I love HORSE tournaments. What I observe is that just about every player will be weak in at least one of the 5 games and I'm at least competent in all of them. I have two WSOP cashes in HORSE (You can read about my 28th place cash in the 2008 WSOP $3,000 HORSE if you are interested) and have won a bunch of smaller HORSE events online. Pokerstars used to have a $109 buy in HORSE tournament every day with a $5,000 guarantee where we'd often have either 48 or sometimes 40 players creating an overlay. I had one run where I won it two days in a row and then finished 3rd the next day.
I mention the above not just to walk down memory lane and not just to FLEX but to contrast it with the guy at my table who announced that this was the first time he had ever played HORSE. 5 of my 7 table mates didn't got as far as to announce this, but it was obvious that they had pretty much never played any of the stud games and were just flying by the seat of their pants.
My starting stack
We started with with 20,000 in chips playing 200/400 stakes. They randomized the first game and we started with the R in HORSE - Razz - which is 7 card stud trying to make the lowest possible hand. On the second hand the guy who had never played before raised showing a 6 and got called by a guy showing a 9. On 4th street the guy with a 6 caught a 7 and bet. The guy with a 9 got another 9 and called the bet! It is hard to put into words how bad this is.
We got 70 entrants and first place was $5,530 which I think is a pretty good turnout for an event of this nature. I did take a bunch of pictures of my chips...
We're winning again!
We're winning even more!
I had about 50K in chips playing 2500/5000 stakes when a big hand came up in the Stud Hi-Lo split (where the best hand and worst hand split the pot). On third street it looked like this (I'm in seat 1):
Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 7 showing
Seat 4: 7
Seat 6: Q
Seat 7: J
Seat 8: T
The Q was forced to bet 1,000 (the bring in), the J made it 2,500 and the rest of us called.
Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 78
Seat 4: 78
Seat 6: Q8
Seat 7: JJ
Seat 8: T5
The JJ bet 2,500 and we all called.
Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 784
Seat 4: 78Q
Seat 6: Q8K
Seat 7: JJ6
Seat 8: T56
In order to win the low half of the pot you need 5 unpaired cards 8 and below (the E in HORSE is Eight or Better referring to this qualifier). I had a shitty low, but with the cards showing I was thre only one who can have a made low. The guy with T56 in theory could be drawing to a better low, but he started with a T up and probably has a pair of Ts or maybe started with 3 suited cards. My chances of getting half the pot here are excellent so when the JJ6 guy bet, I raised from 5,000 to 10,000 and everyone except seat 6 came along.
Seat 1: 23 in the hole, 784K
Seat 4: 78Q3
Seat 7: JJ64
Seat 8: T569
On 6th street it checked to me and I bet again. Everyone called. At this point we have 69,000 in the pot.
Everyone was dealt their last card (I paired my 4), it checked to me, I checked it and seat 4 squeezed his last card last to act. Finally he bet 5,000, the face up JJ in seat 7 called, the other guy folded and I called. "You've got the low" he said pointing to me. "I have a pair of aces" he continued. A pair of aces? In what world is that going to be the best high hand here?! The guy in seat 7 showed that he has just one pair of jacks with no low. The guy with the aces showed his hand and he had AA2 in the hole meaning he has 8732A for low and I have 87432! Gross! This guy didn't even realize he had a low!
The player in Seat 4 pictured here
At this point the guy is seat 7 said something to the effect of an incredulous "What were you doing betting there?" to me. This made my blood boil! I have a lot to learn when it comes to poker in general and I'm far from a Stud Hi-Lo expert but this guy did not know his ass from a hole in the ground (that's a phrase right? I'm not making that up?) and it's a special pet peeve of mine to get my play criticized right after losing a big pot.
I lost a couple of other pots right away and my stack was down to a very sad 7,000 or so. I ended up finishing in a disappointing 26th.
On a happier note this robot that works at "The Boathouse" brought me some kung pow chicken after the tournament.
Despite resembling, a trash can you're not trash robot!
After 2 tournaments firing a total of 3 bullets with one cash my $6,000 tournament bankroll is at $5665. I'll be back at the tournament tables on September 30th playing WSOP Circuit events at Thunder Valley.
We'll see if I can get through one post without over the top disparaging of my opponents who I'm sure are actually fine people and are just there to have fun...but don't bet on it!