Open Face Chinese Poker, more commonly referred to as Open Face Chinese, or OFC, is a comparing game in the Poker Family. OFC is a variation of Chinese Poker, which is itself a variation of Poker with elements of Mahjong included.
OFCP began in Finland, spreading to Russia through the influence of a prominent Russian poker player. The game has since become quite popular in the country and in neighboring countries, as well as in the United States.
How to Play Open-Face Chinese Poker?
Open Face Chinese Poker, as a variant of Chinese Poker, plays very similarly to that game. However, there are some distinct rules that differentiate OFC from its parent game, as well as other games in the Poker genre.
OFC is played using the standard 52-card Anglo-American deck. As in the traditional game, only a maximum of four Players may play in a game of OFC, and as few as two.
Unlike the normal version, OFC does NOT deal all 13 cards. Instead, each Player is dealt 5 cards to start the game. These cards are dealt face-up, so that each Player knows what each Player had for their first five cards.
Afterwards, Players will then take turns being dealt single cards from the deck, and setting cards into their hands until each Player has thirteen cards.
Players are not required to place cards in their set immediately, but once they do decide to set them, they cannot be moved or picked up. By the time each Player has 13 cards, they must finalize their sets.
There are three different sets, known as the Top, Middle, and Bottom sets. The Top set is a set of three cards, while the Middle and Bottom are both five cards each.
It is important to keep in mind that Players must set their hands such that the value of the Bottom set is higher than the Middle and Top, while the Middle must be higher than the Top and lower than the Bottom. If this is not done, then the hand is considered fouled and Players will suffer a penalty.
Fouled Players must pay 6 units to each non-fouling Player.
Showdown and Payouts
Once each Player has thirteen cards, then the Showdown may begin.
Players will compare their individual sets against each other’s individual sets. As such, Top sets are compared to Top sets, Middle sets to Middle sets, and Bottom sets to Bottom sets.
Player’s payouts will be portioned off in “units.” Players will determine at the start of the game the value of a single unit. A unit is, essentially, an equally portioned amount of money. If the unit for the game is $5, and a Player wins a hand worth 5 units, they will win $25.
Players will win payouts depending on their performance against other Players, with each winning set paying a single unit. For example, Player 1’s Top hand beats Player 2 and 3, but not Player 4. Hence, Player 1 will be paid 2 units.
Players are also paid a bonus of three units by any Player that loses against all three of their hands, for a total of 6 units. This is known as the “Scoop” or “Scooping bonus.”
The value of a hand is determined by the traditional Poker hierarchy, as listed below.
If a Player wins one of the “Royalties”, they will receive a special bonus that is paid out separately from winning the hand. If a Player wins a Royalty worth 3 units, but loses the set that Royalty was in, they would still be paid 2 units.
Furthermore, there is one more game mechanic which differentiates OFC from traditional Chinese Poker. This is known as the “Fantasyland” mechanic.
When a Player’s Top hand has at least a pair of Queens or better (Pair of Kings or Pair of Aces), then that Player has entered Fantasyland.
Once in Fantasyland, a Player is dealt all 13 of their cards at once. Players are able to remain in Fantasyland into the next round. In order to achieve this, Players must form:
- At least a three-kind in their Top set
- At least a Full House in their middle set
- At least a four-kind in their Bottom set.
A summary of the OFC rules can be found below.
- Players must set their hand by the end of the game, but have no obligation before then. Therefore, only the first five cards have to be face-up until the Showdown begins.
- Fantasyland allows a Player to hide all of their cards until it is time for the Showdown. This gives a Player more control over their hand.
- Royalties and Naturals payout a prescribed amount, while the Showdown against other Players can pay a varying amount, depending on the number of wins a Player has with their sets.
Scoring & Hands
Open Face Chinese Poker uses the same scoring system and hand rankings that can be found in the original game. This also included the naturals
Below is the standard Poker Hierarchy, from Greatest to Least, used to determine which sets beat which in value.
|Royal Flush||9♦ 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦|
|Straight Flush||5♦ 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ 9♦|
|Four-of-a-kind||5♦ 5♣ 5♠ 5♥ 10♦|
|Full House||3♥ 3♦ 3♣ 4♣ 4♠|
|Flush||5♦ 6♦ 3♦ 9♦ K♦|
|Straight||3♦ 4♣ 5♠ 6♥ 7♣|
|Three-kind||8♦ 8♣ 8♠ 9♣ K♥|
|Two-Pair||2♦ 2♣ 6♦ 6♠ 8♣|
|Pair||4♦ 4♥ 5♣ 9♥ 6♦|
Furthermore, there are the Naturals, special melds that encompass the whole 13 cards of a Player’s hand. They are listed and explained below:
Clean Dragon: A 13-card Straight Flush. Pays 108 units from each Player.
E.g. 2♥ 3♥ 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ 7♥ 8♥ 9♥ 10♥ J♥ Q♥ K♥ A♥
Dragon: A 13-card Straight. Pays 36 units from each Player.
E.g. 2♥ 3♦ 4♣ 5♠ 6♥ 7♦ 8♣ 9♥ 10♣ J♠ Q♣ K♥ A♦
12 Royalties: A combination of Aces and “Royal” or face-cards. Pays 32 units from each Player.
E.g J♦ J♥ J♣ J♠ Q♦ Q♣ Q♠ Q♥ K♦ A♥ K♣ A♠ K♥
Three Straight Flushes: Each set (Top/Middle/Bottom) forms its own Straight Flush. Pays 24 units from each Player.
E.g. 4♦ 5♦ 6♦/ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ 6♣ / 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦ A♦
Three Quads: Three 4-kinds with a single remaining card. Pays 20 units from each Player.
E.g. 4♦ 4♣ 4♠ 4♥ 8♦ 8♣ 8♠ 8♥ 10♦ 10♣ 10♠ 10♥ K♦
All Low/All High: A combination of cards that are either all 8 and above, or all 8 and below. Pays 12 units from each Player.
E.g. 7♦ 5♠ 3♣ 7♣ 6♣…
Full Colored: All cards of the same color, either ♥♦ or ♣♠ (red and black). Pays 10 units from each Player.
E.g. 9♦ 5♦ 5♥ 6♥ 7♦…
Four Triples: Four three-kinds, with a single remaining card. Pays 8 units per Player.
E.g. 2♦ 2♣ 2♠ 3♣ 3♠ 3♦ 4♣ 4♠ 4♥ 5♠ 5♥ 5♦ 9♣
Six and a Half Pairs: Six Pairs with one remaining card. Pays 6 units per Player.
E.g. 2♦ 2♣ 3♣ 3♠ 4♣ 4♠ 8♣ 8♠ 7♥ 7♣ 9♠ 9♥ 10♦
Three Straights: Each hand can form a straight, as in the Three Straight Flushes above. Pays 4 units from each Player.
E.g. 2♦ 3♣ 4♠ / 8♦ 9♣ 10♣ J♠ Q♥ / 4♣ 5♠ 6♥ 7♣ 8♥
Three Flushes: Each hand can form a Flush. Pays 3 units from each Player.
E.g. 3♦ 4♦ 6♦ / 9♦ 10♦ Q♦ K♦ A♦ / 3♣ 6♣ 7♣ 9♣ J♣
No Broadway: A hand absent any face-cards. Aces can be considered non-face cards. Pays 3 units from each Player.
E.g. 5♣ 3♠ 4♥ 9♠ 10♦ 3♦ 5♠ 7♦ 8♣ 3♦ 5♥ 8♦ 9♣
Imagine that you have the following hand of cards right before the showdown, and must adequately set your cards.
7♣ A♦ A♥ 5♦ Q♣ 8♣ 2♣ 5♠ 4♣ 9♥ 4♦ 9♠ 10♣
In such a situation, a Player might consider making one of the two the following three sets.
- Top: 9♥ 9♠ 5♠
- Middle: 5♦ 4♣ 4♦ A♦ A♥
- Bottom: Q♣ 2♣ 7♣ 8♣ 10♣
This hand gives a Player the best chance to win the game. A pair on bottom, a pair in the middle, and a flush on top is a fairly decent hand, and should at least beat most other Player’s bottom hands. While a Player might be tempted to place the Aces into the Top hand to trigger Fantasyland, with the cards in the hand above, it is not possible.
By placing a pair in the Top set, the overall hand would foul as the Middle or Bottom sets would naturally have to be weaker than the Top set.
How many cards is each Player dealt in OFC?
At the start of the game, players are dealt five face-up cards that allow each player to see the other’s first five cards. After this, players will take turns, being dealt one card until they form a hand of thirteen.
What is the point system in OFC?
The “point system” of OFC, as in most other gambling games, is monetary. Using similar rules to regular Chinese Poker, players use an agreed-upon individual unit of currency to make up the basic “unit” or “point” of the game.
For example, Players might agree that one unit in their game is $5. As such, a Player that loses and is forced to pay out 5 units to other Players will pay out $25.
Who invented Open Face Chinese Poker?
Although it is not known exactly who invented OFC, the game began in Finland before being exported to Russia by a famous professional poker player named Alex Kravchenko. From Russia, the game was popularized across the whole world.
How is Open Face different from Chinese Poker?
Open-Face is different from Chinese Poker in the initial stages, as the first five cards are dealt publicly. Furthermore, Players are dealt one card at a time in order to form their total hand. There is also the Fantasyland mechanic, which is absent from the original Chinese Poker game.
What is the difference between OFC and the Pineapple variant?
Pineapple OFC can only be played with three players, and each player is given five cards. Players will be dealt three cards at a time, and must discard one card every turn, until they are able to make a full hand of thirteen cards. Fantasyland grants 14 cards and discards one for a hand of thirteen.