Fundamental Strategy for Open Face Chinese (OFC) Poker
Open Face Chinese (aka OFC) poker is one of the many fun ways to enjoy the game we love. While it does share some similarities with other games like No Limit Hold ’Em (NLHE), such as the hand ranking, it has its own rules and strategies.
In this article, we’re going to cover some of the fundamentals that you can use to win your next match of OFC. If you need a refresher about the basics and the rules, check out our primer.
Let’s play some OFC!
First Default Strategy: Don’t Foul
In every round of OFC, you’ll make three hands: a top, middle, and bottom. The top contains 3 cards, and the other ones each have 5. The way it works is that your middle hand needs to beat your top hand, and your bottom hand needs to beat your middle. If this isn’t the case, then you foul and automatically lose the hand.
Since there’s no contest if you foul, preventing this needs to be your first priority. So, for instance, you will want to set up your top hand to be weak, even if it means that your opponent will win the top hand. Sometimes you need to sacrifice one of your hands to prevent a foul and give yourself a chance at winning other hands.
In general, you want to start by putting your best cards on the bottom. Try to get a straight, flush, full house, or even three-of-a-kind on the bottom so that it will beat your upper hands. However, it can also be good to put a high pair at the bottom so that you can have a middle pair in the middle and a weak pair at the top. It’s fairly easy to get a pair in each hand, and this will prevent a lot of fouling.
Continue to React to Your Opponents’ Position
Since it’s all open face, you will know exactly where you stand in a hand. This means that if you can see that you’re behind, you’ll want to make more high-risk high-reward plays. If making a safe hand will result in a loss either way, then you want to shoot for the moon and try to snatch a better hand with a little luck.
On the other hand, if its looking like you’re in a commanding position or if your opponent is likely to foul their hand, then play a little more passively. Instead of trying to get a pair on the top hand, for instance, you might just be content with making a high card so that your pair in the middle will beat it no matter what.
As more cards come out, continue to evaluate where you stand and how risky your play needs to be to maximize your chances of winning.