worth overall. Only enter into betting with a pocket that is stronger than the typical hands you’d use in Hold ‘Em.

Introduction to Omaha Poker

Although Draw and Stud styles of poker may be quickly falling out of vogue, anyone who frequents online poker rooms will be familiar with the option to play Omaha. Although it’s not quite as popular as Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha is still a fun and exciting form of poker worth taking the time to learn.

The fundamental difference between Texas Hold ‘Em and Omaha comes from the pocket which holds four cards in the latter style, a change which makes strategy more of a game of math than odds. Players are dealt four pocket cards during the first round then betting begins to take place between each subsequent deal. A three card flop is dealt and then a turn card is placed before the final card makes the river. Omaha competitors use two of their four pocket cards to match three of the five flop cards in an attempt toward making the best five card combination possible.

One of the best aspects of Omaha is the high level of fish that play online. If you’ve taken the time to get familiar with the fundamentals of the style then you’ll probably enjoy a great deal of success playing Omaha at your site of choice.