Recent Strategy Articles


We pick out a spot in tournament Stud-8 to talk odds, starting hand strength, and the concept of freerolling in a split-pot game.



First-five setting strategy for the lowball variation must be adjusted, and some early-game tactics that are slam-dunks in Pineapple OFC should be tossed out the window!



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)?



Pineapple OFC is rarely a game you can make decisions based on intuition. Here's a spot I went with my first instinct, but only after a quick math fact-check.



July 24, 2014 -- A street-by-street examination of an extended flush draw in Pineapple OFC. Often delayed gratification is worth it!



July 21, 2014 -- When you have the option to pair the middle row or complete your back row flush, when it is right or wrong to flush it out? Pineapple OFC.



Classification of QTTJJ, a Cannibal. Odds given to make full house with JJTT, as well as pairing the Q. Both Standard-OFC and Pineapple-OFC.



3 settings of 4 7 J 3 5. Is setting a gutshot in the back the best way to get value from this lowly-looking starting 5?



Warren Buffet says "risk comes from not knowing what you're doing". And in Pineapple-OFC, that means MATH. We did our homework and crushed this hand with AA on top.



3 settings of A56TA. You know how AA is 80% likely to beat 22 preflop in NLHE? Well, 1 in 5 times it doesn't - and that's exactly what happened with our 3-flush back row draw.



3 settings of Ad 8d 10c 2h 4h in lowball 2-7 Pineapple. With street-by-street analysis and scoring based on royalty equity, scoop equity and Fantasyland EV.



Standard OFC: Overvaluing small pairs in front Part II - scoop equity, royalty equity, & 'gamble E.V.'



Standard OFC: Beginner Strategy - A common mistake is overvaluing small pairs in the front row



Pineapple OFC: Taking an alternate line while in Fantasyland to improve your scoop equity.




Standard OFC



Standard OFC: That back row straight came in - but what was the math behind it?



Poker coach and author Derric Haynie talks about the complexities that make Open Face Chinese Poker a game for the future.



Standard OFC: Think twice before you set that back row monster....are you thinking vertically as well as horizontally? It's about overall hand strength.



Standard OFC: You're dealt a sorry first 5. Can a medium pair in front save the day? With front-row royalty equivalency facts that often escape attention.



Standard OFC: A key decision point on the bubble of an Open Face Chinese tournament, analyzed with pictures and percentages.



Standard OFC: 3 to the straight flush - it's sexy, alluring and fun. Should you go for it?



Standard OFC: An exploration of all scoring possibilities in heads up Open Face, with tips on improving PPH (points per hand) average.




Pineapple OFC Articles


3 settings of 4 7 J 3 5. Is setting a gutshot in the back the best way to get value from this lowly-looking starting 5?



Warren Buffet says "risk comes from not knowing what you're doing". And in Pineapple-OFC, that means MATH. We did our homework and crushed this hand with AA on top.




Pineapple OFC: Taking an alternate line while in Fantasyland to improve your scoop equity.



3 settings of Ad 8d 10c 2h 4h in lowball 2-7 Pineapple. With street-by-street analysis and scoring based on royalty equity, scoop equity and Fantasyland EV.



Pineapple OFC: Awww Yeah! Vegas Open Face takes on Open Face Odds in a heads up Pineapple match. Analyzed by both players.


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Pineapple OFC: Before carelessly discarding unwanted cards, consider whether you can create an illusion of good draws for your opponent.



Pineapple OFC: Vegas Open Face guest blogs with a blow-by-blow analysis of a live Pineapple Open Face hand.




OFC Theory



Standard OFC Theory: You are dealt 35667, out of position. How to think about setting your hand, not forgetting there's an elephant in the room -- 8's through J's. Introduction to array sorting.



Standard OFC Theory: Strategy analysis of set 1 of 35667, with array sorting, draw ranges, and 6th street probabilities examined.



OFC Theory: Did you know there are 7,462 unique starting hands in Open Face Chinese poker? Ok, great - now rank them.



OFC Theory: The "Cooperators": hands that can be split into complementary draw ranges within the total array of unknown cards.



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:

READ PART II HERE

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