How to Play Open-Face Chinese Poker

The concept behind the Open-Face Chinese Poker is quite close to regular Chinese Poker.  Even though the game play of both the games is quite same, but knowing the rules or strategies of the latter is not required to enjoy the Open-Face Chinese Poker.  As common in other variants of poker, this game also requires its players to draw cards from a single standard deck of cards.  The intention behind the game is to create a best possible hand to beat your opponent.

The major difference between Open-Face Chinese Poker and the other variants of poker is that this game does not have any type of betting rounds or chips to play with.  It is still called poker because poker hands are used in the end to decide the outcome of the game.  The players of this game play with a “per point” system just like game of hearts or gin rummy.

Game Play of Open-Face Chinese Poker

Open-Face Chinese Poker is played with a standard deck of 52 cards.  This game can be played by a couple of players or maximum of four players.  Each player is dealt with a 13 card hand.  The game play involves division of this hand further into three poker hands commonly known as “setting”.  Each player divides his or her hand into three subgroups with two hands of five cards and one of three cards.  The two hands with five cards each are called “the middle” and “the back” while the one with three cards is called “the front”.  Each of these sub-hands must have a particular order of cards in the following way.

The Back: This setting with five cards must only contain highest ranking cards.

The Middle:  This setting with five cards must be of lower ranking as compared to the back.

The Front:  This setting must only contain the lowest ranking cards.

First Round of Open-Face Chinese Poker

It should be noted that in Chinese Poker all the thirteen cards are dealt to the players at the same time.  The cards are note exposed while the players are still forming their best hands for the setting.  Contrary to this, in Open-Face Chinese poker players are not provided with all the thirteen cards to start the game.  First each player is provided with five cards and they are set on the table with their face side up.  Once the player arranges his five cards into the three subgroups and indicates that the turn is complete, only then the other player is allowed to flip his or her cards.

Second Round of Open-Face Chinese Poker

Once the five cards are arranged by all the players, the dealer starts dealing cards one at a time to each player.  The players then play these cards face up in turn and arrange them into the “setting”.  Once a card gets designated to one of the subgroups, a player is not allowed to move it or change it into the other row.   Once all the players have arranged their thirteen cards in setting, then comparison are made and hands are scored.

Scoring in Open-Face Chinese Poker

As mentioned earlier, the scoring in the Open-Face Chinese Poker is done by using the points.  Each point is sometimes called a unit.  Depending upon the type of Open-Face Chinese Poker each point gets designated with a particular sum of money.  For example in a £1 OFC game, each point is worth £1.  The scoring in this game follows the standards in the following ways.

  • A player gets paid with one unit for each hand he or she wins.
  • If a player scores all three hands against the opponent, three bonus units are awarded.
  • If a player surrenders a hand, he or she is required to pay two units to the opponent.
  • In case of a fouling of a hand by a player, the opponent is provided with six units.

There is also a concept of rewarding royalties in Open-Face Chinese poker.  These royalties are in the form of bonus units which are awarded to the player for making certain hands.