Recent Strategy Articles

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

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.


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.

Two Cent Tips


March 13, 2014 - Part I covered setting small pairs early in the hand without proper backup. Now we will go over the same scenario, only later in the hand. This hand is heads up.

In this spot, the 3 of hearts could be set in the front to pair 3's. The rationale behind the play is usually one of the following:

1) Trying to win the front row
2) Trying for a scoop
3) Trying to avoid getting scooped
4) My opponent is going to foul, it's a freeroll

To help us understand why each one of these is incorrect, let's get the odds calculator out. The max number of outs left for a middle row pair after setting the 3 in front is 7. I will give the odds for 7 outs in this situation, as well as 6 and 5 outs, as it is likely that your opponent has one or two of your outs in their hand. The two percentages reflect in position/out of position.

Read Full Article Here

Two Cent Tips

March 6, 2014 -- With Pineapple OFC's exploding popularity, 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.


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?

Read Full Article Here

Rockin' The Boat


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 normally 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.

Read Full Article Here


The hand pictured contains an interesting decision I found myself facing during an Open Face Chinese tournament online. The image above shows the final result of the hand.



HU 1st to act

What to do with this collection of ..... well, trash?

It's a very nice thing when you are dealt a monster first five cards in Open Face Chinese Poker. Q/KK/AA, for example, is a coin flip for Fantasyland, and it's likely you'd wrap up the middle row with KK, where a single pair or even ace-high is often good. Alternatively, if you set x/Q/KKAA, you still have the same shot at pairing the Q, and about a 60% chance to make a nut full house in back.

Another good-looking first five cards is 4 to a flush, which has over an 85% shot to get there. Then, of course, there's your standard luckbox first five - a flush, boat, or quads in the hole - which will obviously be set in the back row giving you many options for filling out the middle and front.

But like in any other poker game, you are not always dealt the perfect hole cards. So how can you maximize value and/or control the damage from being way behind at the start of the hand?

The simple answer: front row pair royalties.


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