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.


On the deal, you are first to act, and you set a 3-flush in the back row. On the first pull, a club arrives, but it's an Ace, which you are hoping to pair in the middle to support the potential KK front row, an 8-point royalty plus a trip to Fantasyland.

What are your odds to runner-runner a flush if you don't put the Ace in back?

With 9 flush outs and 9 cards to come, you are still 68% likely to hit runner-runner clubs and complete the flush.

If you use the Ace for the flush draw, your odds to complete are now 93%, but your chances to pair the Ace are reduced to 43%.

To access Open Face Odds' Pineapple charts, visit our Downloads Page Here.


Pineapple Open Face Chinese odds are quite different from the standard variation. You've seen your opponents make crazy, 'magical' plays, because Pineapple is a crazy game right? Well, now you can use these charts in practice and games and you will begin to understand the math behind the 'magic'. Use this handy odds reference chart to improve your decision-making and watch your points per hand average rise!

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This chart covers:

* Up-and-down straight draw
* Gutshot straight draw
* Flush draw (4 to it)
* Runner-runner flush draw (3 to it)
* Two-pair-to-full-house
* Combo draw, e.g. straight flush draw
* Overs pairing: A to AA or AK to AAK / AKK
* Pair-plus-kicker-to-full-house or quads: 443 to 44333 or 44443
* Single to trips: J to JJJ

We will be putting together some strategy articles and videos using the charts, and those will be available soon. I can say that using the charts has been a tremendous help to my game, and has definitely changed my plays in some spots. If you are playing heads up Pineapple, I highly recommend it!

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.


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.


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:


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.

Barrel/Bluff Scenarios

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

4. Re-pops

5. Etc.

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.



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 options:

  • Call BB
  • Raise
  • Surrender/Fold
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 strategies

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'

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