Open-face Chinese poker (OFC) evolved from closed-face which is the “regular” Chinese poker. It’s not essential to be familiar with the rules or strategies of the regular Chinese poker before you can enjoy Open-Face Chinese.
Just like other variations of poker games, OFC players take turns drawing cards from one deck, attempting to create the perfect hand, while their opponents do the same. Contrary to other poker games, yet, there are no any bets placed throughout the rounds of play. Rather, the players consent to play “per point”, and the game is scored in points, just as in card games such as hearts or gin rummy.
After all card-placement rounds are complete, each player would have arranged 13 cards into three hands; the “top”, the “middle”, and the “bottom”.
The top hand of each player is compared to the opponents’ top hand, the middle to the middle, as well as the bottom to the bottom. A player will win or lose points depending on how his or her hand measures up.
The three hands are compared with each other and scored just as in regular poker hands. The middle and the bottom are regular five-card hands. The top simply have three cards, but is scored exactly in the same manner, so the perfect hand on top will be three-of-a-kind, while the top most hands are high card hands.
OFC is played using no more than four players since each player need 13 cards in the deck. Mostly, the game is played with heads-up between only two opponents.
The primary goal of OFC would be to produce a “qualifying” hand. There’s a strict rule that the bottom hand should be at least as good as the middle hand, and also, that the middle hand must be as the top hand. This is not always possible since a player is arranging his cards one at a time. If a player has already played a pair of kings in middle, and has a straight draw on the bottom using cards that are all lower than a king, s/he has to complete the straight.
Otherwise, in the event you cannot make a qualifying hand, the whole hand is “foul.”
In OFC, just as in bowling, should your hand has fouled (failed to qualify), then you score a zero for the frame. Your top, center, and bottom are marked as zero, although there’s absolutely no fine and no penalty box. Provided that your opponent makes a qualifying hand, s/he will conquer your top, middle, and bottom.
First Round and Subsequent Rounds
Just like the Texas Holdem, Open-Face Chinese poker is played with a dealer button. The player on the left side of the button acts first on every street, the action moves in a clockwise direction, and the button moves after every hand.
At the beginning, players receive five cards in turn, and play each card top, middle, or bottom. The cards are arranged face-up on the table, from which the name “open-face” Chinese poker was derived. The moment a player arranges the cards and indicates that his/her turn is complete, the other players flips over all the five cards and begin their own arrangement.
The basic principles of scoring are simple, however, there are some detailed cases to take into consideration, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Just as in Candy Crush, you don’t have to know all the rules before you start playing. You can start playing the game right away and learn as you progress.
Open-Face Chinese is played based on point; hence, the scoring of the final hands. That is after all 13 cards are placed is done on a point basis. Each row which comprises of the top, middle, and bottom is equivalent to a point to the winner. For instance, if you have a pair of jacks in the middle and your opponent has king high, then you have won by one point in the middle.