Isabelle NoMercy Monday OFC Crash course: Opening

NoMercy OFC Crash Course: Opening With a Full House (Part 3)

Hello everyone! Welcome to my personal blog on OFC Pineapple (Open Face Chinese Poker). Week after week, I’ll go over the history of the game, some basic rules and recommendations, anecdotes from the players, and finally, some more advanced strategies like this one – opening with a Full House.  Stay tune and enjoy the Fantasy Ride!

As explained earlier, we are now covering a crucial subject in OFC: your openings.

Indeed, the way you will chose to place your initial 5 cards will be the foundation of your hand and it therefore represent one of the most important decision you will have to make in Open Face Chinese Poker.

We are studying all the best openings in order of the highest starting hands by ranking, until we reach the very worst opening hand with 5 rags such as 10-7-5-4-3 in four different suits.

Remember that one of the ultimate goals in Chinese Poker is to reach Fantasyland (FL), so starting with the most effective placement will greatly help you get there!

We already covered some of the best poker hands as we went over all possible scenarios and draws that concern a Royal Flush, a Straight Flush, and Quads.

We are now in the middle of studying the range of all possible openings with a Full House, and we started by covering the downsides of splitting a Full House.

Last week we went over the very first exception when it would indeed not be justified to keep your Full House as a maid hand in opening on the back row. That happens when you are dealt a Full House that includes a pair of Aces, Kings or Queens.

Let’s move to Exception #2.

When you are dealt a Full House that includes a pair of Jacks or Tens.

The main reason that justifies this split is explained by the fact that a pair of Jacks or a pair of Tens will do really well for you in the middle.

Indeed, if you make 2 pairs on that line, already covered by your trips in the back, you will often win that line with 2 pairs that high. Remember that scooping your opponent gives you a bonus of 6 points, which is incidentally the same bonus as a full house royalty in the back.

So, even if you end up with trips in the back, two pairs Jack high in the middle, and AKQ on top, you can earn 6 points by scooping; a scoop that might not otherwise have been possible without this middle row.

As we will see later on in these series about optimal openings, we generally open with a 9 in the back with an initial hand such as 9-5-5-3-2. In such a case, it will be a better play to place the 9 in the back along with a pair of 5s, instead of 9-3-2 in the middle.

As a result, it is very rare to end up with two pairs 9 high in the middle. That’s why a pair of Jacks or Tens will do really well for you on that row.

This little edge that you will have over time by splitting your Full House when it includes a pair of Jacks on Tens is enough to justify abandoning 6 points royalty in opening.

Also, remember that you are keeping your back open for quads by splitting such a full house, which might get you 10 points instead of 6!

Question: What about a pair of 9s and why do we not split that Full House, since players usually keep their 9 in the back as we just saw?

Well, we need to draw the line somewhere, and this is where the line stands in order to keep your edge with a full house served in opening.

As such, you will split 222-10-10 but you will not split 222-9-9. Your opponent might be able to position a 9, a 10 or a Jack in the middle in opening, if he has that card covered in the back or if he has another kind of draw in the back.

It would therefore not be optimal to sacrifice a small boat such as 44499 in hopes of winning the middle row with two pairs 9 high, without having more information on the look of your opponent’s hand.

Be aware of the reasons why you make every decision in OFC. That’s how you will become a winning player.

Other notable exceptions apply, and we will continue going over all possible scenarios in the next blogs.

Rendezvous next week for the continuation of these series of tips on Open Face Chinese Poker!

Meet me at the OFC tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today. Welcome to Fantasyland!

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Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier

OFC “Progressive” World Champion


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