Recent Strategy Articles

July 24, 2014 -- A street-by-street examination of an extended flush draw in Pineapple OFC. Often delayed gratification is worth it!

July 21, 2014 -- When you have the option to pair the middle row or complete your back row flush, when it is right or wrong to flush it out? Pineapple OFC.

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.

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.


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!


April 6, 2014 -- This Alt Line analyzes 3 different sets of the hand pictured below. The starting 5 cards are classified as semi-cooperators, and cooperate they did (except in one set, showing in this instance the risk of playing too conservatively in Pineapple OFC).

See full article here

As in the all the Alt Line series, hand scoring is broken down into royalty equity, scoop equity, and Fantasyland EV.


We've put together a number of training modules you can use for practicing various situations in Pineapple OFC. All modules are currently heads up, although 3-handed support will be added shortly. Whether you'd like to practice setting your hands for max value, avoiding fouling, against a Fantasyland hand, or practice a quick Fantasyland set, here are our free modules:


Use this training module for heads up Pineapple.


Practice setting against 14-card Fantasyland.


Practice setting against 15-card Fantasyland.


Practice setting 14-card Fantasyland & see how it holds up v. Pineapple hand.

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.

Open Face Chinese Poker: Starting Hand Anatomy

Hand: 9966A
Type: 2-Pair
Class: Cooperators

This hand type is 2-Pair subtype Rainbow. All rainbow hands will contain two of one suit; in this case the suited cards are mostly irrelevant to hand's structure, 2-pair most often being set in the back row to draw to a full house royalty.

The hand falls into the class Cooperators, as it adheres to the requirements of seamlessly splitting into two or more rows whose improvement draws originate from separate ranges within the array of unknown cards. The back row's primary draw is the remaining 9966 to complete the full house, while the kicker A♥ can be comfortably set in another row, with a primary draw range of AAA. But in this case the kicker also enjoys unimpeded secondary draws to a straight in either direction (A2345 or AKQJT). Thus the hand is put in the subclass Full Cooperators, as the two pairs do not get in the way of the kicker's draws, and vice versa.


March 31, 2014 -- Last night's Open Face Chinese session went down 3-handed, and featured these variations in a dealer's choice rotation:
  • Pineapple
  • Pineapple 2-7
  • Turbo Pineapple
  • Turbo Pineapple 2-7
  • Catch-44 (see last week's post for rules)
  • Catch-44 2-7
  • Turbo
  • Turbo 2-7
As you can see, 2-7 was the new addition to the mix. This variation features a lowball middle, with KK+ to qualify for Fantasyland. The middle must be 10 or better, and a perfect 75432 takes you to Fantasyland as well. Fantasyland was dealt 14 or 15 cards, depending on the quality of the FL make: KK gives 14 cards, AA+ and the 75432 give 15. Fantasyland repeats are the same as Pineapple: trips in front or quads+ in back (lowball middle must be placed while in FL).

9-high middle is worth 1 point, 8-high is 2, 7-high is 4 points, and we gave 6 points for the 75432. Since you lose the flush and boat royalties with the introduction of the lowball middle, some compensation was given. We considered a 10-point royalty for the perfect lowball, but it seemed to hit very often so we settled on 6 points, the same score as a back row full house, or JJ up front. In our rules section we have put it in as a flexible 6-10 points to be decided on by individual house rules.

Oh yeah, and the worst Fantasyland we've ever seen!

We play variable-value Fantasyland for all Pineapple games, so QQ gets you 13 cards, KK-14 and AA-15. Needless to say, this hand didn't fare very well.


March 24, 2014 -- Last night saw a 3-handed Open Face Chinese mix at the OFO house game, with the following variations in rotation, selected by dealer's choice:

  • STANDARD: The 'original' version, dealt 5-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
  • TURBO: Dealt 5-4-4 (set all cards)
  • SEMI-TURBO: Dealt 5-2-2-2-2 (set all cards)
  • PINEAPPLE: Dealt 5-3-3-3-3 (discard 1 of 3 post-deal)
  • PINEAPPLE TURBO: Dealt 5-6-6 (discard 2 of 6 post-deal)
  • *PINEAPPLE SEMI-TURBO or **CATCH-44: Dealt 4-4-4-4 (set the first four, discard 1 of 4 post-deal)
*Invented by the OFO research team **named by Q-Tip Josh.

Variable-value Fantasyland was used in each game, so QQ got you 13-card Fantasyland, KK 14 and AA+ 15.

Catch-44 was a popular choice throughout the evening, as were Pineapple and Turbo.

The following variations are available in play-practice modules on Open Face Odds:

Stay tuned because we will be creating Semi-Turbo and Catch-44 play modules soon.


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.

See full article here


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:


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Content copyright 2013-14 by Open Face Odds.