Welcome to my personal blog on OFC Pineapple (Open Face Chinese Poker). Week after week, we’ll go over the history of the game, basic rules and recommendations, anecdotes from the players, more advanced strategies, hand analysis, and more. Today it’s opening with Straights. Stay tune and enjoy the Fantasy-ride!
As explained earlier, we are now covering a crucial subject in OFC: your openings. The way you will chose to place your initial 5 cards will be the foundation of your hand and it represents a key decision.
Remember that one of the ultimate goals in Chinese Poker is to reach Fantasyland, so starting with the most effective placement will greatly help you get there! We’ll see how to handle opening with Straights.
We are studying optimum openings in order of the highest starting hands by ranking, and we already covered the top poker hands:
Let’s now move to the next category of openings: Opening with Straights and Straight Draws.
The optimal openings in this category may seem simple, but I can assure you that you will encounter many surprises! Indeed, some situations are easier to understand than others from the previous chapters, but we will be facing multiple exceptions here.
Nevertheless, the best way to position your initial five cards will greatly depend on the height of the straight itself as well as your suited cards.
Indeed, a King-high Straight will not be played the same way as a 6-high Straight. Similarly, a Straight that includes 3 or 4 cards to a Flush may not be played as a Straight, but rather as a Flush draw.
Let’s look deeper into the details and into all possible scenarios:
5 Cards Straight served in opening
Possibility Number 1: Six-high to Jack-high Straights
In most of these cases, you will keep your 5 cards straight all together and place it in the back, even if it means settling down for a mere 2 points Royalty.
Indeed, this placement will allow you to make two big pairs or even trips in the middle, placing you in a good position to access Fantasyland before the end of the hand.
I said, “in most of these cases”, because there are indeed exceptions to this rule. Yes, you heard it right; there will be situations where you will receive a made Straight and it will be a better play on the long run to actually split it.
The exceptions to this rule will occur when you receive such a 6-high to Jack-high Straight that contains 3 or 4 cards to a Flush. In such cases, you should treat your hand as a Flush Draw and not as a Straight Draw.
That’s correct, even if it seems super counter-intuitive, you should split such a made straight in order to place your Flush cards in the back, along with the remaining one card or two cards in the middle.
Placing your Flush cards in the back will leave your options open to score 4 points Royalty if you successfully complete your Flush, as well as a possibility of making hands in the middle that will be big enough to cover your Fantasyland access on top.
On the opposite, settling down for a Straight in opening – while you have other opportunities – will only provide you with a small bonus and will allow your opponents to go after hands such as Flushes that will automatically beat your back row.
Moreover, do not forget that you can always settle for two pairs or trips in the back, or even end up making a Straight after all, according to your next draws and decisions made by observing all visible cards exposed on your opponents’ boards.
Be aware of the reasons why you make every single decision in OFC. That’s how you will become a winning player!
Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier
OFC “Progressive” World Champion