The following review covers the previous edition of Bob Ciaffone's Omaha Hold'em Poker. The new 21st Century edition has been just released.
There was a time during the 80's when many people feltNick Christenson is widely regarded as one of the best gambling book reviewers publishing today. He is a contributor for Poker Player magazine, and has published in Full-Tilt and Gambling Times. He is also the editor of the very funny 'Casino Death Watch,' which chronicles the comings and goings of casinos in Las Vegas. He is an avid poker and blackjack player. Nick's website is www.jetcafe.org/~npc/ that Omaha (both High-Low and High only) were the games of the future, and that the poker community would make these two games the most popular in the world. This hasn't come to pass, but Omaha High-Low is still quite popular in many card rooms, and even Omaha High has made something of a comeback in recent years. However, there isn't a lot of information in print about this game. One of the few books is Ciaffone's Omaha Holdem Poker which he has updated and expanded in his "Millennium Edition".
The book begins with some background, explaining the rules of the game, its origin, and other generally useful information. This is will be especially valuable to those who might not have played the game before, but there are some tidbits, like Ciaffone's description of the game's origin, that are likely to be informative to Omaha veterans. After this, Ciaffone starts in on strategy, discussing general Omaha principles, such as the relative strengths of different two pair hands and different draws. The section concludes with specific strategy advice for limit Omaha High.
The third section is on Omaha High-Low Split, a section that is much expanded from earlier editions of the book, and includes a quiz on handling game situations. I believe that the differences between good and bad Omaha hands (and situations) is more difficult to evaluate than in any other commonly played form of poker, and Ciaffone imparts a great deal of wisdom about how to handle these situations in his quizzes. The more one thinks about these situations, the more apparent the complexities become, so there's a lot of good possibilities for discussion of the different types of situations that come up than just those that are mentioned in this book. The information presented in this book is very good, but I don't believe that this section suffices for a general text on this game. Ray Zee's High-Low Split Poker for Advanced Players is still the best book on this topic, although Ciaffone's material makes a worthwhile supplement to it.
A discussion of the author's favorite poker game, Pot-Limit Omaha, comes next. A discussion of general strategy, insurance, and a quiz on play are included here. The information in this section is quite good as well, but I believe there are many more situations which could be fruitfully discussed about this game as well, and the repetition of many key ideas would make it more likely that these concepts would sink in with the reader's. The book ends with some discussion about playing Omaha in a tournament, future ideas for the game, and some concluding remarks.
This edition of the book is much improved over the previous one, although I still believe that there is so much more to this game that it should be possible to provide a further expanded and even better book to its audience. While nearly 40 pages have been added in this edition, the size of the typeface is larger so its length has not quite increased proportionally to the page count. Nonetheless, this represents a considerable increase from previous editions. I still believe that the price of the book is a bit steep for its volume, but the additional material included, even at a the higher price, makes this edition a better value than its predecessor. The bottom line is that this is still the best book I've read on playing Omaha High, and while the material on Omaha High-Low is not comprehensive enough for my tastes, it will likely be valuable, or at the very least, thought-provoking to the reader. Ciaffone is one of the better poker authors writing and his book is a worthwhile edition to just about any poker player's library.
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