Poker Strategy for Mixed Games

Mixed poker games rotate different games after a set number of hands. These are very popular and include games like HORSE (Holdem, Omaha, Razz, Stud, Stud/8) and 8-game (which mixes 2-7 Triple Draw, Holdem, Omaha/8, Razz, Stud, Stud/8, No-limit Holdem and Pot-Limit Omaha) and other even crazier mixes.

With a big recreational following, mixed games are very profitable. Even when an individual knows the rules of every game – which is far from guaranteed – the nuances of strategy are often not known about at all. The most popular mixed game of all is PokerStars’ 8-game, which can be found in cash game, sit n go and multi-table tournament format. The games used also cover HORSE and HOSE – which are also popular mixed game variations.

Mixed Game Poker Strategy – Beating PokerStars’ 8-Game

2-7 Triple Draw: In this game you have to hit the best low hand and have 3 chances to swap as many cards as you wish in order to get there. Aces are high (remember this!) and straights or flushes also count as high hands. The best hand is 2-3-4-5-7. Since this is a closed card game, position and knowing your opponents tendencies are very important. You should also try and choose starting hands which contain both a 2, a 7 and one card in between whenever possible.

Fixed Limit Holdem: Many players are more familiar with no-limit Holdem nowadays, and do not adjust properly for this game. Speculative hands are fine, but in limit games you will rarely be able to make up for early bets. What often happens instead is that a player partially hits the flop, and by the time the turn comes they are kept in by compelling pot odds. If you are unfamiliar with this game it is better to stick to high cards and ditch the suited connectors.

Omaha 8-or Better: Another fixed limit game which appears in both HORSE and 8-game. Again the biggest mistake is overplaying weak hands. With both high and low hands looking great before the flop, many people play 50% of more of their starting hands. This is suicidal, you should aim to be very selective and choose hands with an ace and two other low cards minimum where possible – if you have 2 suits that is all the better.

Razz: The low variation of 7-card Stud is often abused by bluffers. What happens is that an aggressive player with a low card showing keeps on firing representing the low hand when they have high cards in the hole. Simply making notes on opponents should uncover one or more of these types in most lower buy-in games. That note will come in very handy next time you meet them and then build a big pot while you are holding a nicely hidden low hand.

7-Card Stud: The classic stud game is played high-only with the lowest card bringing in with the first bet. Hidden pairs are much more valuable than spit ones in Stud and experienced players like to fold on 3rd street or 5th street (when the betting doubles). Many mixed game players become calling-stations in Stud games, going way too far with 1-pair hands. The extra betting round compared to Holdem makes this a very expensive bad habit.

Stud/8: The ‘E’ in HORSE is for the ‘Eight’ in Stud 8 or Better, also called Stud hi-lo. Players again take too many starting hands too far in this game. One common mistake is to chase the low against a player who is obviously going high. This means putting bets into the pot in the hope that you are going to get them back again (half the pot goes to the low). You are drawing to a refund, and the pot needs to be big to justify this investment.

No-Limit Holdem: Again you will be facing opponents who over-value hands like aces with small kickers and unsuited high cards. ABC poker should win the chips, bet big when you have a hand, many mixed-game opponents will call down surprisingly light in this round.

Pot-Limit Omaha: In PLO High your starting hand needs to be coordinated to maximize your chances of hitting a nut or near nut hand on the flop. Draw only to the nuts, as making a bad flush or the low end of a straight can be extremely expensive in PLO. I recommend you study the strength of hands being shown down, full-houses are far more common in this game, and a paired board should be a danger sign.

Mixed poker games can be difficult to multi-table. This is because the games quickly get out of sync, meaning players have to adjust their thinking between tables – which can get tiring. For this reason you get fewer ‘pro grinders’ in these games – making them ideal for recreational and amateur poker players. I recommend you check out the awesome 8-game at PokerStars for yourself!