OFC is played between either 2 players or 3. It can be played in a sit n go format or cash. In a sit n go, a player buys-in with a fixed amount (which is the minimum and maximum that the player would need to invest). A fixed number of hands are played in each round, after which the scores are reset and players can choose either to play again or quit. In the cash format, which is the more popular of the two, there is no system of rounds and after a player chooses a table of their preference, the game is played much like a 2 or 3-way game of Hold’em. The scoring format explained below holds good for both these formats. Unlike poker, this game is played without chips. A point system is followed to determine the score, with each point holding a certain value.
The aim of this game is to set your best hand, and compare it against your opponent(s) to determine the scores. This is divided into 3 rows – bottom, middle and top. The bottom and middle row comprise of 5 cards each, while the top row comprises of just 3. So, an OFC hand comprises of a total of 13 cards (5+5+3). Based on poker hand rankings, players need to set their cards into these rows following one primary rule – the bottom hand must be stronger than the middle hand, and the middle hand must be stronger than the top hand. If this structure is not followed, you end up with a “Dead Hand”, which means that you earn 0 points in addition to the amount you lose to your opponent(s). Each player is first dealt 5 cards face-up. A player then beings to construct his/her hand using these 5 cards. Once this round concludes, players are dealt 3 cards each (face-down), of which they must use 2 cards and discard one. This continues until each player has completed constructing his/her hand (5 rounds of play in total). Once each player sets his/her hand, points are calculated and compared against each other to gather the final tally. Players are dealt in a similar style to Texas Hold 'em, with there being a Small Blind, Big Blind and Dealer in three-handed games.
The game of OFC follows a point system, where players earn a set number of points for making certain hands. Each row is compared with your opponent’s respective row, and scores are calculated based on the points secured by each player. Each row comprises of one point, which means that if you were to beat your opponent in 2 rows, you would win 1 point from him/her (your two points minus opponent’s 1 point). If however you beat your opponent in all 3 rows – you would win a total of 6 points (known as sweep or scoop). Player scores are calculated clockwise, starting from the left of the button. This means that in a three-handed game, points are tallied first between the Big Blind and Small Blind, then the Small Blind and Dealer, and finally the Big Blind and Dealer.
Apart from the basic points system, players can earn Royalties for hands like a Flush, Straight, Full House, Trips etc. Hands have different points based on the row they are set in. The below table indicates how Royalties work for each row:
Four of a Kind
Royalty points are counted and compared with the total tally while calculating the score, and the player with the most points wins. He/she will win an amount equivalent to the points scored times the value of each point. These Royalty amounts are earned by a player regardless of whether they win that particular row or not. Additionally, bonuses negate each other (for example if two players have a flush at the bottom row – while the player with the higher flush earns one point for the row – the royalty points will be 0 instead of 4).
Fantasyland is where you want to be! This part of the game is probably the most exciting, and rewards players with additional points. If a player manages to set Queens or better in their top row, they qualify for a “Fantasy Hand”. This means that once that round completes, an additional round is dealt – only this time, the player who had a fantasy hand gets dealt either 14-17 cards (depending on the variant) face-up at one shot and sets his/her best 13 card hand. Opponents are dealt their hands in the regular fashion (5+3+3+3+3). Additionally, a player can get a “recurring fantasy” hand if he/she manages to set either quads in the bottom row or by placing trips in their top row (in a fantasy hand). In this case, a player is dealt another fantasy in the subsequent hand. There is no limit to the number of recurring fantasy hands that a player can get.
Players in Fantasy are dealt 14 cards get to play any 13 of them, discarding any one. When a player qualifies for a recurring fantasy, he/she will be dealt only 14 cards in the next hand. Players can qualify for a recurring fantasy by placing in a Full House in the bottom row if they have a Full House in the middle row, as long as they don’t foul.
Players can be dealt up to 17 cards in fantasy depending on the strength of the hand in the top row 14 (QQ), 15 (KK), 16 (AA), 17 (three-of-a-kind). Players need to manage quads or better in the bottom row or three-of-a-kind in the top row to qualify for a recurring fantasy. Players will only be dealt 14 cards in recurring fantasy.
Players can be dealt up to 17 cards in fantasy depending on the strength of the hand in the top row 14 (QQ), 15 (KK), 16 (AA), 17 (three-of-a-kind). Players need to manage quads or better in the bottom row or three-of-a-kind in the top row to qualify for a recurring fantasy. Players can be dealt up to 17 cards in recurring fantasy, depending on the hand they originally entered fantasy with.