Omaha Hi-Lo: how to play AAxx

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GabryRox

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During the last few weeks, I've really been playing a lot of Omaha Hi-Lo full ring .10/.25 NL & PL on pokerstars. I originally started doing this to rack up FPPs to make my bonusses, but have actually had pretty good success, winning a modest amount over that span. One thing that I've noticed on the NL games is that you'll see people going all-in with $10-$40 pre-flop a decent amount of the time. Personally I tend to be more conservative so I dismissed this as over-agressive donk play. However, when I started to see the hands that were doing this (on the few that were actually called) I realized that most of them were holding AAxx.

This got me curious so I started punching stuff into my Omaha-8 calculator. I was somewhat amazed to find that AA with any other 2 cards is a actually a favorite against any other non-AA hand! Now obviously there is a wide range of AA hands. A-A-9-J rainbowed obviosuly being among the weekest, all the way to the best possibly draw of A-2-A-3 double suited. My question is this though, even with AAxx being a favorite against anything, does it really make sense to go all in PF with it? Or could you conceivably get more out of it by making a more modest raise, getting more callers, and more chasers? This is a bit of a quandry for me so I'd like to hear some of your opinions on it.

Cheers!
 
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eaglezoners

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Anytime you have a pair, in Omaha hi/lo, you have the chance of making a full house. Obviously, A FH with Aces -over xx is likely going to a lock on the high hand. But to me the goal in Omaha hi/lo is to make both the high and the low hand; that is where you make your money. So it really depends what your others two cards are and the suits of all four. If you have AA-2-3, AA-2-4, AA-25 or AA26, you are looking good as you as the lead contender for the low hand too. But I dont think the aces themselves assures you of anything, except maybe a slight preflop edge. What matters is your other cards, their interconnectedness, their ability to get you both the high and the low pots, and the flop itself. If you draw dead, a pair of aces is a weak Omaha hand as is two pair. Anyway, that is my perspective on that hand. :hello:
 
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GabryRox

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Agreed, AA with 2 junk cards can be comparatively weak to AA23 with suited, but even with the weak version, your still a PF favorite over any other hand. Again, assuming nobody else drew AA. To me though, it's not worth going the PF all in route with the weaker version. The real turning point seems to be adding at least 1 low and having at least one suited with the Ace. In these cases, you become a major favorite (like around 70%) even against someone holding A2xx. Anyway, I'm trying to get used to going all in PF but if you have a premium version of AAxx, the numbers say you will come out on top most of the time. I believe that I will mix it up though between the 2 strategies as that is typically the sign of a strong player anyway.
 
starfall

starfall

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Basically, in a multi-way pot, AAXX will often be beaten, because other hands don't need to improve that much to beat it unimproved, and the lack of good low potential will hurt it. Heads-up offers a rather different proposition, as there are going to be a decent number of cards which don't give another person a better high, and if 3 low cards hit then there's more of a chance the opponent won't have made their low (because of pairing one of the low cards).
 
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Dashir

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AA doesn't play well multi-handed - even worse in Omaha than Holdem. So trying to get more callers will only lose you more money. Drawing hands like mult-way pots. When you're banking on your Aces, narrow the field or take it down pre-flop.
 
skoldpadda

skoldpadda

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Those two replies nail it. Favorite HU and plays poorly in multi-way pot. Always surprises me how frequently these AA hands get called by the A2xx hands.
 
starfall

starfall

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Another point with the AAXX hands is that if they have nothing else going for them, then they'll be really hard to play post-flop, often even when they catch an Ace on the board. There's often any number of possible draws... so the easiest way (though high variance) would be to get all the money in pre-flop.
A final point would be that if you're in early position with a hand like that, then you would be at a disadvantage post-flop because each round you'd be first to act. In late position, it may be more worthwhile not risking it all before the flop, to make the most of a positional advantage, but if you were on the blinds, for example, then you'd want to minimise any positional disadvantage.
 
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