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 -- Pineapple Open Face Strategy -- Categories: Pineapple, Fantasyland, Beginner



Two Cent Tips: Pineapple Fantasyland


December 21, 2014 -- Poker pro and chess champion Jen Shahade recently won the TonyBet $10k High Roller Pineapple OFC tournament held at the Prague World OFC Championships, and afterwards she talked about the importance of not making mistakes while in Fantasyland. [Read Jen's comments and more about the event at the Pokernews article HERE]

It seems like it would be hard to play Fantasyland wrong, since you can see all your cards at once, often can see your opponent's first-five set, and seemingly have very few decisions to make. Is this really the case? Pineapple OFC requires constant attention and good decision-making, and getting yourself into the right mode of thinking can help you be profitable no matter what the situation. To illustrate, let's look at this Fantasyland hand.



With only one flush, no trips for a full house or any straight, our hand is not a Fantasyland premium. However, the villain's hand shows a very weak start in the back row, and we have blockers to their making a straight or full house. We also have two of the middle-row Aces villain would need if they were to catch KK or JJ in front. Putting the Ace-high flush in the back looks like a sure winner there, and with a 6644 two-pair middle and an A-high front, a scoop plus royalties would yield 10 points. With the average Pineapple Fantasyland EV around 6-7 points, that is an acceptable outcome.

But is it possible to extract more value? A re-sort of the cards shows a 5-pair hand:



This feels like a weaker vertical set with the major exception that we can get AA up front. AA in the front scores 9 points, which is nearly as much as quads in back and more than a middle-row flush. With a scoop or opponent foul, we can expect 15 points, or about twice normal expected value. With the villain showing extreme weakness in the back row, plus our blockers, we should feel confident about the 5-pair set (meaning we only put two-pair in the back row). With this decision made, it is time for a another small but potentially important decision. It's obvious the Aces will go in front. But is it obvious how to set the remaining four pairs?

Should you set your back-row and middle-row pairs this way:



*OR* this way?



It may seem obvious (but may not if you aren't paying attenion) that 77 should go in the middle. It will rarely matter what secondary pair the back-row JJ has, but it could matter whether your middle-row top pair is 77 or 66.

When setting a five-pair hand, here is a rule of thumb for quick and optimal setting:

Front Row: TOP PAIR / top kicker
Middle Row: 3RD & 4TH PAIR / 2nd kicker
Back Row: 2ND & 5TH PAIR / 3rd kicker

A word on kickers: Two-pair kickers are less relevant as exact two-pair ties are extremely rare, but the front-row pair kicker IS important. This is an area easy to ignore when you're in a hurry or not paying attention. Optimally you will want to give your front-row pair your top loose kicker, especially when setting AA, KK or QQ (since your opponent will often be trying for those pairs).

The final set looks like this:



And, as surmised, villain ended up very weak in the back and we got the scoop +6 plus the AA +9 royalty for a total win of 15 points, a 50% value upgrade over the back-flush set.



Not making mistakes in Fantasyland is more involved than avoiding a mis-set of your hand. The example above illustrates three decisions that were made to strengthen our hand situationally and increase the chances of extracting max value from the villain:

1) The overall setting decision: back-row flush v. front-row AA
2) Paying attention to the pair pips, esp. in middle row
3) Setting the best kicker with the front-row pair.

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