How to Play Aces in PLO? 3 Tips to Improve Your Preflop Strategy

Jakub Szczotka
14 wrz 2023
4 mins read

Aces, especially double suited Aces, are the strongest hand preflop in Pot Limit Omaha, just like all AA combos in No Limit Hold'em. However, that's where the most similarities end. The fact that every hand you are dealt consists of four cards instead of two drastically changes how you should look at the Aces in PLO.

In Hold'em, there are 1,326 unique combinations of hands, of which only six are Aces, and all follow the same preflop strategy. PLO has 270,725 unique preflop combinations of hands, of which as many as 6961 consist of at least AA (meaning this number includes trips). And their playability differs greatly!

Not all Aces are equal in Pot Limit Omaha

Among these 6K+ combos, you'll find hands as weak as AAAA, AAA2 or AA72r (usually called naked Aces, meaning they have bad side cards, which makes flopping a strong hand harder) and as good as AAKK double suited (ds), AAJTds or AA87ds. As you can imagine, despite all of them having a similar core, their expected value and strategy vary.

In this article, we'd like to share a few tips to improve your AAxx preflop strategy (assuming you're playing around 100BB stack)!

As we've already found on our blog - the EV of hands with Aces differs

Do not limp pocket Aces

Pot Limit Omaha is a game primarily played in a cash game format. This fact influences the optimal strategy in several ways, but the most important one is the existence of the rake. Since the rake is part of a pot that "disappears" from the poker table, it has two main consequences.

Firstly, you have to play tighter - if the hand reaches the flop, there will be less to play for. As a result, your worst hands at every position won't be profitable anymore because the rake will eat their potential profit.

Secondly, you have to play more aggressively. Whenever you open raise or 3-bet, you give yourself a chance to scoop the pot before the flop, avoiding the rake deduction. Winning a 1.5 BB in a hand might not seem like a big deal, but let's compare it to how the overall win rate is measured. Depending on the stakes, anything between 5 to 10 BB per hundred hands (BB/100) is a great result. Every hundred hands in which you win "only the blinds" equals 150BB/100! Of course, people won't fold often enough for such a rate to be achievable, but it visualizes why open raising is better than limping in almost any case.

Like in Hold'em, many PLO newcomers like to play pocket Aces "deceptively" and limp them preflop. Please, for your own sake, do not do it. Unless you are on a Small Blind, raise or fold when the pot is unopened. That part of playing Aces in PLO is straightforward; whatever your combination or position is, you should raise into an unopened pot.

Do not always 3-bet pocket Aces in position

While, technically, any Aces in PLO should have at least a slight equity edge over other hands, you shouldn't 3-bet all combos when you're in CO and the BU. This assumption relies on a few reasons, but the most important one is that it protects you from being squeezed out of the pot by the players behind you.

If you flat a UTG open with AAxx, you can call or even 4-bet against a squeeze. By strengthening your flatting range with some combos of Aces, you decrease the chance of other people 3-betting you relentlessly, allowing your weaker hands to realize more of their equity. You'll also make it harder to play against you on board textures with an Ace since you'll have a top set from time to time.

Sometimes calling is the play with Aces

Always 4-bet Aces out of position

Position in PLO is one of the most crucial and far more important factors than in No Limit Hold'em. As a result, a large portion of strong preflop holdings can get very tricky to play out of position on the flop and the following streets.

That's why we - following the solver's guidance - advise you to 4-bet all your Aces combinations when you are out of position.

By doing so, you build the big pot, reduce the positional advantage of your opponent, and, at the same time, push your equity. Whenever you 4-bet your Aces OOP, there's a chance that you'll win the pot right away and even if your opponent calls you, the SPR (stack-to-pot-ratio) will be smaller, making it easier for you to choose the correct play (which will often be going all in, not always though).

More often than not, Aces are straightforward to play OOP

In Omaha poker preflop has a lot of nuances

It makes the game more complex despite being similar to Hold'em at first glance. That complexity allows you to create a solid edge over your opponents. For example, many of your opponents will have a tough time folding preflop despite it being a correct play. The key is knowing when to do so.

Every solid game plan starts with the preflop, and that's where PLO Genius comes in.

Our tool will help you master how to react to various preflop scenarios, creating a strategy that's a strong foundation for postflop crushing. Most of its basic functionalities are free, so there is no excuse not to try it out right now!