Around the online poker sites, there are a number of mixed game options for players. HORSE is the most popular, being an acronym for Hold´em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Stud and Stud Hi/Lo (8´s or better), but there are several others, including Full Tilt Poker´s recent re-arrangement of this series called HEROS. Inasmuch as the latter generated attention for the name alone, it was quickly dropped as regular mixed-game players did not like the sequence in which the games fell.
The significance of the order is a clue to successful mixed-game poker. In HORSE, the three draw games are placed together and, as the stakes get higher as a tournament progresses, players with a preference for draw games are at an advantage over regular Hold´em and Omaha players.
Although this new variety offered a more natural transition through the “low games”, the inclusion of Omaha at the penultimate location of the circuit, deprived draw players of their advantage.
When playing mixed poker, and the newer “7 Game” & “8 Game” options, many players will be unfamiliar or less keen to get involved with certain games. You will notice that there will be some that are good at one type of game, and others in which they decrease their involvement to a minimum. This is where note taking is vital as you witness certain players fold every hand in Stud unless they have trips in the deal, and you know that if a certain player has a natural aversion to “community” games, you can bet into him and watch them fold.
Generally, many players are strong at either of the two most popular games – Texas or Omaha – and the way to excel in mixed games is to become proficient at draw games whilst playing a technically strong game in Texas and Omaha. In order to do this in Stud and Razz, look at the other open cards on the deal before they are (quickly) folded.
These will help to indicate odds of making your own hand or not – and seeing the possibilities that your opponent(s) may get. This is particularly true in the “low” draw games where you can determine how many low cards are already showing and the odds of anybody making their low hand.
Once you are aware of your opportunities, playing aggressively through 3rd to 5th street will normally see off most inexperienced players or, should one be in a position to re-raise you, you know when to fold.
There are also a few mixed poker games played at ring tables. If you have mastered the draw games, these are a good arena to pick up some extra cash by exploiting unknowledgeable Hold´em and Omaha players.
Some players regard playing mixed game poker as a fun diversion, but there is money to be made in these games, and the player who approaches the mixed game format in the right frame of mind with the most comprehensive ability, will the one who passes the winning post in first place.
The best site for playing mixed poker games is without doubt www.pokerstars.com