Open-face Chinese Poker evolved from the regular closed-face Chinese poker. It is a turn-based game and its popularity grew among high-stakes players in the poker community since its introduction around 2011.
If you play Texas Hold 'em and Omaha, making the transition to OFC is easier than it looks. The rules may be different, but it's still poker and you can intuitively pick up the key points as you start playing. Unlike other poker variants, you get to play every hand in OFC, meaning that you're always involved in the game!
If you're interested in playing OFC, there's no better time to start than during our Cash Drive that's on till the 15th of November. Opt-in using the OFC deposit codes and earn up to 2X Baazi Reward points!
Here’s a quick introduction to the game:
- This game is played among 2-3 players.
- Each player has to use 13 cards each, three in the top row, five in the middle row and five in the bottom row.
- The bottom hand must be stronger than the middle hand and the middle hand should be stronger than the top hand.
- The strength of these hands are determined by the standard poker hand rankings.
- The objective of the game is to achieve more points by winning more hands which are better than your opponents. You can also earn royalties on premium hands. All of this has to be done without fouling.
- Scores are calculated based on the points won by each player.
- If you take down your opponent in all three rows, you win 6 points which is called a scoop/sweep.
- A special round called 'fantasyland' is added to the game if a player manages to set Queens or better in the top row.
- There are three variants of the game: regular, progressive and ultimate.
Similar to other poker variants, players take turns to draw cards from the deck to make the best hand possible. The way that it differs from other poker games is that there is no betting during the rounds of play. Scoring is instead done in points and players agree to play on a “per point” basis. This is similar to other card games, such as gin rummy or hearts.
All the cards for OFC are not dealt at the same time. At the start, players receive five cards, which they set in the top, middle, or bottom hand. These cards are placed face-up on the table, and hence the name ‘Open-Face’ Chinese Poker. After the player, in turn, has arranged his or her cards, the next player flips over all his five cards to arrange them.
The following cards are dealt three at a time and players need to place any two of them face up in one of the top, middle or bottom rows and discard one before the next three cards are received. This continues till all 13 cards are dealt and arranged in rows. There are no take-backs and you cannot alter the position of a card after it has been placed.
Once the rounds for card-placement are complete, players will compare their 13 cards that they have arranged into the top, middle, and bottom rows. The top hand is made using three cards while the middle and bottom hand use five cards each. The best possible hand on top would be a three-of-a-kind since there are only three cards for play.
Now, players compare the top hand to the top hand of their opponents, the middle hand to the middle hand of their opponents, and the bottom to the bottom. Points are calculated based on how each hand measures up.
The scoring and comparison for the three hands are done in the same way as regular poker hands.
Every open-face Chinese poker player requires 13 cards to play.
Every OFC player needs to make a ‘qualifying’ hand. For this, the bottom five-card hand needs to be higher than the middle five-card hand and the middle hand needs to be higher than the top hand of three cards. Now, this is tricky and you’ll understand why when you read more about how the cards are dealt.
A player arranges his or her cards one at a time, as they are dealt. If he or she has played a pair of queens in the middle hand and has a straight draw on the bottom with cards lower than the queen, it is necessary to complete the straight.
If you are unable to create a qualifying hand, your entire hand is foul. This means that you have failed to qualify and you get a zero for the game. There is no fine or penalty but all your hands are marked a zero. This is only when your opponent has been able to make a qualifying hand to beat your top, middle, and bottom hand.
Scoring is simple. There are certain details that you need to keep in mind but don’t get stuck in the complexities right from the beginning. You can start playing and continue to learn more about scoring as you play.
As mentioned earlier, OFC is a game of points, so the final hands (all 13 cards placed in the top, middle, and bottom hand) are scored on a point basis. Every hand - top, middle, and bottom - is worth one point to the winning player. So, if you have a pair of kings in the bottom and your opponent has an ace-high, you win one point for the bottom.
Similarly, you move forward to compare and score the next two rows. A player can win the top and bottom but lose the middle row.
If the game is played by more than two players, each player scores against each player independently. OFC is not like Texas hold’em where the best hand wins and earns the pot while others get nothing. Here, you score points against each player.
But that’s not all. Apart from the +1/-1 points per hand, there is a range of scoring bonuses that you can earn to gain more points.
The ‘scoop bonus’ is the easiest to understand and calculate. This is gained if you beat all three rows of an opponent’s hand. You get one point for each winning row and three additional points for beating all rows, so a total of 6 points. If you beat an opponent in two rows, you get 1 point (2-1) overall. But with the scoop bonus, you earn 6 points.
Bonuses in OFC are generous and offered to encourage players to take chances for big hands. This is because hands generally tend to be weaker as compared to regular Chinese poker. The scoring bonuses are shown in the image above.
Bonuses are paid irrespective of whether a player wins or loses that row. Also, in case two players have the same cards, no bonus will be earned.
This part of the game is probably the most exciting.Players are awarded additional points. If a player manages to set Queens or better in the top row, they qualify for a ‘fantasy hand’. This means once that round is complete, an additional round is dealt- only this time, the player who had a fantasy hand is dealt with 14-17 cards in one go depending on the variant of the game.
On PokerBaazi, we are offering three variants of the game: regular, progressive and ultimate. If you’re an adrenaline rush lover, then progressive and ultimate is the format you should play!
Open-face Chinese poker is relatively new, yet very exciting. It brings on the table a combination of the simple rules of regular poker games like Texas hold’em and seven-card stud with the high variance and thrill of games like blackjack.
Open-face Chinese poker has variations like Fantasyland and Pineapple. These are interesting and if you wish to learn the same, you can refer to our blog on OFC Poker Variations. For now, you have enough information to get started. We are hosting an OFC Cash Drive (15th Oct - 15th Nov) where you can win up to 2x Baazi reward points! Join OFC cash tables right away!