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?
Pineapple OFC has become a very popular variant of Open Face Chinese, and a fun way to play is prop-bet style. Here's the
way it works: a player is dealt 17 cards for Fantasyland. The other player is dealt a normal Pineapple-OFC hand. The
Pineapple player is given a points handicap (agreed upon by the players) and the Fantasyland player tries to get over the handicap
and the Pineapple player under.
The handicap is good for the duration of the round, which could be one hand or multiple hands.
This video explains the mechanics in detail:
You can try this as a single prop bet or you can play an entire session this way.
Here is another simple prop: How many times in a row can you repeat Fantasyland with 17 cards? Qualifications to repeat are
trips in front and quads+ in back. Set an over/under and go. Here's a vid where I give it a go:
February 11, 2014 -- Today's alt line features a Pineapple Open Face starting-five with a pair of Kings. Where should they go?
With QQ+ qualifying for Fantasyland, the KK would go in the middle. However, some rules require KK+ to qualify. Also
considered is the Fantasyland-defend, where you are setting against someone already in Fantasyland.
February 5, 2014 -- Today's alt line features a Pineapple hand with a starting 5 we classify as 'Cannibals'. A Cannibal card adds value to one
row's primary draw or EV while simultaneously subtracting value from another row. In this instance the Queen of hearts is
a cannibal, as it presents a somewhat difficult splitting option: with the other Queen as a pair for back row strength,
in a flush draw, or in front for Fantasyland. We will go over these 3 lines and see what kind of value they bring in.
Whereupon we introduce a new segment called "Alt Lines" -- ever wish you had been able to set a hand differently?
Look at a few departure points for the setting of the first five cards and observe how the hand unfolds in alternate lines.
With each line's total scoring value broken down into 3 components: Royalties, Scoop Equity, and Fantasyland EV.
Our first alt-line examines QQ553 in Pineapple OFC, illustrating just how easy it is to get to Fantasyland with certain
holdings, but also illuminating a stark contrast in scoring value between QQ and KK Fantasyland in this particular case.
Jan 18, 2014 - The past few weeks we have been busy bees over here at Open Face Odds, creating practice modules! Have
you tried one yet? The latest pages coming down through the pipe are for Turbo OFC and Pineapple Turbo.
TURBO OFC - in the turbo variant, you get your 5 cards as normal. But then you are dealt
4 at a time after that, and you set all 4 at once. You then receive 4 more and set those at once. Only three streets - the deal,
first pull, second pull! That's it. Try the module here:
PINEAPPLE TURBO OFC - Since we were thinking about Turbo, we thought we'd put together a mod for Pineapple too! In the Pineapple Turbo version
you get your first five, then 6 at a time (discarding two). Try it here:
OPEN FACE ODDS
Pineapple Open Face Strategy
January 14, 2014
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.
January 13, 2014 - Some refinement of the pot-limit concept, worked out in the wkend home game.
Regarding Hidden Information
We tried 2 of first 5 down, with 2 more down throughout the length of the hand, which seemed fine,
and that might suit some players. What we settled on ultimately was simply 2 cards (total) face down, at any point during the
hand, in any row, together or separately. That seemed to work nicely for the game flow. Is it enough hidden information? It
seemed like it. Between the two down cards per player (total 6), 12 discards, and betting with cards in hand (before setting),
there was quite a bit of hidden information. On the third pull, for example, there would be 2 discards already out per player,
typically at least one down card per player, and 3-6 hole cards in opponent hands (betting before setting), giving that betting
round ~30%-40% hidden information.
1. "Long Con" - setting something like 3-flush in back with one card face down (not the flush card), barreling hard throughout the hand but never actually getting there, but if you have AA in front and 333 mid, it sure looks like a scoop, that kind of thing
2. "You didn't catch ur card dude" - if your opponent catches a bad pull, barreling once or maybe emptying the clip
3. "River Monster" -- setting the river card(s) face down, pot-sizing it
Fantasyland Requirements and # of Cards
We used a variable-quality Fantasyland setup: If you qualify with QQ, you get 13 cards in FL. If you qualified with KK, then you
got 14, and AA got 15 FL cards.
Lots of interesting scenarios re: setting all first five face up, or with one down, or two, or when exactly to use your down cards.
PINEAPPLE OPEN FACE CHINESE - BETTING VARIANT
INTRODUCING POT-LIMIT PINEAPPLE OFC
We here at Open Face Odds have long thought there ought to be an OFC betting variant, and after some home-game tinkering, may we introduce, in beta,
Pot-Limit Pineapple Open Face Chinese Poker. For explanatory purposes, we will assume heads up:
Blinds are set at 1-2. First five cards are dealt, as in every other Open Face variation.
Before any cards are set face up, the OOP has the following
Once the action has been verbally declared and chips added to the pot, the IP has the option to respond (also while cards are still in the hole). So, for example,
if OOP calls, IP can check or raise. Once the betting actions have been completed, the game continues as in normal OFC and the OOP will
set their hand face up, followed by the IP set.
The first pull of 3 cards each is then dealt, at which point the betting actions repeat, following a pot-limit format. There are
4 pulls in all, so the betting rounds total 5: (The deal, pull 1, pull 2, pull 3, and pull 4). A hand may
be surrendered or folded at any time during the action, so long as the folding player pays out a surrender penalty, which for
baseline purposes we set at 6 points. Heads up, if the pot is 4 points, then the surrender would cost 4 (the folding player having
already contributed 2 points to the pot). If the pot is 8 points, the surrender would
cost 2. If the pot is 12 points or better, the surrender/fold is simply then the pot itself. Surrender prices would essentially double
in a 3-handed game.
If the action progresses all the way through the 4th pull and there is a showdown, the winner of the pot is declared according to
standard OFC points rules. So, regardless of whether player A beats player B by 1 point or by 14 points, the entire pot is taken down.
The 1-6 scoring system provides the means to declare a winner, i.e. if player A wins 2 of three rows with no royalties for
either player, player A wins the hand by 1 point and takes down the pot. All royalties would factor into the points total, as all current variations are already
set up to do.
In a brief home-game experiment, we found this system to work well. Regarding Fantasyland, a bigger sample size is needed for the
mechanics, which could, in theory, follow exactly the same betting pattern, but with one player already knowing their hand
structure. We are suggesting a 12-point surrender penalty for FL.
Could the betting variation work in standard 4-handed Open Face? Absolutely. We chose Pineapple to experiment with because it seems
like a natural fit for multi-street betting, similar in flow to PLO or Stud.
No-betting OFC appears to be a holdover remnant of standard Chinese Poker (the one where you get all 13 cards at once).
There's no reason betting can't be assimilated into Open Face.
The 1-6 OFC point-scoring system is sufficient to declare a winner
With betting, massive pot sizes can be created, similar to PLO
Pineapple OFC will flow more quickly at the table than Standard OFC
Bluffing is now a relevant and useful skill
More importance can now be assigned to what is a 'premium' OFC starting hand
It is possible to get to Fantasyland while simultaneously losing the pot, which will influence overall hand-strength
More hidden information could be incorporated by some face-down setting, i.e. set 3 of first 5 up and 2 down, and 1 of next
2 face down (suggested by Pocket Rockets Casino online)
Yes, you potentially could get your stack in 'AIPF'
Practice makes Perfect! Use our beta trainer to practice your Pineapple OFC sets - and see what quality of cards a 14-card
OR 15-card Fantasyland opponent will typically have. Click the links below to jump into either sandbox!