Open Face Poker is still not known to many players, but has been gaining more and more fans in offline and online poker since 2013 and gradually there are more sites offering real money poker games. This extraordinary variant, which has developed from Chinese Poker and is therefore also called Open Face Chinese Poker, inspires both beginners and experienced poker players with its complex but easy-to-learn game processes.

In this post we would like to answer the most important questions about Open Face Poker and explain the rules to you.

Open Face Chinese Poker, or OFCP for short, is probably the most complicated of all poker variants currently available. Although it is still one of the lesser-known versions of poker, it is still gaining more and more popularity, and now also beyond Finland and its neighbor Russia. Since many online sites do not yet offer OFCP, it is not that widespread. But time will tell whether this variant will make the leap into the portfolio of all major online poker real money sites.

Open Face Poker Rules

The most important rules at a glance:

  • Open Face Poker can be played by two to four players per table
  • Each player receives 13 open cards
  • You have to split the cards into 3 different hands
  • Certain hands receive bonus points
  • The hands are compared with the other players and evaluated

At first, the Open Face Poker rules seem a bit complicated. Over time, and once you’ve played a few dozen hands, the gameplay is in your head and you can work on your poker strategy.

Open Face Chinese Poker is played with a normal deck of 52 cards and up to 4 players can play at one table. Five cards form the starting hand, the other eight cards are awarded in the same number of rounds. Now it is a matter of all players using the 13 cards to form a front hand with three cards, a middle hand with five cards and a back hand with five cards. The five cards at the start and each additional card can be divided up between the individual hands. The only requirement is that the value of the hands must increase from front to back. This means only if a player’s back hand is the strongest and the front hand is the weakest, the player’s hand qualifies and has the opportunity to win. If this requirement is not met, all of the player’s hands will be counted as lost and the minus points will be credited to him and the opponents the plus points.

At the end of a game round, the hands of all players are compared with each other in order to determine who has won according to a given point system. Extra points are awarded for particularly good card combinations. In real money games, a certain amount is set per point and all participating players settle among themselves at the end of each round.

The course of the game

Similar to the well-known poker variants Texas Hold’em or Omaha Poker, there is a dealer who changes clockwise after each hand. However, there are no blinds and no bets are made at the beginning of the game. All players are given five cards at the beginning, which they can assign to any of their three hands.

Now there are eight more rounds, in which the players each receive 1 card. Once a player has been dealt a card, he must assign it to one of the three hands placed face up on the table.

As soon as all players have received 13 cards and assigned them to their hands, the evaluation takes place. The cards are now compared with each other and it is calculated how many plus or minus points each player has scored against a competitor. Then it comes to the payout per point. Before the start of the game, it is usually determined what amount a player has to pay another player for each point lost.

The hand ratings in Open Face Chinese Poker

Compare all participants in the round after all players have received their 13 cards front, middle and back hands. The points are awarded according to the following principle:

  • If a player wins all three hands against a competitor, he receives 6 points
  • If a player wins two hands, he gets 1 point for it
  • If you lose two hands you get 1 minus point and you lose three hands 6 minus points

Extra points with the middle and back hand can be earned with one of the following hands:

  • Straight: Middle hand 4, back hand 2
  • Flush: Middle hand 8, back hand 4
  • Full House: Middle Hand 12, Back Hand 6
  • Poker or four of a kind: Middle hand 16, back hand 8
  • Straight flush: Middle hand 20, back hand 10
  • Royal Flush: Middle hand 40, back hand 20

There are special points for the front hand:

  • A pair of sixes or better: 1 to 9 points ascending (66 = 1 point, AA = 9 points)
  • Three of a kind twos or better: 10 to 22 points ascending (222 = 10 points, AAA = 22 points)

The right strategy for open face poker variant

In this variant there is no possibility to fold, which means that bluffs and studying other players are of little use. The luck factor plays a far greater role here than in variants such as Texas Hold’em or Omaha. But here too, the experience of OFC poker helps to gain an advantage over players who are not so familiar with this variant.

Beginners like to make the mistake of getting too stuck on collecting special points by placing a pair of 6 or better in the front hand directly with the starting hand. This can work, but if you don’t get good cards, it can lead to an automatic scoop of an opponent, since your own front hand is not the weakest hand.

It is strategically important to always keep an eye on the opponents’ cards in order to better assess your own outs and probabilities. In order to do this in the short term, however, you need a lot of experience and an overview. Practice creates masters!

last updated 25.07.2022