Isabelle NoMercy Monday OFC Crash course: Opening

NoMercy OFC Crash Course: Opening With Two Pairs (Part 2)

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 etc. 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 are studying optimum openings in order of the highest starting hands by ranking, and we already covered the top poker hands:

We now started digging into the next category in order of highest starting hand: Opening with Two Pairs.

Opening with Two Pairs

As we saw, opening with two pairs already gets more complicated than opening with Three of a kind. There are indeed more exceptions that apply here, and we started to enumerate them last week.

As we saw, the general rule is:

You will keep your two pairs together on the bottom line, even if these are two very small pairs.

When you open with such a placement, you always place the 5th card in the middle, unless it’s a King or a Queen, in which case you place it on top.

Here’s the continuation on the list of exceptions:

Exception #4: When one of the two pairs is KK or QQ and the 5th card is an Ace

It’s a long title! But you’ll see that it’s not that complicated. We specify in this title that the 5th card must be an Ace or a King along with QQ / KK; that’s because if it’s not, we go back to the very first line of that chapter that says:

In general, you will keep your two pairs together and place these cards on the bottom line, even if these are two very small pairs.

As such, you will do it “a fortiori” if these are two big pairs! So, hands like KK88 in the back with a 7 in the middle will play really well on the long run. Similarly, hands like QQ66 in the back with a 9 in the middle will play well. These are strong backs as opponents will often place their King or Queen high card on top. Opening with placements such as 88 in the back, 7 in the middle and KK on top is more or less a suicide mission, so you are better keeping your KK88 in the back, even if it feels counter-intuitive at first.

But, and this is the issue with this exception, if you open with a draw such as AKK88:

  • You do not want to place your Ace on top, as it will be really difficult to complete a middle that would cover a top row now easily transformable into two Aces;
  • You do not want to place your Ace in the middle, as accessing Fantasyland would be nearly impossible with only the Queens left, or a miracle running Aces or running Kings (that did not arrive in two separate draw, preventing you from placing one in the back to make a full house, unless you made it already with one of the remaining 8). Bottom line, this placement would represent a very long shot at accessing Fantasyand.

As a result, you will open with the smallest pair on the bottom, the Ace in the middle, and the KK on top. This will be the fastest and easiest way to Fantasyland!

Exception #5: When one of the two pairs is QQ along with A or K

This is the exact same replica as Exception #4, and for the exact same reasons, you don’t want to end up opening blind with a board such as QQ88 with an Ace in the middle or on top. The correct play will be 88 on the bottom, Ace or King in the middle, and QQ on top.

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

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!

Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier

OFC “Progressive” World Champion


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