OFC Theory: The "Cannibals": Cards that merge draw and value ranges, adding to one row while simultaneously
subtracting from another.
Two Cent Tips
OVERVALUING SMALL FRONT ROW PAIRS - Part II
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?