‘High-Low-Split Poker’ by Ray Zee – Book Review

The game of high-low split poker has confounded some of the best poker players over the years. Ray Zee, one of the most successful Omaha and Seven-Card Stud split game players, takes the game apart and reconstructs it in a fashion that can be understood, even by beginning players if they take the time to digest it. His book far surpasses the work of other authors on the subject.

High Points

Written by proven high-low winner Ray Zee

Instruction includes actual hands

Includes a glossary of poker terms

Low Points

This is a tough book filled with complex theories

Geared towards medium to higher limit games

A bit dated by now

Description

High-Low-Split Poker was released by Two + Two Publishing in 1992

326 pages

Guide Review – ‘High-Low-Split Poker’ by Ray Zee – Book Review

High-Low-Split Poker is a tough book to get through, especially for beginning poker players still learning how to play poker. However, this should be expected since the byline to the text is For Advanced Players. The main problem with this is that all games of high-low are tough to learn.

Unlike casino games such as blackjack, where a player learns the rules and follows them, poker demands a different strategy to be successful. And, high-low split games such as Omaha and Seven-Card Stud demand a high degree of skill to be successful.

Author Ray Zee hit the high-notes of successful poker in the mid 1980’s and topped the small-stakes tournament boards in Reno for several years. By that time he had developed a sophisticated game of high-low, especially with regard to the game of Omaha, and he was well ahead of the other players in town.

As an author, Zee was also ahead of most poker writers, and while High-Low-Split Poker is a bit dated now, it is precisely because his book exposed the great challenges of the game and provided invaluable tips for mastering its intricacies.Zee uses a straightforward style to get his points across. The book starts with an introduction and pages on just how to use the book before jumping into actual hands and the understanding of the aspects of the game a non-split player needs to understand to move forward with their learning. Zee’s writing is not overly sophisticated, but the theories addressed are. A novice is going to struggle with the concepts; and again, the book is geared towards advanced players

With that caveat expressed, Zee delves into playing seven-stud high-low starting with an overview and then moves street by street after twenty pages just on the player’s first three cards. His explanation that bluffing is often used to knock out a single player who is drawing to the same high-or-low end that you are does not go into enough detail.

It is the author’s contention that bluffing is actually more important in split games than other authors have stated, and I can’t argue with Zee’s success. However, I would have preferred to see more on the subject because it is such an important tool.

Why You Should Read This Book

If you have played some poker and understand the basic concepts, you may be ready for this book. Playing high-low is an art form. Much like specialty games such as Razz, high-low game should be thought of as very different from their high-only counterparts. Sure, you need a good grounding in Omaha to be a successful Omaha-Eight (high-low), but as Zee explains thoroughly in his book, it is much more than that.

Successful split-game players are in a league of their own, and unfortunately the games are tough to beat. However, if you are going to give the games a shot, there is one very good book to start your advanced learning with, and High-Low-Split Poker is it!