Secrets Of Pot Limit Omaha - Rolf Slotboom

(ISBN: 1904468306)
Price: £9.99, Pages: 272
Rating: 8
Review by NoflopsHomer
Submitted by: snoopy on Thu, 03/05/2007 - 12:10am
With every single pro now seeming to wet his beak in the poker book market and the Harrington volumes seemingly ubiquitous by their presence, other than Super System, there are very few books that cater for the non-hold 'em games. As someone who plays a fair deal of PLO (mostly at the 1/2 and 2/4 levels), I'm often left feeling like a Newcastle United fan, watching all the other fans from other clubs always get what they need and wondering when it'll be our turn... Oh hang on, that is me... But never fear! In to this void steps Rolf Slotboom's "Secrets of Professional Pot-Limit Omaha". Rolf works mainly in the media updating the big tournaments in Europe and writes for Cardplayer and is a regular high stakes PLO player with a very unique and sucessful style, the secrets of which he has all but given up in this complex, but interesting and rewarding book.  

Rolf's book begins in Vienna, where he began to play the games there (having quit as a dealer), but then quickly moves on to what is the cornerstone of his book, the act of playing a short-stack and maximising your winnings whilst simultaneously reducing all your own losses. This part is completed with numerous reasons as to why his strategy works, but at the same time acknowledges the downsides that you will face if you utilise it. "But surely," you will say, "If you put what he does in to practice and are sucessful, your stack-size will increase to a degree where you're not playing as a short stack anymore?" Well, for you this is also dealt with, using min-raises to build and massage the pot, whilst also flushing out any potential A-A-x-x holders.

The next section deals with his return home to Amsterdam and his attempts to learn how to play a bigger stack well, now that his short stack game is being copied by others. This style of play called 'The New Amsterdam Strategy' is much tougher to learn than his original game from Vienna, and also requires a lot more money, manipulation of the betting and, in my opinion, skill and nerves to be achieved. It involves a lot more re-raising, looking to isolate the big stacks whilst trying to also keep position on them after the flop. It also jumps into the possiblities of making fairly big bluffs post-flop if need be, taking it far away from the more beginner friendly "Vienna style". For me, this was quite daunting, but it should be pointed out that it is not intended for people at smaller stakes levels where making such sophisticated plays isn't likely in the least.

Although these first two chapters deal exclusively with live play, online is not neglected as a chunky section is dedicated to playing both short-stacked and big-stacked online and a series of example hands are given with different choices dependent on your position, stack size and whether the table is loose/tight. This is then followed by a slightly short section on short-handed (6-max) play as well as adjusting the styles once again to fit for this. I would've liked more info on this section as most PLO cash game tables seem to be 6 handed these days, although I'm with Rolf when he says he prefers the full ring game. Compared to the two previous live chapters and first online chapter, there is a lot less in the short-handed section and more is really needed here. Happily though, Rolf is writing a follow-up book that will deal more specifically with this style of play, which will hopefully solve this problem.

Following on from this, we get around fifteen or sixteen articles Rolf has written, some of them contain some interesting hands he's played, whilst others have good advice, such as how to play post-flop when you've flopped a underfull (e.g holding T-T-x-x on a Q-T-Q flop), or how you should play blockers. The book is neatly rounded off with a quiz, (similar to Vol 3 of Harrington on Hold 'Em) and some intriguing hand match-ups that show the dominance of the flush draw over the straight draw.

Rolf writes in a confident manner, though someone would argue it's with an air of superiority, when talking about his own game, but while this may or may not be the case, the book is extremely informative and helpful, lacking only a little in the short-handed area and PLO tournament play. Be warned however, Rolf himself says in the preface that the 'Practice Hands' and 'Hand match-ups and Analysis' chapters are..."not easy reads", andnd he's certainly not wrong as they are quite in-depth and may take time to digest. In conclusion though, if you're a beginner or even a fairly knowledgeable PLO player, then this book could be an extremely valuable addition to your bookshelf, and I do not hesitate in recommending it to you.

I give it 8 blonde stars out of 10.
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