Note: The edition of Omaha Holdem Poker reviewed here is out of print. A second edition which is expanded and updated exists, and a review of this version is available. This review remains as part of the historical record.

Reviewed by Nick Christenson, npc@jetcafe.org

May 12, 2001

There was a time during the 80’s when many people felt 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 Ciafonne’s Omaha Holdem Poker which was written during the game’s heyday.

After some introductory remarks, this short book begins with an explanation of the rules of the game, information about the structure, and discussions on reading the board. Ciaffone then gets in to strategy questions covering small sets, flopping two pair, playing draws, and evaluating starting hands. These chapters culminate in a starting hand quiz and cover just less than the first half of the book. This information is pretty reasonable, but obviously fairly sparse in places.

The rest of the book covers pot limit information, calculating insurance, Qiu Qiu Online tournament information, and another quiz on playing hands. There are five pages that cover Omaha High-Low Split, which is far too short to do the game justice, especially because even though the game structurally looks quite similar, I believe that in practice the games are quite different. Similarities between these games are illusory, and sources that try to make strategy for one game a simple variant of the other do a disservice to their readers.

Overall, I found the strategies in this book to be quite good, although limited. Certainly, a lot more could be said about the game, so I wish Ciaffone had spent a little more time covering other situations or presenting more examples, but the information that is present is worth reading. The biggest plus for this book, however, is the lack of good Omaha information I’ve found from other sources, which makes this the best book I’ve read on the subject, but by default. In my opinion, the price tag is steep for a book that doesn’t weigh in at 70 pages, but if you’re new to Omaha High and want to learn how to play, at the time of this writing, Omaha Holdem Poker is probably your best choice.

Capsule:

This brief book contains good information on how to Play Omaha High poker. Despite its brevity for the price, it’s probably the single best source of information on playing this game. However, there’s no reason to buy this book unless you’re specifically interested in learning how to play Omaha High. It’s too short to merit consideration on general poker strategy grounds, and the miniscule section on Omaha High Low doesn’t warrant consideration by the serious player.

 

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