“Turbo”

One of the reasons people like Pineapple is the speed of play. Regular OFC sometimes plays out very slowly. This is especially true 3 and 4 handed, but even Heads Up sometimes slows to a crawl. Although Pineapple-OFC is popular for many reasons, one of the main reasons is that there are only 4 “Pulls”/”Streets”/”Turns”, as opposed to 8 in Regular OFC (in both games you start with 5, however because you are playing 2 cards at a time in Pineapple, you go from 5 to 7, 9, 11, and finish at 13, whereas in Regular you go from 5 to 6, 7…and finish at 13).

However, Pineapple can only be played 3-handed, because of the discards. Now, some people, myself included, consider that a positive feature of Pineapple-OFC; I feel 4-handed Regular OFC is not as good as 3-handed because I believe having perfect information (all the cards will be accounted for) is too much; I believe there should be some level of uncertainty. 

That said, many people do prefer 4-handed OFC, and also, there are times in a Casino when 4 players will want to play; as a result, Regular OFC is chosen over Pineapple-OFC, even though Regular is much slower and players would prefer a faster game. Essentially, the 4-handed element of Regular-OFC is more important than the added value of having a faster game with Pineapple-OFC.

This post offers a compromise game – one that mimics the speed of Pineapple-OFC but also keeps the 4-handed nature of Regular-OFC. A few of us back during the summer played it from time-to-time, and we called it “Turbo” (I do realize that Turbo can refer to other games as well). If anyone has another name for the game, please let me know.

Turbo plays out quite simple – you are dealt 2 at a time instead of 1 at a time, and you must play both cards. It’s as simple as that. Because you only see 13 cards, FantasyLand remains at QQ, and the bonus remains 13 cards. 

That’s it. I realize that this game is nothing revolutionary, but for the most part, people do not seem to reconigze that Turbo is an entirely reasonable compromise when you have 4 players, but do not want to play something as slow as Regular-OFC.

As always, I welcome any thoughts, comments or suggestions.

Pineapple Throwdown!

So @PuppyMint, the brains behind Open Face Odds (http://openfaceodds.com), and I decided to play a few hands of HU Open Face Pineapple at the Pocket Rockets Casino (https://pocketrocketscasino.com), and to break-down and analyze one of the hands from our game. For more information on Open Face Odds and Pocket Rockets Casino, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Here is a video of the hand we’re going to breakdown:

The analysis can be found by clicking on the following link:

http://www.openfaceodds.com/strategy_pineapple_throwdown_breakdown_I.html 

A few thoughts that did not get into the analysis but are probably worth mentioning:

1) My opponent briefly mentions that one of the weaknesses of the AA-middle-row set is that it often results in having to intentionally not develop the middle from Aces into Aces Up or Trips because you are fearful you can only end up with 2-pair in the back and thus foul because Aces Up in the middle > whatever two pair in the back. He’s entirely right, and I think that point, much more than any back-row equity lost by not setting up 3 to a flush and instead opting for the K/AA set-up would be the downside to my set-up. The back row equity sacrificed is more than made up for with top row equity, but the inability to develop the middle limits the scoop potential and particularly HU that can be brutal.

2) FantasyLand on Pocket Rockets is 15-cards. Regardless of whether that makes for “better” games, the point is that’s the current rule on that site and you just have to make your decisions based on what the current rules are, not what you want them to be. So even though I don’t think it’s the best rule, when I play there, it’s important to remember how much value FL has (a lot), and how it’s even more than what I’m normally used to. It still may not be enough to justify my aggressive set, but any analysis into whether I made optimal choices must consider that the reward is a 15-card FL hand, not a 14-card FL hand.

So definitely check out the “Throwdown Breakdown”; this is only the first of such collaborations, with hopefully many more to come.

About Open Face Odds: Open Face Odds is probably the best source for in-depth OFC information and analysis out there – if you’re looking for things like Odds Charts (http://openfaceodds.com/charts_4H.html) or a place to rebuild OFC hands (http://www.openfaceodds.com/sandbox_4h.html), for example, the stuff over there is excellent. His website is probably the main reasons I don’t spend as much time getting into in-depth analysis and discussion concerning general OFC concepts; he does such a great job (and continues to do so) over there on those topics that I’d be doing a disservice to anyone reading this blog by trying to have my own section instead of referring anyone reading this blog to his site. So if you’re interested in heavier/more in-depth analysis on abstract OFC concepts, definitely make sure to spend some time over there.

Pocket Rockets Casino is currently one of the few places I’ve found where one can play OFC on the Internet (not including Mobile App based play). You can play for play-money chips, or for “Real Money” via BitCoins. I know absolutely nothing about the BitCoin world; PRC has a section on BitCoins to help people get started playing on their site, but if that’s not sufficient, I’m probably one of the worst people to ask for any information as to how BitCoins work. Further, I also have very little knowledge when it comes to evaluating the overall security and integrity of an internet poker host, so I’m a horrible person to ask questions about those sorts of topics as well. I will say that any time I’ve had a question for them, the staff have been on the ball in responding to me, so feel free to contact them at admin@pocketrocketscasino.com with any questions you have, or just check out the casino itself at https://pocketrocketscasino.com/.

OFC Complete Hand Video #3 – Pineapple Action!

So for my third OFC video, I wanted to showcase the Pineapple variant of Open Face Chinese. A quick refresher – Pineapple is a 2 or 3-person version of OFC where, after playing the initial 5 the same way as normal OFC, each player is dealt 3 cards instead of 1 on each street and starting with UTG, each player plays 2 of the 3, and discards the 3rd face down. Since each street involves playing 2 cards, there are only 4 streets during the run-out as opposed to 8. And since each player ends up seeing 17 cards, there will be 1 card left over, and obviously the maximum number of players is 3.

FantasyLand rules are a little bit different – a player in FantasyLand receives 14 cards, not 13, and discards 1 while playing the other 13 as normal. Also, a Full House in the Middle does not entitle one to stay in FantasyLand. Finally, due to the fact that it is much easier to successfully play QQ up top in Pineapple-OFC, some people switched the minimum threshold to enter FantasyLand to KK up top. And still others, including myself, believe that is still too easy given how strong hands are in Pineapple-OFC, and believe the best rule for FantasyLand is to set the minimum at AA+. And some people still prefer the rules to stay at QQ+, and just accept that Pineapple-OFC features a lot more FantasyLand hands. Also, I think one possible rule could be that QQ entitles you to a 13-card FantasyLand (the same as normal Open Face), but KK entitles you to a 14-card hand, and AA+ entitles you to a 15-card FantasyLand (discarding 2 cards).

The video that I am going to analyze comes from MGM Grand, where a good friend of mine named Martin, my wife, and I were waiting for the fourth player to arrive for a $5/pt normal OFC game that we had set-up. So, in the meantime, the three of us were playing $3/pt pineapple (due to the much heavier swings and variance caused by the much bigger hands and royalties made in the Pineapple variation, I highly recommend playing for much smaller stakes at OFC-Pineapple as compared to whatever one normally plays for in standard OFC). We had agreed to make AA+ the minimum for FantasyLand. I’m first to act, then my wife, then Martin. So without further ado:

I’m going to try a different format for analyzing and breaking down the hand. Open Face Odds (www.openfaceodds.com) has a page called “The Sandbox”, that allows a person to move cards around amongst the 13 slots for each of 4 sub-hands, and also now has a space for comments. So, what I will do is for each player’s move, add their cards to a running picture of the entire hand, and then use the comment section on the right hand side as the place where my individual thoughts on the play in question will be displayed. This will make the actual post on this blog much shorter and more manageable. Please let me know what you guys think about doing the video analysis this way. And again, thank you to Open Face Odds for allowing me to use the Sandbox webpage and take screenshots. Also, remember that I will know my OWN discards, but not what the other two players have discarded, so any attempts to analyze their play comes with the understanding that they have knowledge and information that I am not privy to that may have fundamentally altered how they (or I) would approach the play in question.

As always, all comments and suggestions are welcome. Hope you guys enjoy it.

The Deal: I go first and get a nice 3-club combination. Allison picks up a potential Flush/Flush spot (and in Pineapple-OFC, Flush/Flush happens frequently enough that it’s vital to not ignore such possibilities), and Martin plays two-pair rather conservatively.

The First Pull: I get no help at all, but do throw an Ace up top and there are no other Aces out there. FantasyLand has become a possibility. Allison gets a nasty comnbination that turns her hand into a very high-risk, high-reward hand – flush/straight/big pair is entirely plausible, as is bricking out everything and fouling or playing pair/K-high/K-high. Martin’s hand gets even stronger. Also, yes, for some reason Martin’s 6 of Diamonds vanished from the picture intended to be my first play.

The Second Pull: Well, I don’t have much else going for me at this point – if I don’t pull the trigger and go for glory, I could easily end up with pair/pair/A-high, and that’s rarely good enough in Pineapple. So, no guts, no glory. At least it gets to be exciting – let’s see if I get there. Allison slowly inches towards making her hand, but is beginning to run out of time. Martin makes his boat in the back, and is live for a full house in the middle, and also running Aces up top for FantasyLand if he picks up a second pair in the middle.

The Third Pull: Well I abandon my flush draw, and turn my back hand into a draw to 2 big pair or Trips, and I get a key card (a 3) giving me two small pair in the middle to cover my Aces up top. Now it’s down to getting a T, 9 or 5. There are a bunch of those left – one T, one 9, and 3 5’s! Allison finishes her straight, picks up a 4th spade so she’s got her own monster or foul potential hand here, and Martin finally has a round where he doesn’t improve – and given what else has been played, his hand is pretty much set in stone at this point.

Ending: Do I make it? Does Allison make it? Or do we both foul, giving Martin a nice 12-point hand (6 for scoop,  6 for the full house)…I won’t tell you here!

Conclusion: Allison fouls, Martin has Boat/66/9-high….and I bink a 5 to make my hand legal, which means one key thing – I’m going to the Land! Points: I scoop Allison (she fouls), and I get a 9 point royalty, so +15. I win 2 out of 3 from Martin (his full house beats my two pair in the back) and have a 9 point royalty, but he has a 6 point royalty, so in total he owes me 4 points. Martin gets 12 points from Allison’s foul (scoop + full house royalty).

Yes, I am enough of a jackass to put up a video of me making FantasyLand while taking my wife to the cleaners in Open Face Chinese, as she fouls at the same time. I’ll probably be on the couch for a month, but let’s be honest, it’s worth it.

Pineapple Open Face Chinese

A bunch of people have asked me about “Pineapple Open Face Chinese”; they’ve either heard about it or seen the game being spread at Rio, and they want to know what exactly the rules are. Here’s what you need to know:

1) 3-handed max.

2) Dealt 5 as normal, and each player sets their hand in turn, just like normal Open Face.

3) Then, instead of being dealt one card at a time, a player is dealt 3 cards; they discard 1 and play 2. Then the next player is dealt 3 cards, and so forth. Thus, there are only 4 “streets” during the run-out from 5 to 13, as opposed to 8 streets in normal Open Face Play.

4) The discarded cards are not revealed.

5) Normal rules for entering FantasyLand apply; but there has been some chirping on twitter that the rules should be changed to make it harded.

6) For Fantasyland, you get 14 cards and discard 1. Boat in the middle will not qualify to stay in Fantasyland – only trips up top or Quads in the back.

My general thoughts are that it’s a fun variation, and definitely worth playing, but that some of the royalties probably need to be toned down -I’d recommend only allowing Fantasyland at AA+, and toning down the back royalties given the ease of making them in such a format. However, my hunch is that one of the main reason people like this format is that royalties are easier to make, thus making the game even more “gambooly”. Feel free to e-mail me with any thoughts or comments on this version.