OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER RULES and SCORING
Open Face Chinese Poker is a variant of 'regular' Chinese Poker.
In regular Chinese Poker, each player is dealt 13 cards 'in the hole'.
They then set the cards in three rows of poker hands.
For the hand to be set properly, the back row must be a stronger hand than the middle, and the middle stronger than the front,
as illustrated above. A full house in the back, two pair in the middle, and a pair in front is an example of a properly set hand.
If these rules are broken, however, the hand is considered fouled or misset (mis-set). Two pair in the back, a flush in the middle and a pair in
front is an example of a fouled/misset hand.
In Open Face Chinese Poker, each player is dealt only 5 cards 'in the hole'. They set these 5 cards
and then are dealt one card at a time until each player has received 13 total cards. The same row strength and fouling rules apply.
Players' front, middle and back rows are compared, and each row won is worth 1 point. If a player has won 2 of 3 rows,
they win a total of 1 point (1+1-1). Additional points are awarded for a 'scoop' and also for sub-hands (rows) that qualify for royalties.
SCOOP - If a player wins all three rows, they have 'scooped' the opponent and receive a three point bonus.
In total, scooping is worth 6 points: 1+1+1 for winning all three rows, and 3 for the scoop bonus.
TIES - An example of a common tie: player A wins two of three rows, e.g. the front and middle
with a pair of 66 in front, and player B wins the back row with a straight. player A wins 1 point for taking 2 of 3
rows plus the 1 point royalty for 66 in front, for a total of 2 points. Player B, however, is awarded 2 points for the back
row straight, and the scores cancel each other.
Another tie possibility happens rarely but will occur when, for example, player A wins one row, player B wins one row,
and both players have the same hand in the third row (885 in front, i.e.).
FOULING - The penalty for fouling is -6 points; in other words, an automatic scoop for the opponent if they have a properly
set hand. If a player has a QQ7 in front and QQ654 in the middle, this is a fouled hand. QQ7 in front and QQ982, however,
is a proper set and is not a foul. If both players foul, the hand is a tie at 0 points.
ROYALTIES - Any sub-hand (row) that qualifies for royalties also gets points in a properly set hand.
The royalty chart below shows the point values per
poker hand made. Typical royalties can be +4 for a back row flush, or +7 for a front row pair of Queens.
All royalties are paid, so if player A has a flush in the back row (+4 points) and player B has
a full house (+6 points), player A pays a net of +2 points to player B.
MULTI-WAY SCORING - When playing 3 or 4-handed, the first player dealt cards (first to act or under the gun)
settles with each successive player until all debts are paid. Then, second to act player settles with the others, and
so on. If a player fouls their hand, they automatically owe 6 points to each of the other players plus any royalties owed. Again, all royalties
in non-fouled hands are paid.
Back Row Royalties
6 Full House
10 Quads (4 of a kind)
15 Straight Flush
25 Royal Flush
Middle Row Royalties
2 Three of a Kind
12 Full House
20 Quads (4 of a kind)
30 Straight Flush
50 Royal Flush
Front Row Royalties (66+)
5 10 10
18 10 10 10
In many home games and some casino games, Fantasyland is an essential 'bonus' component to the game. You qualify to 'go to Fantasyland'
if you have QQ or better in the front (without fouling).
When a player goes to Fantasyland, they are dealt all thirteen cards at once, and they set their cards face down.
The other players are then dealt and play a normal hand. The button does not move for the Fantasyland hand -- it is considered an extension
of the same hand.
STAYING IN FANTASYLAND - Quads or better in the back row, Full House or better in the middle, or Trips in the front allows a player to
remain in Fantasyland in the Standard variation. Requirements are different for Pineapple; see below.
OPEN FACE CHINESE - POPULAR VARIATIONS
Turbo Open Face Chinese begins in the same manner as normal open face, with each player dealt 5 cards. After that, each player is dealt 4 cards at a time.
There are only 3 rounds of dealing: 5+4+4. All cards are set and scoring is the same as regular Open Face.
Pineapple is a variant of Open Face Chinese that 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.
A good hand:
A fouled hand:
Middle row royalties are as such:
10 high: 1 point
9 high: 2 points
8 high: 3 points
7 high: 4 points
Perfect lowball 75432: 6-10 points (house choice)
Compensation for losing the possible royalties of the middle row flush (8 points) or full house (12 points) is given
with the completion of the perfect lowball.
Qualifications to get to Fantasyland are KK+ in the front row, or a perfect 75432 lowball middle.
Fantasyland is dealt 14 or 15 cards, depending on the quality of the FL make: KK gives 14 cards, AA+ and the
75432 give 15. Repeating Fantasyland requires quads+ in back, or trips in front.
The lowball-middle requirements must be observed while in Fantasyland.