CONCEPTS: Hand Quality, Pot Control, Equity Curve, Hand Odds, Split-Pot Freerolling

August 20, 2016 -- Today we welcome in another poker variant to the Open Face Odds family - Stud Hi Lo, also known as Stud 8. Much of the same street-by-street odds analysis we have applied to OFC is useful in other poker variations, so let's get under the hood! Today we'll take a look at this HU spot in a Stud 8 tournament, examining street-by-street odds, starting hand strength and the concept of freerolling in a split pot game.

3rd Street



March 21, 2016 -- The next big thing in Open Face Chinese Poker is here, and it's called 'Side-by-Side' OFC or 'Same Card'.

'Same Card' is dealt like Pineapple OFC, but with the twist of players setting the same hand against each other. The other significant rules change is that everyone sets their hand face down, so all information is 'hidden' until the end. When each player is finished setting the hand (under a time limit), the results are revealed. The hands are then scored against each other simultaneously, and for that reason there is no 'button' or concept of 'position'. If you get to Fantasyland in the 'Spicy Pineapple' app above, you are auto-dealt and auto-set a random 13-card Fantasyland, which adds bonus points to the hand.

Anyone who has played OFC-P knows how differently a hand can play out depending on setting decisions (see Open Face Odds' alt lines series for more on this concept). The example above shows how 5 different players, having been dealt the same cards, came up with 5 completely different ways to play the hand. The wide variety of outcomes to any single hand provides this puzzle for players to solve: Can you outwit and outplay your opponents with the same exact cards? Finding optimal answers to this question is the heart of the game's strategy, but of course it isn't easy. Skills needed to play well include:

  • First-five setting prowess
  • Odds knowledge
  • Familiarity with assorted equities (royalty, scoop, FL, # of players)
  • Ability to 'switch gears'
  • Peer convergence-divergence adjustments
Mastering the skill set needed to play optimally is a challenge, but one thing is crystal clear: a higher skill level clearly translates to winning. And this is where the true brilliance of 'Same Card' OFC emerges: it allows more than 3 players to compete. The Spicy Pineapple app, for example, allows up to 5 players at a time. So why is this so significant? Let's look at why it's a big plus for both online casinos and players.


There is no reason to think an online poker client couldn't offer the game comfortably for up to around 6 or 7 players at a time. Rake now becomes a reasonable incentive for the operator. The fact the entire game is 'hidden information' should ease fears of solvability and bots. And the beauty is all the popular variations of Pineapple OFC can be played as 'Same Card': Pineapple, 2-7, Progressive. Now a wide variety of the game people love to play is available in a format online casinos should love as well.


One of the drawbacks to 'regular' Pineapple OFC is that only 3 players can play at any given time. This creates a high-variance and swingy environment, and while edges can be found, the payoff is limited. So how does 'Same Card' OFC improve the game for players? Let us count the ways:

  • There is more money on the table.
  • It's a lower-variance climate. You can 'come in 2nd' in a hand at a profit, it's not just winner-takes-all
  • Having an edge can be very profitable - instead of one or two players, four or more players can pay you off in any given hand.
  • Misset or fouling now carries more significant consequences (stacking off to four opponents instead of one or two), which promotes higher-level play as well as creating a better balance in risk-reward scenarios.
  • More players creates a better social environment.
  • Tables don't break as easily as in the 3-handed variant.
  • Table wait times are shorter since there are more seats on the felt.
  • 'Same Card' is a very grindable cash game, but also plays extremely well in tournament format.
Although it can only play online because of its unique mechanics, this latest twist on OFC has explosive potential. Aside from potentially tweaking the Fantasyland component of the game, Open Face Odds' opinion of 'Same Card' OFC is it's a nearly perfect OFC multi-player game. There may be future variants that play well online AND in a live casino environment, but this is a brilliant take on Open Face with more than enough pizzazz to please players and online casino operators alike.