It seems like it's hard to mess up Fantasyland. After all, you see all your cards at once. Beyond avoiding
an obvious mis-set, are you acheiving highest situational hand strength and max value from your opponent(s)?
"All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near."
-- Sun Tzu
February 11, 2014 -- Today's alt line features a Pineapple Open Face starting-five with a pair of Kings. Where should they go?
With QQ+ qualifying for Fantasyland, the KK would go in the middle. However, some rules require KK+ to qualify. Also
considered is the Fantasyland-defend, where you are setting against someone already in Fantasyland.
February 5, 2014 -- Today's alt line features a Pineapple hand with a starting 5 we classify as 'Cannibals'. A Cannibal card adds value to one
row's primary draw or EV while simultaneously subtracting value from another row. In this instance the Queen of hearts is
a cannibal, as it presents a somewhat difficult splitting option: with the other Queen as a pair for back row strength,
in a flush draw, or in front for Fantasyland. We will go over these 3 lines and see what kind of value they bring in.
If you have QQ in your starting 5, should you always go for Fantasyland?
Today's Alt Lines examines three alternate settings of the above starting hand, with odds and scenarios discussed as the hand plays out:
July 21, 2014 -- ABC app creator Nikolai Yakovenko tweeted out the following
Pineapple Open Face spot the other day:
Response was varied, with some saying complete the flush, and some saying pair the 8's.
But is there an optimal way to play this spot?
Flushing the back here allows for a middle-row flush draw 85cc. It also completes the back row flush and 4 point royalty, adding equity to the hand.
On the other side of the argument, pairing the 8's in the middle and adding the kicker 5 or J allows for a two-pair-or-better
middle, opening the door to a big-pair, Fantasyland-inducing front row.
So what are the odds and strategy for either play?
A) PAIR THE MIDDLE: If the flush is denied here and 885 or 88J is set in the middle, the flush still
is completed 90% of the time, 90% being the equivalent of a slam dunk in poker. Remember there are still 9 cards to come, with 8 live diamonds. Additionally, the chance to
two-pair the middle is 75%, with a 41% chance to hit trip 8's for a +2 royalty. Setting the pair also takes a big lead in the
middle row, adding scoop equity to the equation.
B) FLUSH IT OUT: If, on the other hand, you complete the flush here and set 85cc in the middle, you are well under 50% to draw the 3
clubs you need to complete the 2nd flush. And now 2-pairing the middle is only ~30% likely to happen, drawing to
runner-runner 8's and 5's, and trips is now 13% at best, drawing to the 555 set.
THE ANSWER IS A: You lose ~45% middle row and scoop equity as well as 28% middle-row-trips equity, to gain a 10% likelihood in
completing the back row flush. Even if you look at the opponent board and see they're in a tough spot and likely to foul
(so why not get greedy and go for the middle row flush),
you're giving up a lot of potential Fantasyland EV by not setting the pair. There's no guarantee you'll
catch QQ or AA in the front, but it's even less likely you'll catch those cards AND make your middle row flush (remember also
that any A or Q of clubs would probably go into the flush draw).
After looking at the math, it's a clear case to pair the 8's in the middle.
If you'd like your very own set of heads up and 3-handed Pineapple odds charts, you can purchase them here for a couple bucks:
PINEAPPLE OFC CHARTS
And, if you haven't given the ABC app a try yet, you can find it in the Apple app store here:
ABC CHINESE POKER APP
We've put together a number of training modules you can use for practicing various situations in Pineapple OFC. All
modules are currently heads up, although 3-handed support will be added shortly. Whether you'd like to practice setting
your hands for max value, avoiding fouling, against a Fantasyland hand, or practice a quick Fantasyland set, here are
our free modules:
Practice setting 14-card Fantasyland & see how it holds up v. Pineapple hand.
POT-LIMIT PINEAPPLE OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER
INTRODUCING BETTING INTO PINEAPPLE OFC
We here at Open Face Odds have long thought there ought to be an OFC betting variant, and we introduce
Pot-Limit Pineapple Open Face Chinese Poker. For poker 'purists' who insist OFC is not poker (because you can't bet, or bluff), here
is your solution. While we would like to see more player experimentation and feedback,
we offer a base structure that provides more hidden information (cards down), betting, bluffing, folding, and larger pots.
For explanatory purposes, we will assume heads up.
Blinds are set at 1-2. First five cards are dealt to each player face-down, as in every other Open Face variation.
Before any cards are set face up, the out of position player has the following
Call the big blind
Once the action has been verbally declared and chips added to the pot, the in-position player has the option to respond
(also while cards are still in the hole). So, for example,
if OOP calls, IP can check or raise. Once the betting actions have been completed, the game continues as in normal OFC and the OOP will
set their hand face up, followed by the IP set.
The first pull of 3 cards each is then dealt face-down, at which point the betting actions repeat, following a pot-limit format
(again before the cards are set face-up). There are
4 pulls in all, so the betting rounds total 5: (The deal, pull 1, pull 2, pull 3, and pull 4). A hand may
be surrendered or folded at any time during the action, so long as the folding player pays out a surrender penalty, which for
baseline purposes we set at 6 points. Heads up, if the pot is 4 points, then the surrender would cost an additional 4
(the folding player has already contributed 2 points to the pot but will complete for 6 total in the surrender).
If the pot is 8 points, the surrender would
cost 2 (already in for four, completing for 6 total).
If the pot total is 12 points or better, the surrender/fold is simply then the pot itself. Surrender prices would double
in a 3-handed game.
If the action progresses all the way through the 4th pull and there is a showdown, the winner of the pot is declared according to
standard OFC points rules. A single winner is declared, so regardless of whether player A beats player B by 1 point or by 14 points, the entire pot is taken down.
The 1-6 scoring system provides the means to declare a winner, i.e. if player A wins 2 of three rows with no royalties for
either player, player A wins the hand by 1 point and takes down the pot. All royalties would factor into the points total, as all current variations are already
set up to do, so if player A wins 2 of 3 rows for +1 but owes -4 for a flush royalty, player B takes down the entire pot by virtue of
having won the hand by +3.
In home games, we found this system to work well. Fantasyland follows exactly the same betting pattern, but with one player already knowing their hand
structure. We are suggesting 8-12 points (house preference) for surrender against Fantasyland.
Could the betting variation work in standard 4-handed Open Face? Absolutely. We chose Pineapple to experiment with because it seems
like a natural fit for multi-street betting, similar in flow to PLO or Stud.
No-betting OFC appears to be a holdover remnant of standard Chinese Poker (the one where you get all 13 cards at once).
There's no reason betting can't be assimilated into Open Face.
- The 1-6 OFC point-scoring system is sufficient to declare a winner
- With betting, massive pot sizes can be created, similar to PLO
- Pineapple OFC will flow more quickly at the table than Standard OFC
- Bluffing is now a relevant and useful skill
- More importance can now be assigned to what is a 'premium' OFC starting hand, and weaker hands can be folded
- It is possible to get to Fantasyland while simultaneously losing the pot, which will influence overall hand-strength
- More hidden information could be incorporated by some face-down setting, i.e. set 3 of first 5 up and 2 down, and 1 of next
2 face down (suggested by Pocket Rockets Casino online)
- Yes, you potentially could get your stack in 'all in pre-flop'
REGARDING HIDDEN INFORMATION
We tried 2 of first 5 down, with 2 more down throughout the length of the hand, which seemed fine,
and that might suit some players. What we settled on ultimately was simply 2 cards (total) face down, at any point during the
hand, in any row, together or separately. That seemed to work nicely for the game flow. Is it enough hidden information? It
seemed like it. Between the two down cards per player (total 6), 12 discards, and betting with cards in hand (before setting),
there was quite a bit of hidden information. On the third pull, for example, there would be 2 discards already out per player,
typically at least one down card per player, and 3-6 hole cards in opponent hands (betting before setting), giving that betting
round ~30%-40% hidden information.
1. "Long Con" - setting something like 3-flush in back with one card face down (not the flush card), barreling hard throughout the hand but never actually getting there, but if you have AA in front and 333 mid, it sure looks like a scoop, that kind of thing
2. "You didn't catch ur card dude" - if your opponent catches a bad pull, barreling once or maybe emptying the clip
3. "River Monster" -- setting the river card(s) face down, pot-sizing it
Fantasyland Requirements and # of Cards
We used a variable-quality Fantasyland setup: If you qualify with QQ, you get 13 cards in FL. If you qualified with KK, then you
got 14, and AA got 15 FL cards.
Lots of interesting scenarios re: setting all first five face up, or with one down, or two, or when exactly to use your down cards.
May 13, 2014 -- This edition of "Alt Lines" takes a look at 3 different settings of
4⋄ 7♥ J♠ 3♠ 5⋄.
A 2-2 double flush set is explored, as well as the probability for a gutshot straight to complete in the back row.
On the deal, you are first to act, and you set a 3-flush in the back row.
On the first pull, a club arrives, but it's an Ace, which you are hoping to pair in the middle to support
the potential KK front row, an 8-point royalty plus a trip to Fantasyland.
What are your odds to runner-runner a flush if you don't put the Ace in back?
With 9 flush outs and 9 cards to come, you are still 68% likely to hit runner-runner clubs and complete the flush.
If you use the Ace for the flush draw, your odds to complete are now 93%, but your chances to pair the middle-row Ace are reduced to
The following video shows how using the chart can be very handy during in-game play.
17-CARD FANTASYLAND v. PINEAPPLE
Pineapple OFC has become a very popular variant of Open Face Chinese, and a fun way to play is prop-bet style. Here's the
way it works: a player is dealt 17 cards for Fantasyland. The other player is dealt a normal Pineapple-OFC hand. The
Pineapple player is given a points handicap (agreed upon by the players) and the Fantasyland player tries to get over the handicap
and the Pineapple player under.
The handicap is good for the duration of the round, which could be one hand or multiple hands.
This video explains the mechanics in detail:
You can try this as a single prop bet or you can play an entire session this way.
Here is another simple prop: How many times in a row can you repeat Fantasyland with 17 cards? Qualifications to repeat are
trips in front and quads+ in back. Set an over/under and go. Here's a vid where I give it a go:
Pineapple is a variant of Open Face Chinese that is gaining in popularity. It can be played 2 or 3 handed. Each player
is dealt 5 cards face down, like in regular Open Face, but after that they get 3 cards at a time.
From the three cards they place 2 and discard 1 face down. This process is repeated three more times, each time the players receiving
3 cards, placing 2, and discarding 1. There is one card left in the deck in the 3-handed game; 51 cards are used (13 per player + 12 discards). Heads up,
34 cards are used (13 per player and 8 discards).
Since there are more cards to choose from, Pineapple is a higher-scoring variant of the game. Bigger hands are caught and Fantasyland
entered more often.
PINEAPPLE FANTASYLAND - There are many different rules in the many apps, home games, and online and land-based casinos. Some give QQ Fantasyland with 14 cards,
some KK with 15, some AA with 14. We recommend a variable-value Fantasyland requirement: getting to FL with QQ is 13-card FL,
getting there with KK is 14-card FL and AA+ is 15-card FL.
Multiple players can get to Fantasyland at the same time. Button does not move during the FL hand(s) as it is considered an
extension of the same hand. Requirements to stay in FL are generally quads+ in back or trips in front;
some games allow a middle-row boat to re-qualify - our suggestion is quads+ in middle if playing 15-card FL.
The middle row is changed to lowball. 10-high is the 'best' hand that doesn't foul; in other
words, any J, Q, K, A, pair or better is a foul. 65432, 76543 or any straights or flushes are also fouls. Examples of good middle rows:
T9732 / 96543 / 85432 / 76432
The middle row must fall into
the lowball range, and the back row must beat the front for the hand to be non-fouled.
Qualifications to get to Fantasyland are KK+ in the front row, or a perfect 75432 lowball middle.
Fantasyland is dealt 15 cards. Repeating Fantasyland requires quads+ in back, trips in front, or another perfect 75432 middle.
The lowball-middle requirements must be observed while in Fantasyland.