Open Face Chinese Poker

OBJECTIVE OF OPEN FACE CHINESE POKER: Collect more points than other players by winning more rows (hands) and collecting royalties.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-4 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52-card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2




Open Face Chinese Poker (OFC) is a variant on Chinese poker- both employ 13 cards to construct 3 separate hands. This variant of poker was developed in Finland 2011, spread to Russia, and finally made it’s way to the United States in 2012. This is a high-stakes poker game played alongside larger poker tournaments. These games typically have large buy-ins and are predominantly played in hotel casinos in Las Vegas.

Players in OFC have 13 cards- 3 cards in their front hand, 5 cards in their middle hand, and the remaining five in their back hand. The back hand should be a higher ranking hand than the middle, and the middle higher ranking than the front. The goal of OFC is to gain more units (or points) than opponents by beating their rows (or hands), using classic Poker Hand Rankings, while not fouling (discussed below).


In traditional Chinese poker, players receive all thirteen cards at once. Open Face Chinese Poker approaches the deal slightly different. The dealer deals each player 5 cards ‘in the hole,’ then one at a time, until each player has 13 cards. All cards are dealt face-up to the players. The deal starts to the left of the dealer and passes clockwise. Some sources claim it is not necessary to immediately form rows during the deal, others claim that you must put a card in a row befoe receiving the next. However, all agree that once a card has been set in a row it cannot be moved. Legal hands gain six points plus possible royalties. If more than one player fouls, they cancel each other out, and do not lose or gain points at each other’s expense. Player’s act one at a time.


Fouling, or missetting, is simply an illegal hand that is tossed out of play. The back hand must be equal or greater in than the middle hand, and the middle equal or greater ranking than the front hand. If these stipulations are not met, the hand is fouled. Fouled hands lose six points (one point per row + three point scoop bonus). Players who foul may also lose extra points if their opponents have achieved royalties. However, fouled hands lose their possible royalties.


If a player has a QQX or higher front hand and does not foul, they are awarded special points, this is fantasyland. If a player reaches fantasyland, their next hand is dealt all at once, face-down. Their cards are not placed face-up until they act. Players can repeatedly reach fantasyland if their hand permits. However, if you make fantasyland while there, you must declare it to the table. More than one player may reach Fantasyland at a time. To stay in fantasyland while there, players must have:

Front: (Any) 3 of a Kind

Middle: Full House or greater

Back: Four of a Kind or greater

OR score 10 point royalty (or higher) in a ‘subhand’


This is a house rule often played in home games, not in a casino. If a player has a jack (high) in their back hand AND does not foul, they are to receive 20 units from their opponents.


Units (Points)

Open Face Chinese Poker is played for stakes in the form of units or points, this is an amount of money mutually agreed upon prior to starting the game.

Players receive a single unit from each player whose front, middle, or back hand is beaten by their corresponding row. Certain variations also allow players to get paid out an extra unit if they win two or three hands. Commonly, players only receive additional units if they win all three hands- this is called a scoop. Players may agree upon different stakes if played head-to-head. For example, Player X and Player Y place the value of a unit at $20, while Player Z and Player B play for $15 a unit.

1-6 Scoring Method

Most common scoring mechanism in OFC.

Players get:

1 unit for each hand won (over each player). 3 extra points if they win all three hands against another player (a scoop).

Players lose:

1 unit for each hand lost (to each player). 3 points lost for each player who scoops them.

Points are added and subtracted as the game plays. Points are all dependent on the number of players in the game (players beaten/players lost to). Royalty points, discussed below, are also dependent on the number of players in OFC.


Royalties are bonus points for particularly good hands.


Front Hand/Units                                     Middle Hand/Units                                           Back Hand/Units

6-6-X/1                                                        Three of a Kind/2                                                   Straight/2

7-7-X/2                                                              Straight/4                                                           Flush/4

8-8-X/3                                                                Flush/8                                                          Full House/6

9-9-X/4                                                            Full House/12                                                 Four of a Kind/10

10-10-X/5                                                     Four of a Kind/20                                              Straight Flush/15

J-J-X/6                                                         Straight Flush/30                                                 Royal Flush/25

Q-Q-X/7                                                         Royal Flush/50
















Royalty hands cancel each other out. For example, if Player V has 3-3-3-4-4 and Player W has 6-6-6-7-7, no player receives the royalties for a Full House, and Player W receives one point for winning the hand.






Nakoa Davis