Recent Strategy Articles


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 probabilities.



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.

Don't Rush the Flush - Part I



July 21, 2014 -- ABC app creator Nikolai Yakovenko tweeted out the following Pineapple Open Face spot the other day:



Response was varied, with some saying complete the flush, and some saying pair the 8's. But is there an optimal way to play this spot?

Flushing the back here allows for a middle-row flush draw 85cc. It also completes the back row flush and 4 point royalty, adding equity to the hand. On the other side of the argument, pairing the 8's in the middle and adding the kicker 5 or J allows for a two-pair-or-better middle, opening the door to a big-pair, Fantasyland-inducing front row.

So what are the odds and strategy for either play?

A) PAIR THE MIDDLE: If the flush is denied here and 885 or 88J is set in the middle, the flush still is completed 90% of the time, 90% being the equivalent of a slam dunk in poker. Remember there are still 9 cards to come, with 8 live diamonds. Additionally, the chance to two-pair the middle is 75%, with a 41% chance to hit trip 8's for a +2 royalty. Setting the pair also takes a big lead in the middle row, adding scoop equity to the equation.

B) FLUSH IT OUT: If, on the other hand, you complete the flush here and set 85cc in the middle, you are well under 50% to draw the 3 clubs you need to complete the 2nd flush. And now 2-pairing the middle is only ~30% likely to happen, drawing to runner-runner 8's and 5's, and trips is now 13% at best, drawing to the 555 set.

THE ANSWER IS A: You lose ~45% middle row and scoop equity as well as 28% middle-row-trips equity, to gain a 10% likelihood in completing the back row flush. Even if you look at the opponent board and see they're in a tough spot and likely to foul (so why not get greedy and go for the middle row flush), you're giving up a lot of potential Fantasyland EV by not setting the pair. There's no guarantee you'll catch QQ or AA in the front, but it's even less likely you'll catch those cards AND make your middle row flush (remember also that any A or Q of clubs would probably go into the flush draw).

After looking at the math, it's a clear case to pair the 8's in the middle.

In other words, don't rush the flush!

If you'd like your very own set of heads up and 3-handed Pineapple odds charts, you can purchase them here for a couple bucks: PINEAPPLE OFC CHARTS

And, if you haven't given the ABC app a try yet, you can find it in the Apple app store here: ABC CHINESE POKER APP




Cracking the Pineapple


"Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing."
-- Warren Buffet, billionaire

"Pineapple OFC wouldn't be so popular if it were more appropriately named Math"
--Richard Lyndaker, poker player (Twitter)




April 29, 2014 -- Alas, it is true. To play Pineapple OFC well, you must know your probabilities. There's just no other way around it. The witticism in Mr. Lyndaker's tweet cleverly sums up the mathematical reality behind the game, one that ties in appropriately to the Oracle of Omaha's quote:

You either know what you're doing, or you don't.

What that means in Pineapple is knowing your odds. Sure, Pineapple is fun, it's sick, swingy and crazy, you get lots of cards, big hands are always around the corner, gambles often pay off, and Fantasyland is always in play. All of that is true, and that's part of what makes the game exciting. But behind the curtain, it's draw poker, and that means math. Knowing your numbers is going to give you an edge, not only for your hand's trajectory, but it also gives you an understanding of how much risk your opponent is putting themselves in.

I recently played a hand online that perfectly illustrates how knowing one's exact odds can be helpful, and also how NOT knowing (or caring about) them can quickly make you a loser. Out of position on the second pull, I am dealt AQ3, and I've got a decision to make. I'd like to pair Aces in front for a 9 point royalty and a trip to Fantasyland. With 10's already set in the middle with a few unders to a QQ8 back row, I feel I can make this work. However, I'd like to know my exact odds to unfoul before I take that route. Here is the situation before setting:



I don't have a fancy odds calculator to plug in the scenario, nor do I have time to do so. But I have done my math homework, and I know my basic probabilities here.





Alt Lines





May 13, 2014 -- This edition of "Alt Lines" takes a look at 3 different settings of 4 7 J 3 5. A 2-2 double flush set is explored, as well as the probability for a gutshot straight to complete in the back row.





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.

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.

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?

Read Full Article Here




Rockin' The Boat



14-CARD FANTASYLAND


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




DECISION ON 12TH STREET



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.

CLICK OR TAP *HERE* TO READ FULL ARTICLE




PURE TRASH


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.

CLICK OR TAP *HERE* TO READ FULL ARTICLE


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