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Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland

Isabelle Mercier


  • In a new “OFC No Mercy Little Guide” entry, Isabelle Mercier analyzes a hand of Pineapple Open-Face Chinese poker.

  • Aces in the middle and a king up top -- Fantasyland here we come! Isabelle Mercier shares Pineapple OFC strategy.

Tonybet Poker ambassador Isabelle Mercier returns with more tips and advice for playing open-face Chinese poker.

Hello everyone, and welcome back once more to my “Open-Face Chinese No Mercy Little Guide”! In previous parts we’ve gone over OFC’s history, talked about basic rules and variants, and in the last few articles talked about fundamental advice and considered particularly tricky scenarios in OFC Pineapple.

Today let’s analyze a complete hand of OFC Pineapple, so we can cover different points all at once!

Hand Analysis #1

This is a hand I played last week in the “No Mercy Ride” tournament on TonyBet Poker. I started with quite a good draw, and being first to act in this situation, I am always a big fan of placing my aces in the middle.

In this particular case, I chose to place my {3-Hearts}{5-Clubs} on the bottom, hoping to make two pair or a straight. A straight would obviously allow me to improve my middle line, but otherwise I would still be all set to go to Fantasyland should I manage to catch a pair of kings or queens on top, while improving my bottom line.

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 101

My opponent positioned his first five cards, and I was dealt these three cards for my second draw:

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 102

This scenario presents two ways of playing the hand, so I had to make a choice. First of all, I could place the {6-Diamonds} and {7-Clubs} on the bottom, giving me an inside straight draw to cover my middle line. What I did not like about that option is the fact that if I were to succeed and make my straight, I could still lose the line against my opponent’s bigger straight.

But more importantly, one of my fours is already out on my opponent’s board, so I would be drawing to three cards only to make the straight. This situation reminds me of going all in no-limit hold’em — you’re no longer in control of this line and are hoping to catch your miracle card!

On the other hand, should I choose to place the {6-Diamonds} or the {7-Clubs} on the bottom line, I would still be drawing to 3 threes, 3 fives, and three more live cards for the six or the seven. I am aware of the fact that I have to catch two of those nine live cards, but that seemed a better play than drawing to an inside straight with only three live cards.

Add to that the fact that I really hate to waste an ace in Pineapple. Going with this play gives me the luxury of placing my ace on top, putting me in a Fantasyland spot or at least having an ace-high on the top line as protection.

I went with that play, and decided to place the {6-Diamonds} on the bottom. Why the six instead of the seven? Well, it looked easier to catch a sole {4-} for an open-ended straight draw opening more outs, instead of catching both a {4-} and a {6-} if I had chosen to place the {7-Clubs} in the back.

This decision was also made based on the fact that if I made two pair whether they were 7-high or 6-high wouldn’t have mattered against my opponent’s bottom line, since he is either going to make his straight or he will end up with only one pair. However, if he were trying to make some small pairs as well, then I would have placed the {7-Clubs} in the back and tried to make my two higher pair than his.

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 103

My opponent got the {10-Diamonds} to complete his straight in the back and placed a deuce on his middle line. Meanwhile I got an easy draw, with the {5-Diamonds} going in the back to give me two pair, and the {K-Diamonds} going on top to give me another chance to get to Fantasyland!

On the next draw my opponent paired his deuces in the middle and placed a {10-} on top. Meanwhile I drew a ten, six, and a deuce.

Straight away I put that {6-Hearts} on the bottom line to give me two pair and cover my aces in the middle. As for selecting my other card, I took note how there were 2 tens and 2 deuces showing already, so my chances of making a second pair in the middle would be same either way. (Putting one of those two cards on the top line would be out of the question, and I am sure by now you can see why!)

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 104

After I put the {10-Clubs} in the middle, then came the next draw where my opponent managed to make two pair in the middle while placing a king on the top (also with an idea to get to Fantasyland).

As for me, I got my miracle king, and you know where that went!

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 105

This hand shows that I made the right play at the start not choosing to draw to the inside straight, because as the cards were dealt, we can see that I would not have caught my miracle {4-}. I am not saying this is always the right play, but the fact that one of fours was already dead, coupled with the higher possible straight on the bottom line of my opponent, made me choose that play at that particular moment. You always have to take into consideration multiple factors before you make your mind up on the direction you’ll go in OFC.

Here’s how the hand finished up:

Open-Face Chinese Poker by Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier, Part 7: Going for Fantasyland 106

As you can see, in the end I won only 5 points in the hand despite the big risk I took by placing my aces in the middle to start. Indeed, my opponent made a 2-point bonus for his straight in the back, plus 1 point for the lines as he is beating both my bottom and middle lines. On my side, I made an 8-point bonus for my kings on top, which minus the 3 points of my opponent left me with a 5 points win for the hand.

With some experience, I have come to find that the points I win when starting with a pair of aces in the middle are often marginal, rarely resulting in big jackpots. But as you can see here, doing so often allows me to get to Fantasyland, and with a bit of luck, I can then catch a huge hand and crush my opponent who will be playing open-face during that time!

That’s all for now. Rendez-vous next time for more of my “OFC No Mercy Little Guide”!

Start playing OFC today by downloading Tonybet Poker and using the bonus code NOMERCY to receive 100% bonus up to €500 and a free ticket for a weekly Pineapple NoMercy Ride tournament!

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