The Rules of Chinese Open Face Poker
A poker game growing in popularity on the Professional Poker Tour is Chinese Open face poker. You can catch many of the big name players playing high stake games in their trailers or in casino lobbies while waiting out times to play tourney’s and cash games.
The rules of this game are quite simple in premise but when put into practice create extreme variations in winning hands. The game is played with 2, 3 or 4 players with each player being dealt a total of 13 cards. This means with 4 players all the cards are dealt. The game seems to be most difficult with 3 players because there are still 13 possible live cards which are not seen by anyone.
Position in this form of poker is extremely important. That being the person who is last to act has an very big advantage because they are able to see all cards in play up until the point they make a decision.
The object of the game is to make three poker hands with the 13 cards you receive. The back a five card hand, which must be the best hand you have. The middle is another five card hand, which must be your second best hand. And finally, the Front which is a three card hand and must be the worst poker hand you hold. The player must concentrate first on making sure all their hands are in order of strength or they risk fouling out. If you foul you must pay 4 units to each of the other players.
Betting in Chinese Poker is the easiest part with a dollar amount assigned to each unit. Players wager any amount they wish to assign to each unit as long as all players are in agreement before the start of play. It is not unusual to see the likes of Ivey and Helmuth playing for $1,000.00 for each unit.
To begin the game each player is dealt five cards face down and the player who is to the left of the dealer is first to act. This player must then position all five of their cards in the back, middle or front hand and these cards are locked in position for the balance of the deal. Once each player has completed positioning the first five cards the additional cards are dealt out to each player one at a time.
When the next card is dealt the player must decide on a position for that card and it is locked for the balance of the deal. The players continue to position cards keeping in mind the value of their hands and the value of the opponents’ hands.
Scoring is in four forms; first you must make sure your hands are in the correct order of strength or you must pay 3 units, the equivalent to the scoop bonus, to each of the other players. Secondly you receive one point for each of your hands which beat your opponents and if you win all three hands you receive what is called the scoop bonus for three units. The fourth method of winning is called Royalties in which you receive a number of units based on the hand and its position.
Royalties can vary from game to game and there are many different house rules. Another variation is called fantasyland whereby winning with Queens or better in the top position allows you to receive all thirteen of your cards down and you can order them all together. Just be sure to agree on all the rules before you start and enjoy the game.