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)?
Now that Pineapple Open Face is becoming a popular variant of the game, there is going to be a lot more attention
paid to Fantasyland. Why is that? It's easier to get there. In Pineapple you receive 17 cards, setting 13 as in the
normal version but discarding 4. You simply have more choices and line options, and more monsters are spawned. Consequently,
you will be in Fantasyland more frequently, as well as playing against opponents who are in Fantasyland more frequently. Simultaneous
trips to Fantasyland will occur surprisingly often (surprising, I suppose, if what you're used to is standard OFC).
The above Fantasyland hand presents an interesting situation. If you scan the cards you will see there is a full house
and a flush available. And, as you would naturally be setting a boat in back and flush in the middle during the course
of play when you are not in Fantasyland, it is a natural tendency to auto-set this way:
As 14-card FL goes, this set is barely medium strength, especially against another player in Fantasyland. The back row boat is likely to win against non-FL players,
and the middle row K-high flush is likely good against either FL or non-FL. The royalties from the boat+flush scenario against non-FL could be up to
14 points per opponent (back row boat scoring 6 pts and middle flush 8). However, there is a glaring weakness to the set which is
quite obviously the 7-high front row.
A front this weak can easily destroy scoring EV. For one thing, it eliminates any positive scoop equity (up to 12 points).
7-high will almost never win against any opponent except perhaps a bad AI. Secondly, considering how frequently full houses
are made in Pineapple, your 6 point back row royalty is easily countered. The middle row flush looks like a nice pickup, and
is really the only redeeming value of this set (and buffer against getting scooped), but considering the lack of face cards in the hand, it is reasonable to assume a
villain could pick up a big pair in front, which essentially cancels out the 8 point royalty, as JJ-AA would give them 6-9 points. It is
also not unreasonable to speculate that they might straight-flush, say, A-5 of clubs, in which case your
14-point pickup is completely counteracted. And, in the (somewhat but not that unlikely) event of being scooped by two opponents, the 7-high front row
is a huge leak. The difference in scooping or being scooped is a 24-point swing (not counting royalties!).
Your best hope for this set is for your opponent(s) to foul. While opponent fouling occurs somewhat frequently, you
certainly can't rely on it, and hoping someone plays poorly or runs bad isn't exactly a plan. So to hedge against a negative
FL return, it's necessary to "Rock the Boat" - split your full house into separate royalty components:
By splitting up the boat into 10's in front and trips in the middle (supported now by the K-high back row
flush), you are not only in a safer place against a monster hand or front row broadway pair, but you increase your scoop equity as well.
This setting is much less likely
to be scooped by a solid player, decreasing the "negative scoop" likelihood (scoop-) while simultaneously
increasing your scoop likelihood against an aggressive player (scoop+).
It is a common tendency for some non-Fantasyland players to go for
monsters to counteract your FL EV, and you can see a 'create a monster/get to FL or die' mentality, which is not only higher
risk but often creates a weaker back row (and, hence, a weaker middle) as the player is focused mainly
on setting QQ-AA in front, leading to a lot of two-pair two-pair scenarios as well as other inferior back and middle row
holdings. And when they miss the front-row broadway pair, their hand is often scooped by this setting.
Back Row: K-high flush has strong value against the player aggressively
pursuing the FL line, as it is frequently up against two-pair, trips, straights and inferior
flushes. Additionally it only gives up 2 points in equity vs. a full house.
Middle Row: The loss of the middle row
8 point flush royalty is nearly made up by the trips + 10's (2 + 5 = 7 points). Middle row trip 9's is also
a frequent winner, improving scoop equity.
Front Row: 10's provide royalty and scoop equity, especially against opponent front row
Fantasyland misses, i.e. KQx or AKx. The 5 point royalty also acts as a buffer against an opponent's broadway pair.
Note: this play only makes sense because of the scoring value of 10's.
If it was a pair of 2's no royalty equity is accrued, the play wouldn't replace the middle row flush value, and is only adding scoop equity in the case of villain's
Fantasyland miss in front.
All in all, you are giving up about 3 points in royalty equity per player in the case of opponent fouls,
but you're gaining up to 12 points in scoop equity per player.
It's not always easy to see or make these decisions quickly when you're on the clock, as you frequently are online, which is why
we've created training modules where you can practice your sets and see results against other hands.
To practice this very situation, you can try our practice module here: