Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC) is a relatively new form of poker that is sweeping the poker community around the world.   The Heidelberg, which is located at 215 North Main St. Ann Arbor, MI 48109, has started offering OFC as an alternative to the usual No-limit Hold’em and RxR games.

In traditional Chinese Poker, 2 to 4 players are dealt 13 cards.  Then they will set those 13 cards to make the best 5 card hand (bottom), the 2nd best 5 card hand (middle) and then the the best 3rd best 3 card hand (top).  With being dealt all cards at once, it should be impossible to foul (placing your hand incorrectly forcing you to lose all points) a hand.   Points are awarded for all 3 hands vs everyone else in the hand in play.  Usually points are 2 for each hand and sometimes Royalties are in play based on the strength of the hands played.

For those unfamiliar with the OFC form of the game, here is a rundown on the rules and scoring used at the Berg:

  • The Dealer button is in play.  Play starts to the left of the dealer and works clockwise.
  • Standard Chinese rules apply where the bottom hand must be stronger than the middle which must be stronger than the top hand.  If you fail to keep the strength of the hands in order, you will foul the hand.
  • You must have 10x the stakes to be dealt into a hand and 20x the stakes to be eligible for royalties.
  • Every player is dealt 5 cards face down.
  • The first player left of the button now sets their first 5 cards in any of the 3 hands working toward a strong 13-card Chinese Poker hand.
  • Once a card is placed, it cannot be moved.
  • After the first position sets their initial 5 cards, the second player will set theirs until all players have set their first 5 cards.
  • Next, each player is dealt 1 card face down.
  • Each player, in turn, now looks at the card and sets it into either the bottom, middle or top hand.
  • This process will continue until everyone has placed all 13 of their cards.

Once everyone sets their hand, the following rules apply for scoring:

  • The dealer will start with 1 person and compare their hands to the other players to determine who wins and pay the person off.  This continues until all hands are completed.
  • 2 points are awarded for each winning hand or 6 points for a ‘scoop’.
  • Royalties are awarded for the bottom hand: straight=x1, flush=x2, full house=x3, quads=x4, straight flush=x5, Royal flush=x10.
  • Royalties are awarded for the middle hand: straight=x2, flush=x4, full house=x6, quads=x8 straight flush=x10 and royal=x20.
  • Royalties for the top hand: 66=+1, 77+2 and this continues at 1 point each all the way to AAA which is +22.

Your goal is to make sure you place your hands without fouling.  Fouling your hand will cost you 6 points to all players who did not foul themselves.  Since you do not know what card is coming next, it’s important to keep track of all cards in play so you know what is still available in the deck.  Use this information to help you determine where to place your cards.

Personally, I have not played many hands of OFC Poker but it was a blast when I did.  Hopefully, I can get out there and play some in the near future.  You can call the Heidelberg at 734-834-ACES for more information.