Poker Book Review – Rolf Slotboom – Secrets of Professional Pot Limit Omaha

Rolf Slotboom is a well respected poker player and author, with a large amount of experience and cashes in live tournaments around the globe. He has written a number of books on poker, has a column in CardPlayer, and is editor of CardPlayer Europe.

The book is split into seven chapters, and prefaced with a warning that it is not a “how to” book. Rolf goes on to warn that players looking for a quick fix, without investing time and effort into the game, should look elsewhere. This instantly grabs my attention, as nothing screams scam louder than a get rich quick’n’easy scheme, and it’s nice to see a poker book preaching that hard work is key.

The final two chapters do contain advice on how to play hands in certain situations, but the previous five are mainly related to how Rolf himself has played over the course of his poker career.

The first two chapters cover live play, from Rolf’s time playing live Omaha cash games, firstly in Vienna, and then Amsterdam. Here the author mainly covers the difference in his play between deep and short stacked play, and there’s a lot of great advice on choosing the right seat according to how deep you want to sit. Although these chapters are taken from a live setting, the styles discussed translate very well to online play.

The Vienna game was lower buy-in/blinds than the Amsterdam game, but there were also numerous differences in the styles of play his opponents used, which serves to illustrate an important point – how to adapt your play to suit a different game or table.

From here Rob moves on to online play in some of the biggest Omaha games available, over chapters 3 & 4 he discusses first full handed (9-10 players), and then short handed play. Again the difference in the authors playing styles between these 2 games is highlighted.

Chapter 5 is a collection of 18 Omaha articles written over the course of Rolf’s career and edited for this book. Although at first glance this seems somewhat of a lazy chapter, unless you’ve actually read them all before, you’ll gain a huge amount from this section. There’s many subjects covered here, including beating aces, starting hands, bet sizing, playing blockers, strong/weak plays, and more. The style of this section makes it very easy reading, but there’s also some great strategy and play to absorb.

The final 2 chapters of the book dissect actual hands; chapter 6 contains five practice hands over 30 pages, with your choices rated by a points system, giving you the opportunity to check how much of the books advice you have taken in.

Chapter 7 analyses five hands a little more deeply, showing the maths behind the hands, and how they could, or should be played. The explanations are complicated but well written, and make for a good end to the book.

As a whole the book flows well, from a rather “chatty” easy to read beginning, through most of the important aspects of Omaha play, to complex analysis and hand dissection. Rolf’s style is mainly very tight, but he opens up with more loose aggressive plays where required. Wherever you play, and however much you play for, if it’s Omaha, this book is going to help you a great deal. Highly recommended.…

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