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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

New 'Pot-Limit Omaha' focuses on game for every level player

1 October 2009

More than 25 years ago, the great Bill Boyd, considered one of the great five-card stud players ever, brought the game of Omaha to Las Vegas. Boyd enthusiastically explained the game to me and many others, but it was a while before it caught on. After all, hold'em and seven stud were THE games in the 1980s and they got plenty of action. But Boyd had the vision and Omaha soon caught fire. The game was added to tournament offerings and card rooms everywhere offered action.

Bob Ciaffone wrote the first book on the game in 1984, shortly after he won the World Series of Poker Omaha title. Since then there have been other titles, with the high-low split version of the game getting attention as well.

Now comes William Jockusch's Pot-Limit Omaha: Understanding Winning Play (320 pages, paperbound, $29.95). The author, who says he never saw a game he didn't like, hails from the Seattle area and says his book is designed for experienced players who enjoy games with plenty of action and large pots.

There are eight major sections to this book including a quiz on material presented. Jockusch offers an introduction (including what good flops look like) and moves quickly to preflop play. Here he takes the player through dimensions of preflop strengths, moves to short stack play, stack size and table selection. On preflop guidelines he answers questions about playing tight or loose and which hands are playable in early to middle position.

There are some solid presentations on wrap hands, blind stealing and raising from the blinds, and pot equity of various hands against pocket aces.

A good portion of the book shifts to play on the flop, including flopping non-nut hands and draws, flopping nut draws, flopping a set and dozens of other situations. Illustrations throughout the book make this a powerful tutorial, and anyone searching for a specific concept will find assistance in a handy index at book's end.

Sections on playing on the turn and on the river are extremely vital. The author follows with some interesting miscellaneous concepts like playing flush boards, playing against a maniac, going for overcalls and check-fold equity.

Overall, this is a valuable addition to any serious pot-limit Omaha player's library. It should be read, reread, highlighted and underlined. More importantly, it will make you think about the game as it improves it.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com