How to Beat Mixed Poker Games Online
While Texas Holdem has a lot of positives, getting dealt those same 2 hole-cards can get dull after a while. Mixed poker games are enjoying a surge in popularity. This format gives you plenty of variation by mixing between 5 and 10 different poker variations. In cash games you’ll play a fixed number of hands of each game type. In tournaments this is done via a timer, so that all the tables can be synchronized.
Mixed games are far from a novelty. One of the most prestigious tournaments at each year’s World Series of Poker events is the ‘Poker Players Championship’. The format for this game is ‘HORSE’. This is a rotation of Limit Holdem, Omaha Hi-lo, Razz, 7 Card Stud and Stud Hi-Lo. Online the high stakes players are increasingly moving to mixed games too. 8 Game, which is spread by PokerStars, is a popular format. This mixes No-Limit, Pot-Limit and Fixed Limit betting, and Holdem, Omaha and Stud formats in to a single game.
With so many poker variants played, giving you a beginner’s strategy for each would make for a very long page! Instead I have covered some general tips for succeeding in Mixed Poker games below. After this you will find some notes on specific leaks to look for in your opponents’ play.
General Mixed Game Strategy Tips
The single biggest tip, whether you choose 8-game, 10-game or HORSE, is to play to your strengths. This is easy to do by playing aggressive and attacking poker in the games that you feel you have an edge in, and playing tighter, and more defensive in the games you are not so comfortable at.
For example, if you start a HORSE game, and the split-pot Hi-lo games (Omaha 8 and Stud Hi-Lo) are not your strong suit, then fold marginal hands early. If Holdem and Razz are your favorites, you can make up for lost ground then. If your opponents are observant enough to notice, and to start putting pressure on in your weak games, then you might find an opportunity or two. Since you know they will be attacking you with weaker than average hands, you can get a bluff through on occasion.
Some poker principles apply whatever format you are playing. These include the fact that you should play more hands when last to act. This information advantage will make up for a lot of other factors. You should also play hands aggressively when you do enter a pot. Players who do a lot of limping and calling need to show down the best hand. When you are the one betting, you give yourself another opportunity to win the pot.
Stud games have an extra betting round compared to flop games like Holdem and Omaha. This can be dangerous. Be aware that you will often find yourself on later streets facing a single bet in a big pot. You would be correct to call with almost any chance of improving, though might wish you never got into this expensive situation in the first place! Key to succeeding in these games is to make your decision on whether to go to 7th street early on, and to bail out early if you do not improve.
Finally for the general strategy, knowing the odds and basic math of each game will give you a big advantage over those opponents who are guessing. Taking the time to learn the nuances of just one game every week will cumulatively give you an edge in these games.
Leaks to Look Out for In Mixed Poker Games
One of the biggest leaks I regularly see in Mixed Games is in the hi-lo split poker variants. With low hands in play, and high hands looking just as attractive as before – many novice players enter way too many pots (or call too many streets) in these games. You will only win over time if you scoop both sides of the pot with a reasonable frequency. Hands which can scoop need to have both baby cards and aces, plus suits. If you see opponents playing mid-ranked cards in these games, take a note immediately. These are the players to target, and if possible isolate, at every opportunity.
Mixed games which include Omaha high also see a lot of exploitable mistakes being made. Here players more used to Texas Holdem will frequently over-value their hands on later streets. While A-A-X-X hands are strong before the flop in Omaha High, they are rarely the best hand on a draw-heavy board by the river. If you spot opponents who play tight until they hit a premium pair in PLO, then you can call with just about any 4 cards. Those times you connect well with the board could well see a double-up coming your way!
Where to Play Mixed Poker Games?
The biggest poker site, PokerStars.com, is the main place to head to find mixed game action. The most popular format is 8-game, you will also find HORSE, HOSE and 10 game, which includes 2-7 Draw and Badugi!