Open Face Chinese Poker Rules

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Open Face Chinese Poker Rules

If you have become tired of Hold'em or Omaha or just want to learn a new form of poker, then we have some excellent news for you. We've uncovered a new and exciting form of poker where – if you grasp the rules and strategies quickly – you could make a lot of money. Why not explore a recently-popularized form of poker that's quickly gaining in favor among poker geeks? We've prepared a series of educational articles about Open Face Chinese Poker and here's the first.

So, how do you play Open Face Chinese Poker?

Open Face Chinese Poker Rules

OFC Poker – or simply Chinese Poker – involves three hands with ascending value:

  1. 3-card front row (weakest hand)
  2. 5-card middle lrow (medium strength hand)
  3. 5-card back row (highest strength hand)

 They appear like this:


The main rule of the rows: The front row can not be stronger than the middle, the middle can not be stronger than back row.

The game can be played by 2 to 4 people. All players are initially dealt 5 cards. The player to the left of the dealer (a button, which moves in a circle around the table, one place each turn) opens the action. All players lay out 5 cards, face up, on the front, middle and / or back rows at their discretion. Once you put a card on the table, it can no longer be moved.

Then everyone is dealt one card. Each player puts their card face up (because we are playing open poker) on one of the three rows in order to make the most powerful hand. This continues until all players have been dealt 13 cards face up. This is followed by comparing the hands of all the players on the rows.


The goal – is not only to use your cards to build the strongest hands, but still get a lot of bonuses in the form of "royalties" without violating the ascending order of the strength of the rows. After 13 cards are laid out players alternately comparing their hands on all three rows. Each player gets 2 points (or "2 jackpots") from the opponent for each winning row. A winner in all three rows - 6 points.

Dead hands or fouls

If a player has built their hands in violation of the rules of strength in the row (for example, the front row being stronger than the middle row), then all their hands are considered "dead". Such a player is said to be "fouled" and pays all competitors 6 points + bonuses (if any).

Bonuses (Royalties)

In Chinese Poker, there is a system of bonus poker jackpots, which are called "royalties". These points are given to you for premium hands on certain rows. Let us consider a system of bonuses / royalties in Open Face Chinese Poker:

1. Back row (5 cards)

Straight: +2; Flush: +4; Full House: +6; Quads: +8; Straight Flush: +10; Royal Flush: +15

2. Middle row (5 cards)

Set: +2; Straight: +4; Flush: +8; Full House: +12; Quads: +16; Straight Flush: +20; Royal Flush: +30

3. Front row (3 cards)

Scoring starts with a hand of a 66 (+1 point). For each subsequent higher pair of the player is awarded point: 77 (+2), 88 (+3), 99 (+4), TT (+5), JJ (+6), QQ (+7), KK (+8) and AA (+9). Similarly sets accrue bonuses: 222 (+10) 333 (+11) 444 (+12) 555 (+13) 666 (+14) 777 (+15) 888 (+16) 999 (17) TTT (+18), JJJ (+19), QQQ (+20), KKK (+21) and AAA (+22).

If both players have the same bonus Hands, they do not pay bonuses to each other. If both players have different bonus combinations (for example: a straight+2 and a flush +4), the holder of the better hand receives the difference between these two bonuses (4-2 = 2).

That's all the basic rules of Chinese Poker Open. In the text it may seem that there is too much information to remember but we can assure you that as soon as you sit down at the table to explore the game in practice, things quickly fall into place.

Below you will find more variations of Chinese open poker, which is now highly popular in Russia and the CIS.

Fantasy (Fantasia)

Fantasia - a special bonus, which is one if the player has collected a hand of QQ or better in the front row (3 cards). In the next hand, a player receives not 5 cards, but 13 immediately which they lay out in advance and leave on the table face down. The remaining contestants continue to play by the usual rules. When the table is playing "Fantasia" the dealer button is not moved on.

The player with the fantasia, can immediately get it again if they collect a set on the front row or quads on the back or middle rows. As a rule, a player can get a fantasia no more than 2 times in a row.


This is a popular form of Chinese Open Poker. "Pineapple" can be played with a maximum of 3 players. Initially, all players receive 5 cards, which are laid out face up over the three rows. Then each player receives not one card but three, and these are hidden from the players. Of these three, two cards are used to develop the rows and the third is mucked without showing. Thus, the game becomes less counted in contrast to classical Chinese poker.

Thus, the game takes place in five moves: 5 +2 +2 +2 +2.

If Pineapple Chinese Open Poker is being played with "fantasia", the player gets 14 cards in the first round, rather than 13 and mucks one card without showing, after making all their hands in their rows.

Example of a game situation in a heads up hand

Let's consider a simple situation in a heads up game. Both players have already made their hands. Let's look at them and count all the points with bonuses that they are due.

Player 1

Front row: 7♠7♥4♥ (Pair)

Middle row: A♠A♣A♥3♠2♥ (3 of a Kind)

Back row: 9♠T♦J♣Q♦K♣ (Straight)

Player 2

Front row: A♦J♣7♦ (High Card)

Middle row: Q♥Q♠3♦3♣5♣ (Two Pair)

Back row: 8♥8♦8♠6♠6♣ (Full House)

Comparison of rows and scoring:

Player 1 wins the front row (Pair > High Card) +2 points

Player 1 wins the middle row (3 of a Kind > Two Pair) +2 points, as well as +2 points bonus for a set

Player 2 wins the back row (Full house> Straight) +2 points, as well as a bonus (4-2) +2 points

Total: Player 1 wins (2+2+2-2) +4 points.

The fewer players there are at the table, the easier it is to make the calculations. If you play offline, then watch for all calculations carefully. Ideally, when one person should be engaged to count the points for all players.

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