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Four Mistakes You are Making in Pineapple Open Face Chinese

by Derric Haynie |  Published: Aug 19, 2015

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“Am I making the right move?” This is what I ask myself before I take each and every turn in Pineapple OFC. According to my score on the rating system (that I helped create), the answer is: not every time. I only get about 70 percent of tough situations correct, and have an average error of .5 points / tricky spot. This means I probably give my opponent a free point every couple of hands. With that kind of error rate, how could I even be expect to win? Well, luckily, my opponents are making even more errors than me.

The truth is we are all making a lot of mistakes in this fairly new game and unexplored game. That’s great for the fast learners, but could cost you a pretty penny if you are a late-bloomer or haven’t yet put in the effort to learn advanced OFC strategy. Let me show you four of the biggest mistakes I see players just like you make in this game time and time again:

Not Gambling for FantasyLand Enough

Sometimes the fear and embarrassment of fouling convinces you to play it safe in spots where it is clearly “game on.” You have to remember, it’s not whether you hit 50 percent of the time or more, it’s whether you make more points on average or not. Most Fantasyland gambles only need 25 percent to be worth it, so stop waiting for the golden opportunity and just go.

In this spot, gambling for Fantasyland is 2.6 points better on average than playing it safe. And it doesn’t particularly even matter that our opponent will foul a significant amount of the time because our hand is just plainly better on average if we make the gamble. If you aren’t making “risky” plays in Pineapple Open Face, you are making a mistake.

Completely Senseless Gambles

Just because you can improve doesn’t mean you should. I see this problem a lot when someone has set a rather ambitious flush draw or straight draw in the middle, but hasn’t developed their back at all. It’s especially true when you hit your trips card in the middle with just one, or even two pair, in the back. This is quite often a bad time to gamble.

In this situation, putting the ace up front forces you into a runner-runner situation, where you have to make a full house on the bottom and two pair or better in the middle. That is a dream my friend, and it’s a mistake of over seven points! Do not take a good hand and throw it away simply for a chance at “the big time.”

Bailing Too Early

If you are mid-game and thinking about breaking a three-flush for a single pair in the back, you better need a really good reason. A reason like, half your flush cards are dead, you can get to Fantasyland a lot easier if you pair the back, or you will scoop your opponent a lot even with such a weak hand. Most of the time, it’s just correct to wait it out for the flush, or bail on the next street. After all, there will be six more opportunities to hit something that helps you out, just be patient.

In this hand, it can be sometimes tempting to just play it safe and put the ten in the back, especially if there are more dead diamonds. But that is just way too safe, even with 3-4 additional dead diamonds! The correct play in this exact spot is actually to gamble for Fantasyland with the queen up front and ten in the middle (because of the three of diamonds…think about it). If you are playing it “super safe” you are making a mistake of over four points, yikes.

A bird in the hand…Don’t sacrifice a great card for the back to take a big risk in the front.

Now there are plenty of times to gamble in this game, but I have found that most of the time you are presented a made hand, you should take that before risking it all for Fantasyland or the like. This problem usually arises when you get three great cards for your hand and still have to throw one (or as I like to call it, “rich people problems.”) Generally speaking, you should build the bottom/middle in this situation and throw your “gamble” card. The main reason this holds true so often is because you are throwing away an out, thus reducing your chances, plus you will have another opportunity to hit that Fantasyland card on the next draw anyways. So think about those future opportunities before throwing a perfectly good hand away.

In this situation, we have to decide whether to take Fantasyland now or take quads now… #richpeopleproblems. We don’t even have to set ourselves all-in and Fantasyland is worth approximately 14.5 points (7 for queens and around 7.5 for the added value of being in Fantasyland next hand), while quads is only worth ten points. Seems like a no brainer right? Well, actually, since we have five outs to hit Fantasyland on the next draw (45%), its 4.7 points better to play quads!!! Am I blowing your mind yet?

If any of this helped you or if I was able to help you solve one leak in your game, please let me know by tweeting at @ofcstrategy. I truly hope I was able to give some quick pointers and valuable insight into errors that I see players making all the time. To see where you stand and how many errors you’re making on a regular basis, check out openfacesolutions.com and sign up for a free trial to use our tactics trainer, simulator, and the only Open Face Chinese ranking system on the web. ♠

Derric “SixPeppers” Haynie is the author of Quantum Poker and creator of OpenFaceSolutions.com and OpenFaceStrategy.com. Check out those sites for more articles, solutions, tactics, news and information on Pineapple Open Face Chinese Poker.