Omaha Poker Strategy: Aces Are Not Everything

Let’s be honest right off the bat. I love Aces. You love Aces. Aces are at the core of Texas Hold ‘Em and so, as Omaha players, we naturally gravitate towards them. Here’s the problem with Aces: they’re tricky. Very, very tricky. New players to Omaha overvalue and overplay pocket aces far too often and it’s time that we put a stop to that. Why? Because they’re rarely any good when it comes to the showdown.

Omaha is a post-flop game and especially in deep stack games where people have a little more wiggle room in their play, it’s hard to even get to showdown with aces, much less see them win. So, when and how do you play aces? First of all, you have to know that Aces in PLO play best when stacks are short and/or when you can get a large portion of your stack in before the flop. With aces you should work to get yourself pot committed so that no matter what the flop is, you’ll be going on all-in. If you realize that the pre-flop raiser has a shallow stack, you can re-raise if you know you’ll be heads up because you’ll have no problem getting committed versus his stack size.

However, there are frequently problems with being committed that early in the hand. Nothing is worse than making a large pre-flop raise and then getting left in the dark after the flop. If you can’t be committed entirely, it’s better to just call and keep your aces concealed so you can see a flop. That said, just because you have aces, that doesn’t mean you’re going to win the hand.

The best hands in Omaha have more than one way to win. They don’t just depend on one aspect of the hand – they’re multi-faceted. Good ace hands include hands like AhAdThJd or AcAsKsQc. As you can see, these hands have good flush potential or straight potential or have you set up to make a set thanks to the paired aces (and it’s even better if you have a hand like AdAc5s5c, where there’s a set on the line as well for both halves of the hand.)

That said, there are such things as bad aces, and a hand like AdAh7s2c is an example of that. You’re hobbled by the fact that off-suit hands back up your aces with a huge range between them and there’s no real chance for a flush or set beyond AAA.

Overall, it’s important to remember that Aces in Pot Limit Omaha straddle the line between amazing and terrible. Aces get new players into trouble more often than any other hand, but if you’re smart and you can recognize how the rest of the hand fits into things, you can demystify the game for yourself. Don’t fall for playing AA improperly and you can stay ahead of a lot of the other players.