STRATEGY ARTICLES


OVERVALUING SMALL PAIRS IN FRONT PART II: EXPLAINING SCOOP EQUITY, ROYALTY EQUITY AND 'GAMBLE E.V.'


STANDARD OFC BEGINNER STRATEGY: OVERVALUING SMALL PAIRS IN FRONT


PINEAPPLE OFC: TAKING AN ALTERNATE LINE WHILE IN 14-CARD FANTASYLAND TO IMPROVE YOUR SCOOP EQUITY.


A KEY DECISION POINT ON THE BUBBLE OF AN OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER TOURNAMENT, ANALYZED WITH PICTURES AND PERCENTAGES.


STRATEGY ANALYSIS OF SET 1 OF 35667, WITH IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION OF ARRAY SORTING, DRAW RANGES, AND 6TH STREET PROBABILITIES.


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. INTRODUCING ARRAY SORTING.


POKER COACH AND AUTHOR DERRIC HAYNIE TALKS ABOUT THE COMPLEXITIES THAT MAKE OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER A GAME FOR THE FUTURE.


AWWWW YEAH! VEGAS OPEN FACE TAKES ON OPEN FACE ODDS IN A HEADS UP PINEAPPLE MATCH. ROUND 1 HAND ANALYSIS FROM BOTH SIDES!


THE "CANNIBALS": CARDS THAT MERGE DRAW AND VALUE RANGES, ADDING TO ONE ROW WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY SUBTRACTING FROM ANOTHER


VEGAS OPEN FACE GUEST BLOGS WITH A BLOW-BY-BLOW ANALYSIS OF A LIVE PINEAPPLE OPEN FACE HAND


THE "COOPERATORS": HANDS THAT CAN BE SPLIT INTO COMPLEMENTARY DRAW RANGES WITHIN THE TOTAL ARRAY OF UNKNOWN CARDS


DID YOU KNOW THERE ARE 7,462 UNIQUE STARTING HANDS IN OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER? OK, GREAT - NOW RANK THEM.


3 TO THE STRAIGHT FLUSH - IT'S SEXY, ALLURING AND FUN. SHOULD YOU GO FOR IT?


PINEAPPLE OPEN FACE - BEFORE CARELESSLY DISCARDING UNWANTED CARDS, CONSIDER WHETHER YOU CAN CREATE AN ILLUSION OF GOOD DRAWS FOR YOUR OPPONENT


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


THAT BACK ROW STRAIGHT CAME IN - BUT WHAT WAS THE MATH BEHIND IT?


AN EXPLORATION OF ALL SCORING POSSIBILITIES IN HEADS UP OPEN FACE, WITH TIPS ON IMPROVING PPH (POINTS PER HAND) AVG.


THINK TWICE BEFORE YOU SET THAT BACK ROW MONSTER.....ARE YOU THINKING VERTICALLY AS WELL AS HORIZONTALLY?



OPEN FACE ODDS

HEADS UP STRATEGY

Categories: Beginner Strategy, First Five, EV




CONTINUUM OF SCORING POTENTIAL



Remember when you were a kid and your mom or dad gave you financial advice in the form of these well-worn adages: "Save your pennies" and "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth?"

Well, as you make the leap from exploratory amateur to heads up grinder in Open Face Chinese Poker, those are concepts that will prove useful in the pursuit of profit. Another useful tool in that pursuit is Open Face Odds' Continuum of Scoring Potential.

It's true that scoring an Open Face Chinese hand takes a bit of getting used to. But most people are playing HU online, and since the apps take care of the heavy lifting in that department, it's tempting to focus on making your hand without considering the fine line between, say, a -1pt and a +2pt score. Instead of settling for passivity in this area, you might consider keeping the continuum below in mind at every major decision point to help you extract max value from your hand. Not all plans come together as intended, remember, and sometimes a -1pt loss is a win, especially if you have defended against a -10pt loss.

First, let's look at the Continuum. Then we'll revisit your parents' advice!



CONTINUUM OF SCORING POTENTIAL

These are the basic ways you can score, or be scored upon, in Heads Up Open Face Chinese Poker. [For convenience's sake, we have left out extreme longshot situations, like both players making quads in the back, having a royal flush in both the back and middle rows, etc. Hence the number ranges for possible royalties are what is typically possible, not what a James Bond film would portray.]

TIER 1:   "CONQUER AND DESTROY"

   Scoop and royalties, minus any cancelling royalties.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
+3 +3 +2 to +49 -2 to -6 +55 +10 to +19


TIER 2:   "CONQUER"

   Scoop with no royalties for either side.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Guarantee
+3 +3 0 0 +6 +6


TIER 3:   "DESTROY"

   Win 2/3 rows with royalties, minus any royalties for opponent.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
+1 0 +2 to +25 -2 to -6 +26 +3 to +7


TIER 4:   "DOMINATE"

   Win 2/3 rows, with no royalties for either side.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Guarantee
+1 0 0 0 +1 +1


TIER 5:   "DOMINATE, SORT OF"

   Lose 2/3 rows, make royalties, pay royalties.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
-1 0 +2 to +6 -2 to -6 -9 to +3 -5 to +1


TIER 6:   "MAXIMUM DEFEND"

   Lose 2/3 rows, but no royalties for opponent.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Guarantee
-1 0 0 0 -1 -1


TIER 7:   "MEDIUM DEFEND"

   Win 2/3 rows with no royalties, and pay royalties.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
+1 0 0 -2 to -25 -24 -1 to -5


TIER 8:   "MINIMUM DEFEND"

   Get scooped but make royalties.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
-3 -3 +2 to +6 -2 to -25 0 to -29 -2 to -10


TIER 9:   "RUN AWAY"

   Get scooped and pay out royalties.

Rows Scoop Royalty In Royalty Out Potential Typical
-3 -3 0 -2 to -49 -55 -10 to -19


Heads Up Open Face is less swingy than the 3 or 4-handed variants, and while it is less risky, it also forces you to be more frugal when seeking a profit edge. Heads up, royalties and scoops are paid out by a single opponent, not two or three. Likewise, you are only paying one opponent for your losses.

As the continuum illustrates, the range of points swapped back and forth per hand is fairly narrow. Hence, you will be looking for small edges over a large number of hands. Obviously you'd like to reach Tier 1 every single hand. But that is patently unrealistic, and value can be found in mid-game decisions. A firm grasp of the concept of "Hand Fluidity" (see Jason's article on the subject) can be the difference between being a winning player and a losing one. [If your point per hand (PPH) average is a mere 0.4 better than your opponent's, say 3.6 > 3.2, you profit $400 over 100 hands at $10/hand.] That mindset leads to making decisions like aiming for Tier 3 with conservative solid play if your plan A isn't coming together, rather than sticking to your original plan at all costs (including fouling your hand) and landing on Tier 9. You may not get the +29 point hand you were aiming for, but a +3 helps you keep your PPH average up. In other words, "Save your pennies".

One fact that is strikingly clear as you scan the continuum is how valuable the scoop is heads up. That doesn't mean that there aren't situations to be aggressive and intelligently gamble for extra royalties; however, a common mistake can be found in decisions throughout the hand that center around (a usually unrealistic) refusal to let certain draws go. The back and middle row double-flush is a typical example of this type of error. In this scenario you have an opportunity to close out a row for a win (pair your nine in the middle, e.g.) but by holding on to the draw, missing, and consequently missing the scoop, or even fouling, you can take a 20-point one-hand swing that is really unnecessary. By over-focusing on 'super high value' for every row of your hand, you can lose your point per hand edge. Is there really anything wrong with winning the back and middle rows, plus a back flush royalty? Not at all, especially if by getting greedy, you over-gambled and fouled. In other words, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth".

Good luck in the grind!

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