What is the strongest starting hand in 6 card PLO?

If you know your 6 card PLO strategy, then your immediate response should be, “it depends on the context”, so I’ll ask you a more precise question: We 3bet from the button after a competent player has opened from early position in a 6-handed game, our opponent 4-bets, what is the strongest hand we can hold at this point in the game tree?

To help you out, I have given you the table of 4 hands below, one of which is the correct answer. The table shows the equity of each hand against a top 10%vr range. Which hand is the strongest, and why?

6 card PLO Starting HandEquity vs Top 10%vr
AAKJT964%
AAKQQT62%
AAAQJT61%
AAT65458%
6 Card PLO Strategy

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The answer is AAAQJT, because this is the only hand from the selection which prevents your opponent from also holding AA. In fact, it is a 60% favourite against a ‘top 5%’ range, which is naturally cut to a very small width in practice due to card removal. The strongest hand in an Aces vs Aces matchup is AATT99, which only reaches the lofty heights of 59% all-in preflop if your opponent is weak enough to 4bet all of his Aces, and is closer to 56% against a 4bet range consisting of only strong Aces.

For those readers who are convinced that Aces are usually automatic 4bets, consider this: KKT976 has 46% equity vs the top 2% of starting hands, and is a 57% – 43% equity favourite against A♠AQ74♠2 preflop. Evidently, preflop equities in this game are not deducible using the same heuristics that served you so well in the 4 card variant.

Starting Hand Equity in 6 Card PLO

It is a basic fact of 6 card PLO that starting hand equities run closer together than in the 4 card or 5 card Omaha variants. Whilst mainstream poker trainers would inaccurately infer from this some banality such as, “This means that variance will be much higher in 6c PLO…” we’re instead going to look a little deeper. The graph below shows the preflop equity distribution for every starting hand against a linearly constructed top 25% range for each of the three Omaha high variants.