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Open Face Chinese Poker Hand Analysis

In the last strategy article we discussed options for building your hands in Open Face Chinese Poker. This time let’s try and go through an entire hand from the start until the very end. The hand we’re going to analyse was played on TonyBet Poker at a low stakes table.

First Five Cards

OFC Hand Analysis - First Five Cards

A huge advantage in this situation is that we’re in position. Let’s take a look at what our opponents have. The player “AAlien” was the first to act and decided to play aggressively although he had no information on his opponents. In this case his play is not so bad, but he does have a big chance of fouling. He has two diamonds and doesn’t know how many the other two players will get.

Also his middle hand is very weak – if he had an Ace or a King, he would be in a much better position. In his place we would choose Q♣ Q♠ 7♠ in the bottom and 2♦ 9♦ in the middle. The reason for such passive play is very simple – we have no information on the opponents’ cards.

When looking at the second player, we see one fundamental mistake that OFC poker players often make. He didn’t get a strong combination out of his first five cards. Let’s look into it in more detail.

All of his cards are alive as well as all the hearts, should he decide to play them. And, of course, he has a King with the remaining three still in the deck. So what would we do in this player’s place?

First of all, we see two Queens up top in first player’s hand, so that makes sense to put our King on top, due to a low chance of collecting two Queens and going into the Fantasy Land (should we put King in the middle). Another reason to put the King on top is that all the Aces are still alive which could make up for a safe middle with A, A and K, K up top.

Another big argument for such move is that we would get +8 points for Kings and the possibility to scoop the player with Queens. In the middle we would choose two of our lower live cards – 4 and 3 for the possibility of making a two pair or a straight. For the bottom our choice would be 7 and J with the possibility to collect a bigger two pair, a flush or even a less likely straight.

When we look at how the second player managed his cards we could see that he used the traditional OFC game strategy where the top row is not so important which can only mean that he doesn’t know much about Pineapple. So we have one aggressive player and one weaker opponent which makes it a great table.

Now let’s move on to our hand. Not only do we have position but we also have a monster hand. Once again the important thing is that we have an Ace and the remaining three are still in the deck. This gives us a very good reason to put it in the middle with a good chance of playing it safe with Kings up top. It is very likely that our hand would also be better than both of our opponents’ and we would have a good chance to scoop them. We leave J♦ T♦ in the bottom for a possible flush, a straight, or a two pair.

Round Two

OFC Hand Analysis - Round Two

In the second round and we get three more cards with one to discard, but before thinking about our actions let’s see how our opponents did. The first player saw that there’s a little chance of making a flush with 5 diamonds already in other players’ hands and decided to go for a pair in the bottom and a live card in the middle. His line is straight forward – he wants to not foul and go for a Fantasy.

The second player made more mistakes – J♠ in the bottom is a standard decision, but an Ace in the top row is not smart. The problem with his hand is that he chose a bad line at the very beginning. This shows that this player is less experienced and doesn’t plan in advance.  A bad thing for us though is that the second guy has our outs – an Ace and a Jack. This leaves us with just two Aces and one Jack in the deck.

However, we get perfect cards. We’re going to put our Ace in the middle and secure Kings on top. We will also put the ten in the bottom making things easy – we only need to make another pair at the bottom to successfully guarantee +8 points for Kings and a path to the Fantasy Land.

Round Three

OFC Hand Analysis - Round Three

Thanks to the power of position we again see what our opponents got and how they put their cards. Let’s discuss their actions.

The first opponent decided to put 7♦ in the middle and 8♣ up top. It’s very important to consider what card he could’ve discarded as well. A strange move was to put an absolutely live card (8) up top, when he could’ve easily put it in the middle and try to make two pair with lots of outs. Now he needs to draw a 3 or a lower pair than nines, because the card at the bottom is a 9. By choosing to put the 8 on top he increases his chances of fouling – not a very good decision for him, very good for us.

The second opponent makes no mistakes this time. Of course his draw was very good and it’s hard to make bad choices in this situation. Jack in the bottom for trips and a possibility to make a full house (only one out) and a pair in the middle is nice.

This player started the hand by making a lot of mistakes, but now his hand is safe. If the first player fouls (most likely) he’ll have +6 points from him not taking additional bonuses into consideration. It’s also unlikely he will lose all rows to us given he already has trips in the bottom and it would be very hard for us to do better.

The most important thing for our hand is that we need to improve the bottom row in order not to foul. With the second opponent having three Jacks we need to put another live card there, because we only have two live tens left. Let’s take a look what we’ve got – only one Queen left – not an option. Only two sixes and 3 live fives - perfect. Let’s put that live card and increase our chances of making at least a two pair.

We can’t and don’t need to improve in the top row, so we could put any other card there – doesn’t make a difference except for the fact that the other players will see this card and count their outs accordingly.

After this round we’re in a good shape – two rounds to go and we are feeling comfortable with only one weak spot in the hand with some outs. We will get 6 more cards and we need at least one of five outs (T, T, 5, 5, 5). Of course, there’s big chance that our first opponent will foul – he needs one of his five outs in the bottom and to improve the middle where he has only two outs (3, 3). There’s a possibility that he will draw a pair in the middle, but this pair has to be lower than the second pair on the bottom.

Round Four

OFC Hand Analysis - Round Four

One more round and our first opponent draws his three. If he wouldn’t get it his situation would be very complicated. Meanwhile the second player makes a traditional newbie mistake, he puts his cards without looking into other players’ hands. He has A, 3, 3 on top, but it doesn’t matter – he could put A, 2, 3 as well because a pair of threes doesn’t have any royalties and he still loses to us and the first player. So he needs to have another plan.

Let’s not forget that there is still one Ace alive, so if the second player could draw it in the last round he would not only get +9 points and win against both of his opponents, but would also get the chance to make it to Fantasy Land. So by blocking his top row he loses the opportunity to make a winning hand.

Some players may argue, that he leaves the possibility for making two full houses, but this is very unlikely – the number of outs is just too small. Hi only has one out in the bottom – a King (when the player placed his cards he didn’t see ours) and only two outs in the middle. However, in order to fill it and make it +12 points he needs that King on the bottom first.

Meanwhile we draw perfect. We now have two pair in the bottom and a guarantee of a safe hand. We still loose to the second player’s bottom and middle rows, but our Kings up top and Fantasyland will be more than enough. There’s a big chance that the first player will foul which would give us +14 points plus Fantasyland.

So the 5♠ goes to the bottom. What should we put in the middle? We need a card that would not ruin our plan, because we will need to put our last two cards there. So the crucial thing is to choose the card which has less outs in order to prevent making higher two pair in the middle compared to the bottom.

Final Round

OFC Hand Analysis - Final Round

The first opponent gets lucky and draws not just one, but two of the cards he needed so bad. He wins over both of his opponents and gets additional +6 points. He risked too much, but got lucky – sometimes that happens. The second opponent couldn’t improve, but he could make a mistake by putting the 4♥ in the middle. It looks impossible, but you can see a lot of mistakes in low limit stakes. Next step – let’s count the points.

The points are displayed in a very clear manner – you can easily see who wins which row, how many points each player receives for royalties and how much in total.

To sum up the hand we can say that our start was very good, but later our opponents improved and we ended up with only +1 point in total. However, there’s no time for grief – the first opponent got really lucky so in the long run we will still make profit from him.

Let’s start our Fantasy!

Fantasyland (FL) is a bonus round for not fouling a hand and having at least pair of Queens on top. In this case both we and our first opponent made FL. We now receive all 14 cards at the same time and need to place them on all rows and discard only one of them. This gives us a huge advantage over the player who places his cards regularly without the ability to see our cards.

OFC Hand Analysis - Fantasyland

We made a very good hand in Fantasyland while the first player who also made into FL came up with weaker combinations in all rows allowing us to collect extra +3 points from him. We should’ve earned more money after this hand, but unfortunately the second player didn’t have enough cash.


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