I’d like to give some HORSE tournament strategy tips for those of you wanting to pick the game:
-Limit Hold’em (H): While many players are already regulars in limit hold’em cash games, many of us have come to prefer no-limit both in cash games and tournaments. If you aren’t in practice with limit, you should realize that draws are much more common, pots are smaller, and bluffing is much less important. If you are unsure if you have the best hand on the river in limit, it is almost always worth it to call a single bet as you’ll frequently be getting 10:1 pot odds or better. Finally, slowplaying rarely improves your value in limit hold’em (especially against multiple opponents) as there aren’t many opportunities to build a big pot and you’re voluntarily giving a free card to draws.
–Omaha High/Low Split (O): Omaha H/L is played like Hold’em but each player is dealt 4 cards and you must play 2 of them. The best high hand splits the best low hand and it is possible to have both. You can use different cards for the high and the low. To quality for a low hand, your hand must have 5 cards 8 or lower. The best possible low hand is A,2,3,4,5. While it is easy to play too many hands in Omaha, in High/Low you should restrict your starting hands to those that can win both the High and the Low. Great starting hands include A,A,2,3 or A,K,2,3 with both suited Aces. That way, you can make the nut flush, a strong full house, and/or the nut low hand. Remember that pairs count against a low hand so there must be 3 unique cards under 8 to qualify.
-Razz (R): This is 7 Card Stud played only for the low. The best hand in Razz is A,2,3,4,5 and this can be a very tricky game. Otherwise solid mixed-game players can lose massive amounts of chips in this game if they aren’t careful. In fact, the nickname for Razz amongst pros is “The Hated Game”. You shouldn’t even consider playing a starting hand that doesn’t contain 3 unpaired cards lower than 8. Remember that you need 5 low cards to even qualify, so you should easily release a hand if you’re drawing cards like Queens, Kings, or Jacks. Some players don’t even know the rules to this game, so be on the lookout for clueless opponents who have 3 Queens and an Ace showing. In this situation, you might have the best hand with a 9 or 10-high.
-7 Card Stud (S): This is the classic high-card Stud game. The best possible starting hand is A,A,A and you can play this game with the drawing odds you’ve learned from Hold’em. Remember that even a pair of unimproved Aces rarely wins the pot. The average winning hand in Stud is 2 pair, so continue to pay attention to your opponents’ betting patterns and their exposed cards.