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.
OPEN FACE ODDS -- Standard Open Face Strategy -- Categories: Beginner
Two Cent Tips
March 6, 2014 -- With the explosion of popularity surrounding the Pineapple variant of Open Face Chinese, we have been cranking out the
strategy around it. But as the recent L.A. Poker Classic illustrates, standard Open Face is still the tournament
game of choice. So if you haven't played a lot of Open Face and a home game or tournament is in your future, here's a
strategy series just for you -- "Two Cent Tips". We begin with a common early mistake.
OVERVALUING SMALL FRONT ROW PAIRS
One of the easiest ways to foul is to set a pair in front on the deal. It's
not always wrong, but without proper backing it can be disastrous. Here is an example of a risky set:
This is a typical beginner mistake. The intentions are good: a pair can often win the front row, and since
scooping all three rows scores 6 points, why not lock up the front right away?
THE MISTAKE: Runner-runner is needed to find a higher pair in the
middle row to unfoul, and with no overs to the 3's the probability of that happening is less than 20%
(odds are for heads up play in this example).
Yes, there are 8 cards coming your way, but
basically you're telling the poker gods that you'll specifically need a couple of 7's or another pair.
THE ADVICE: When setting any pair in the front or middle,
you generally want overs to the pair backing it up right away.
From the first-five set, one over has a probability of pairing up in the
mid-40%'s. Two live overs puts you into the low 70%'s.
THE MISTAKE: There are draw-blocker issues inherent in this setup.
Let's say you were dealt a 7 of diamonds on 6th street. Naturally that would go in the middle to support the 3's.
On a later street the Queen of spades comes as well, building your back row
flush draw. Now what if a 7 of spades hits you here on 10th street? This is a small dilemma, as the card improves either
the middle or back row, but can't be used in both places.
You could set the 7 in the middle to support the pair of 3's, but you'll need another spade in the
last three streets. If your opponent is holding 2 spades, a very likely scenario, you're talking about a coin flip.
If you complete the flush instead, odds then to pair the remaining
7 or 10 are in the low 40%'s -- and that's if all outs are live. If your opponent has 2 of the pair outs then the
probability dips to ~25%. Neither choice is particularly appealing.
THE ADVICE: Thinking through possible blocker problems before you set your first
five is a must if your play is to approach optimal. A rough sorting of the unknown card array in your mind's eye can be
a big help here. An example of this type of thinking is being cognizant that for any middle row pair draw
you're really looking at three outs per live card, rather than four, since spades are needed for the flush draw.
And of course there are only 3 outs remaining of each flush card already set - A, 8, and 9.
THE MISTAKE: What makes this play even worse is that 3's don't score any royalties.
If the pair was in the 8-J range the play might be more easily defended since 3-6 points could be scored. QQ of course
takes you to Fantasyland. But in either of these scenarios overs to the pair should be set as quickly as possible in the middle, preferably from the first-five set.
THE ADVICE: Don't paint yourself into a corner, or in this case, 'pair' yourself into
a corner. Setting 3's in front here guarantees you'll be swimming upstream against the flow of probability the entire hand.
Part II covers scoop equity, royalty equity, and why fouling and getting scooped are NOT the same: