The first thing a player needs to be aware of is this: Does your current game have any overlapping strategies with any of the other games. I briefly touched on this in part 1 of the series and will expand on those initial thoughts here.
There are two main types of poker played in a H.O.R.S.E. game: Community Card Poker and Stud Poker (the third type of poker is Draw poker which isn’t played in H.O.R.S.E.). Omaha and Hold’Em are community card games, while Stud, Stud 8, and Razz are obviously Stud games.
Furthermore, there is the split pot aspect of the two hi/lo games: Omaha 8 and Stud 8. In part 1 I focused on the differences these present; here I am more interested in the similarities and how a player can use the concepts of one game in another.
So, while the games are all different, certain variants have many overlapping concepts and strategies which make learning them easier, if you happen to come from the right poker background. For example, comparing Stud and Razz is like comparing a sports car and an SUV: Sure they have different purposes and offer different features, but in the end, they are pretty similar to operate. On the other hand, comparing Razz and Hold’Em is like comparing that same sports car with a bicycle. Basically, all they have in common is that they are modes of transport.
Here is how the typical conversion works for a player familiar in one or two poker variants:
A player coming from a Texas Hold’Em background has to learn not only Stud poker, but also hi/lo poker to be proficient in Omaha 8 (even though it is a community card game akin to Hold’Em, the hi/lo aspect makes the game’s concepts seem almost alien to a Hold’Em player); and this isn’t even including learning Omaha itself, or the differences in the three Stud variants!
On the other hand, a player coming from a Stud background will find it easy enough to apply what they already know to Stud 8, and especially to Razz. Stud players will have to pick up the basics of Hold’Em (which I think every decent player already knows something about) and can therefore concentrate on learning Omaha 8.
An Omaha 8 player will have a fairly solid grasp of Stud 8 since they share the split pot concept, and even if they’ve never played Hold’Em will understand the community card facet of the game. This leaves the Omaha 8 player the task of learning Stud and Razz.
A Stud 8 player will have the easiest transition into an H.OR.S.E. Game: Their Stud background makes up 3/5 of the games played, and they will have a much easier time picking up Omaha 8 since it shares the split pot principles of Stud 8. And if they have any Hold’Em experience they can simply start mastering the various forms of the different games.
Additionally, there is so much literature on Texas Hold’Em that picking up the rudimentary basics of the game is a breeze: On the other hand, players will have a hard time finding Razz, Stud, Stud 8, or Omaha 8 literature. This gap in study material is even more pronounced when you get past the basics of the game: Training sites and strategic articles devote a huge percentage of their material to Texas Hold’Em (more specifically No-Limit Texas Hold’Em), and this gap forces players looking for specialized material on Omaha or Stud to scrape whatever small amount is leftover from the Hold’Em material.
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