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Open Face Chinese Poker Rules

By , Rakeback.com Staff Writer

How to Play Hand Structure Fouling Scoring Tips Royalties Video Fantasyland Odds Variants

How to Play Open Face Chinese: Instructions

A variation of Chinese Poker called Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC) has been spreading wildly across the world. Rakeback.com room Tonybet Poker is the first site to offer it online. In OFC the basic gameplay is as follows:

  • Each player is dealt five cards initially.

Open Face Chinese Poker Setup - Initial Five Cards Dealt

  • These cards are set in either the front, middle or back hands in any way the player sees fit.

Open Face Chinese Poker Setup - Front, Middle & Back Hands

  • Play continues in rounds with each player being dealt one card at a time and placing that card in any available hand.

Open Face Chinese Poker Setup - One Card Dealt at a Time

  • Play rotates clockwise with the ‘under the gun‘ player always revealing his cards first. This process is repeated until all players have been dealt 13 total cards.

Open Face Chinese Poker Setup - 13 Cards Dealt to each Player

  • The hands and royalties are scored and each player settles with the other players. Rules for fouling a hand are the same as traditional Chinese Poker.

Open Face Chinese Poker Setup - Fouling & Royalties

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Hand Structure in Open Face Chinese

In both traditional Chinese Poker and Open Face, players will look at their cards and begin setting up three different poker hands:

  • A three card hand, known as the Front
  • A five card hand, known as the Middle
  • Another five card hand known as the Back

For a hand to be valid, the back hand must be the strongest of the three hands in accordance with traditional poker hand rankings.  The middle hand must be of a lower rank than the back hand, but higher than the front hand.  The front hand must be the lowest strength. A valid hand would look like:

  • Front – 2 2 7 (Pair of Twos)
  • Middle – A A 4 4 J (Two pairs: Aces & Fours)
  • Back – 8 9 T J Q (Straight)

Fouling in Open Face Chinese

If the order of strength does not go front to back, weakest to strongest, it is called a fouled hand. For example:

  • Front - 2 2 7 (Pair of Twos)
  • Middle -  K K 3 3 9 (Two Pairs: Kings & Threes)
  • Back - Q Q 8 8 J (Two Pair: Queens & Eights)

Scoring in Open Face Chinese

Once all three hands have been set, players will compare front, middle and back hands.  Each hand is worth one point. If one player has won two of the three hands they will score 1 point (winning two points and losing one for a net of +1 points).  More points can be earned if the player wins all three hands, known as scooping.  Players can also earn points by making high ranking hands known as royalties.

A player scoops the hand by winning all three showdowns with their front, middle, and back holdings. The player is awarded one point for each showdown won, and three bonus points for scooping for a total of six points.

When a player has fouled their hand, it counts as an automatic scoop and is worth six points. If both players have fouled their hand, the game is considered a tie.

 

Top 5 Open Face Beginner Tips

1.  Putting big pairs in front is risky.  Make sure the reward justifies the risk.  QQ, KK, and AA are good pairs to take a shot with since making the hand will send you into Fantasyland.  JJ and lower will not get you the bonus and it creates a high chance of fouling.

2. Pay attention to your opponent to gain value.  In OFC, seeing a high probability of your opponent fouling allows you to play conservatively without giving up much in value.

3. Avoid longshots. When you need two cards to make a hand (known as runner-runner) your chance of making it becomes very slim. Trying to catch on two different hands (your back and middle for instance) is more problematic then just trying to catch for one hand.  Managing your set so that you do not need to catch running cards is crucial for success.

4. Stick to your hand plan, man. If you are drawing to a hand on the deal (by getting 4 cards to a straight or flush) and setting the draw accordingly, you must play the rest of the hand on the assumption you are going to catch.  Being indecisive and making “makeshift” hands out of your draws is costly.  This also demonstrates again how setting the hand on the deal is very important.

5. Like in Seven Card Stud, you must learn to count dead cards.  Nothing is worse than going for an up and down straight draw when you can see half of your outs are in play.  A basic rule of thumb would be not to chase after a draw unless you have six live outs or more.

 

Royalties Chart

Front, middle and back rows may earn points for making certain hands as long as the hand does not foul.  The type of royalties and how much they are worth varies from game to game. Below is one common scoring chart:

Open Face Chinese Poker Royalties Chart
All royalties must be settled regardless of who won that hand. Download our royalties chart as a .pdf here.

Example: If Player 1 had three of a kind (worth 2 units) in the middle, while Player 2 had a straight (worth 4 points) in the middle, Player 2 wins 2 points only (4-2).

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Multi Player Scoring

In a game with more than two players, scores are settled by position.  The player under the gun will settle with each player in a clockwise order.  The player to the left of the under the gun player will then settle their debts. This continues until are players have paid.

If a player fouls in a multi-player game, that player will pay 6 units to each player plus any royalties on hands that have not fouled.

Open Face Chinese Poker - Fast Facts 
Odds to hit a starting 4 Flush 84% Odds to dealt a pat full house 1 in 694
Odds to hit a starting open-ended straight draw 84% Odds to be dealt QQ or higher 17.4%

How to Play Open Face Chinese Poker - Video

See a complete hand played out heads up, and how the scoring works at showdown.

Fantasyland

Fantasyland is a type of ‘bonus round’ in Chinese Poker.  A player may enter Fantasyland when they have made a pair of Queens or better in the front hand without fouling.

Entering Fantasyland means that on the next hand, they receive all 13 cards at once. They make all three hands at once, a huge advantage as they'll be able to see if they hit any straights or flushes in advance, and lay cards perfectly without any risk of fouling.

Other players play as normal, with just one card dealt at a time. The button does not move during Fantasyland - this is considered a continuation on the previous hand.  

A player may stay in Fantasyland (and receive the same advantage next hand) if they make any of the following hands:

  • Three of a kind in the front
  • Full House or better in the middle
  • Four of a Kind or better in the back

More than one player may be in Fantasyland at the same time, and players may enter Fantasyland during the Fantasyland hand of another player by having QQ+ in their front hand.

Heads Up OFC Odds Charts

2nd to Act HU Odds

Outs

8 draws left

7 draws left

6 draws left

5 draws left

4 draws left

3 draws left

2 draws left

1 draw left

1

20%

18%

16%

14%

12%

10%

7%

4%

2

36%

33%

30%

27%

23%

19%

14%

7%

3

49%

46%

42%

38%

33%

27%

20%

11%

4

60%

56%

52%

48%

42%

35%

26%

15%

5

68%

65%

61%

56%

50%

42%

32%

19%

6

75%

72%

68%

63%

57%

49%

38%

22%

7

81%

78%

74%

70%

63%

55%

43%

26%

8

85%

83%

80%

75%

69%

61%

48%

30%

9

89%

87%

84%

80%

74%

66%

53%

33%

10

92%

90%

87%

84%

78%

70%

58%

37%

11

94%

92%

90%

87%

82%

75%

62%

41%

12

96%

94%

92%

90%

85%

78%

67%

44%

13

97%

96%

94%

92%

88%

82%

70%

48%

14

98%

97%

96%

94%

91%

85%

74%

52%

15

98%

98%

97%

95%

93%

88%

78%

56%

16

99%

98%

98%

96%

94%

90%

81%

59%

17

99%

99%

98%

97%

96%

92%

84%

63%

18

99%

99%

99%

98%

97%

94%

86%

67%

1st to Act HU Odds

Outs

8 draws left

7 draws left

6 draws left

5 draws left

4 draws left

3 draws left

2 draws left

1 draw left

1

19%

18%

16%

14%

12%

9%

7%

4%

2

35%

32%

29%

26%

22%

18%

13%

7%

3

48%

45%

41%

37%

32%

26%

19%

11%

4

59%

55%

51%

47%

41%

34%

25%

14%

5

67%

64%

60%

55%

49%

41%

31%

18%

6

74%

71%

67%

62%

56%

48%

37%

21%

7

80%

77%

73%

68%

62%

54%

42%

25%

8

85%

82%

78%

74%

68%

59%

47%

29%

9

88%

86%

83%

79%

73%

64%

52%

32%

10

91%

89%

86%

83%

77%

69%

56%

36%

11

93%

92%

89%

86%

81%

73%

61%

39%

12

95%

94%

92%

89%

84%

77%

65%

43%

13

96%

95%

94%

91%

87%

80%

69%

46%

14

97%

96%

95%

93%

90%

84%

72%

50%

15

98%

97%

96%

95%

92%

86%

76%

54%

16

99%

98%

97%

96%

93%

89%

79%

57%

17

99%

99%

98%

97%

95%

91%

82%

61%

18

99%

99%

99%

98%

96%

93%

85%

64%

Open Face Chinese Variants

Popular variations of Open Face Chinese Poker include:

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