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Your Comprehensive Guide to Open-Face Chinese Poker

692 views July 12, 2023
by TJ

Open-Face Chinese Poker (OFCP) has rapidly gained popularity among poker enthusiasts worldwide. This unique and exciting variation challenges players to showcase their strategic skills and decision-making abilities.

OFCP is a popular variation of traditional poker. It challenges players to arrange a set of cards into three separate hands strategically. It is a relatively recent addition to the poker world and has gained significant popularity due to its unique gameplay and strategic depth.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the rules, gameplay, scoring, and essential strategies of Open-Face Chinese Poker. Let us empower you to navigate the game with confidence and finesse.

Understanding the Basics of Open-Face Chinese Poker

To become proficient in Open-Face Chinese Poker, it is crucial to have a solid grasp of the game’s fundamental aspects. Let’s delve deeper into the essential elements that form the foundation of OFCP, enabling you to approach the game with confidence and clarity.

Initial Deal and Hand Formation:

Open-Face Chinese Poker is typically played with 2-4 players using a standard 52-card deck. The game begins with each player receiving five cards face down. These cards are used to form three separate hands: the front, middle, and backhands.

Hand Hierarchy:

Understanding the hierarchy of hands is paramount in OFCP. Each hand has specific rules that dictate its composition and strength.

Back Hand

This is the strongest of the three hands. It consists of five cards and must be arranged in descending order of strength, following a traditional poker hand ranking. 

For example, a straight flush would be the highest-ranking backhand, followed by four-of-a-kind, full house, flush, straight, three-of-a-kind, two pairs, one pair, and high card.

Middle Hand

The middle hand must be slightly weaker than the backhand. It should, however, must be stronger than the front hand. Just like the backhand, it must be arranged in descending order depending on strength.

Front Hand

The front hand is the weakest of the three hands and consists of three cards. It is essential to remember that the front hand must always be weaker than the middle and backhands.

OKBet Open-Face Chinese Poker

Placing the Cards

Once the initial deal is complete, players will place their cards face-up on the table. The placement of cards is crucial, as it determines the order of play and the subsequent rounds.

Initial Placement

The first player begins by placing any five cards from their initial hand face up on the

 table, starting with the backhand, followed by the middle and front hands. The placement of cards cannot be changed once they are set.

Subsequent Rounds

In subsequent rounds, players receive one card at a time and must place it face-up in one of their hands. The card placement must follow the proper hierarchy, with the backhand placed first, then the middle hand, and finally the front hand.

Here are a few additional tips for placing cards in subsequent rounds of OFC:

  1. Evaluate Hand Strength: Assess the strength of your hand and the potential to improve it with the cards you have received. Consider which hand will benefit the most from the new card and prioritize accordingly.
  2. Maintain Hand Hierarchy: Ensure that the hierarchy of hand strength is maintained. The backhand should be the weakest, followed by the middle hand, and finally, the front hand, which should be the strongest.
  3. Avoid Fouling: Pay close attention to the rules of OFC and avoid fouling your hand. Remember that the strength of hands must follow a descending order, with the backhand being the weakest. Placing a more substantial hand in the back or middle row than the front row will result in a foul.
  4. Plan Ahead: Consider the potential combinations and hands that can be made with the cards you have already placed. Think ahead and plan your card placements to maximize the strength of your hands and minimize the risk of fouling.
  5. Observe Opponents’ Hands: As the game progresses, observe the cards your opponents place on the table. This can provide valuable information about their potential hand strength and help you make more informed decisions about your card placements.

Scoring in Open-Face Chinese Poker

Scoring in this game is based on:

  1. A point system, where players receive points for winning individual hands against their opponents.
  2. If a player wins all three hands against an opponent, it is called a “scoop,” and the player receives a bonus point.
  3. In the scoring phase, players compare their corresponding hands with the respective hands of their opponents.
  4. For each hand won, a player earns one point. If the player wins all three hands (scoop), they earn an additional bonus point.
  5. Suppose a player fouls their hand by not arranging their hands properly (e.g., having a stronger hand in the top row than the middle or bottom). In that case, they automatically lose to all other players and must pay a penalty of six points (also known as “fouling” or “dead hand”).
  6. Royalties can also be scored for particular hand combinations, such as straight flushes, quads, and flushes in the front (top) hand. These are awarded additional bonus points.

Open-Face Chinese Poker offers a unique and enjoyable twist on traditional poker. The game combines elements of skill, strategy, and luck, making it appealing to a wide range of players. By understanding the rules, scoring, and employing some strategic thinking, you can enhance your chances of success and have a great time playing OFC at any casino, online or physical. If you are still a beginner, it is best to avoid complicated games, like the Big Six, which we explained in depth here.

Read: Three-Card Poker: A Comprehensive Guide

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