Basketball H.O.R.S.E


H.O.R.S.E is a basketball game in which players compete by trying to match one another's shot attempts. The game is widely popular amongst players of all ages, as it represents a fun way to practice both conventional shots and more obscure trick shots.

How to Play

The rules of H.O.R.S.E are fairly simple, requiring only a ball, a basketball hoop, and at least two players. Once the order in which each player will shoot has been decided upon, the first player attempts a shot. The type of shot is entirely up to the shooter, who can elect to shoot a regular jump shot from any place on the court or try something more difficult, such as shooting one-handed with the non-dominant hand.

If the shot is made, each of the other players must also attempt that shot from the same spot and in the same fashion. A missed shot results in getting the letter 'H,' with each successive letter in the H.O.R.S.E acronym being added as a penalty for a missed shot until all letters have been assigned and the player is eliminated. If the first shooter misses their shot, the second player is free to attempt a different shot of their choosing.

Calling a Shot

Aside from obvious stipulations such as shooting with one hand or attempting a shot underhanded, shooters can also inform other competitors of how the shot must enter the hoop. Listed below are some of the different 'calls' players can make prior to a shot attempt

  • Bank Shot: The ball must make contact with the backboard before entering the hoop
  • Swish: The ball must go through the hoop cleanly, touching only the net on its way down
  • Rim Rattler: The ball must take a bounce off of the rim before going in


The game does not always have to be played using the H.O.R.S.E acronym. Players looking for a shorter game will often play to P.I.G. while players that desire a longer game can make up their own acronym with more than five letters.

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