HORSE is a common five game mixture of poker games. Eight or Better is a split pot stud game and is often spread in just an OE format with Omaha-8 so it is a more commonly played game.

E is for Eight-or-better

As with the other split pot game, O8, the tighter starting requirements are going to pay dividends. Getting to fourth street with good starring cards is the foundation. From then on, even though it is a limit game you should really have the best hand in at least one direction to continue on in the hand. The exception to this is if you have a two way hand that has the potential to improve and scoop.

A basic strategic concerns is that when you are multi-way and have a lock on one side of the pot, you want to take whatever action will get the most money in the pot. Sometimes this will be flat calling so people behind you can call a single bet. Other times it will be raising so other players need to call yet another bet. Two players, each with a lock in opposite directions, can implicitly collude to raise and re-raise to building a pot in a monkey in the middle kind of fashion.

One-way hands lose a lot of value when the pot goes head’s up. When there are three players in the hand, the high and the low are often chopping up the third player and this pays for the entire party. However, once the hand goes to two people it will often chop. There is always the chance that one player is freerolling the other. This means one player could have a lock on the low side with a small chance of picking up the high with a straight or flush. The low only hand can make the pot big and occasionally win the whole thing when the Wheel or a flush comes in. Bloat the pot when you are freerolling, and put on the breaks when you are not.


Against certain players when you have a lock high they will draw to a low against you. This is great news to have them drawing to half the pot because they will not always make it. Don’t be the person drawing to a chop. Also remember that anytime everyone folds, you win the pot. A check-raise will frequently be possible in multi-way pots and might get you to fold out someone who appears to be going the same direction as you are.

On later streets, sixth and seventh, a pot getting rammed and jammed usually means two people are going opposite directions and have a good hand. It is not good to be caught in the middle of this and you need to be able to fold out early. Two players with good hands in opposite directions are incentivized to cap the betting when there are one or more people caught in the middle and paying off. Don’t be that person and try to capture that person.

Bluffing is not a common technique to win the whole pot. However, it is more common to push similar hands out of the pot. If you have a low, a check-raise might get another low to fold for a double bet. Taking up his equity is important.

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