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)?
OFC Theory: The "Cannibals": Cards that merge draw and value ranges, adding to one row while simultaneously
subtracting from another.
Don't Rush the Flush - Part I
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.