As OFC Poker grows, so does the amount of tournaments that become available for it. As a result, the amount of players asking questions and seeking advice regarding tournament play is also on the increase, with many treating it like a whole new world. The truth is that a lot of OFC Poker tournament play is no different to other poker variants. The game itself is very different, of course, but as the tournaments tend to be structured in a similar way, the way you approach them is also similar.

In this article we’ll give you a few tips on playing tournaments of OFC Poker, tips that apply to all other poker variants as well, whether you’re playing Hold’em, Omaha, Draw or standard Chinese Poker.


OFC Poker games are often in a heads-up format, which means that two players are fighting it out, with the winner advancing to the next round and the loser dropping out. HU tournaments are common in all poker variants. A set number of players is allowed to join the tournament, often an even number. The players are then randomly paired and the first round begins. If there are odd numbers, then the odd player out gets a bye. Once you win, you wait for the first round to finish and are then paired with another player for the second round.

The trick to all heads-up tournaments is to play it slowly for the first few hands so that you can get a feel for your opponent, after all, for the next half hour or so, that opponent is all you need to think about. You should never look ahead, never check the tournament lobby and have thoughts like, “If I win this and then the next round, I’ll earn “xyc”. Keep money and thoughts of winning out of it and treat every game as if it was the final table.

If the player is tight and causing you trouble as a result, slowing things down, then just needle them. This might push them over the edge, and providing you don’t go overboard and are not offensive, it’s okay. If they are too loose, then tighten up. Frustration will get the better of them and they’ll either lose or will be forced to slow down.


In multi-table tournaments, which apply to all variants of poker, there is a way of playing that all pros adopt. You will notice that the tournament winners are never the ones who led the chip count early on. In fact, look at the winners of major poker tournaments and you will find that their chips are average or less in the early rounds. This is because you need to play it tight through these rounds. Once you get to the bubble, which is when everyone else will tighten, then you need to loosen up. Play fast and hard. Take risks. The vast majority of the time they will fold and give you the pot, because they don’t want to drop out so close to being ITM. The truth is that beating the bubble barely even doubles your money, so it’s not worth missing out on the opportunity to triple your chip count for such a feeble return. The shock of seeing you transition will also throw many of the other players who will automatically assume you have great cards for the first few hands.


One of the main things to consider in all forms of poker is your budget. Never play beyond your means, because that will lead to heavy losses, to frustration and then to more heavy losses. You need to think like a professional player, and not like a gambler. Many gamblers will loosen up when they are on a losing streak, letting frustration take over and losing more as a result. You need to do the opposite. Lower your stake, tighten your play. If you are winning, at which point many gamblers would take the money and run, then you can loosen up a bit. Don’t lose everything you have won, but use that luck and that confidence gained from winning to take you even further.


All of the best tournament players have a bankroll, and it is this that helps them decide when to increase their stake and when to lower it. Your bankroll shouldn’t be your savings or everything you own, it should be an amount you are comfortable losing, but an amount that will get you through enough tournaments to last you 6 months or a year. If your bank roll is $20,000, consider playing tournaments of $300 a go. If it is just $1,000, aim for $20 or so. Never blow it on a handful of tournaments and never let a bad beat trigger your anger and cause you to make a stupid move. In fact, to stop this, many players limit themselves to a weekly bankroll.


The main ability you need for a game of poker is patience. If you do not have it, then you can not become a successful poker player. All variants of poker require it, some more than others, and this is needed most in tournament play. In Hold’em you will have to fold hand after hand, not playing and watching others play before you sometimes for hours on end. In OFC Poker you will have to play hands that don’t win you any points and don’t get you anywhere, you will have you play poor players that don’t know what they are doing, going through the motions with them rather than knocking them out straight away. In all of these games you will need to sit for hours on end, playing the same game hand after hand. This will sound tedious to may players, but if you love the game and if your head is in the game, then it won’t. That is what poker is all about after all, and if you can’t spend your days, weeks and months playing this game, then you will struggle to make it as a poker professional.

One of the best ways you can advance your game is to talk to other players. This applies to all games, but especially to poker, where bouncing ideas off of other players can be crucial to the learning process. This is what the best players do, which is why you will find poker professionals on many message boards out there, and why many of them have even created their own message boards.

So, with that in mind, where are the best boards to improve your knowledge of the game?

TwoPlusTwo: This is one of the most popular poker forums on the internet. It is a little heavy on advertising for our liking, but for a site that doesn’t charge any sort of fee and doesn’t sell a product, it only makes sense. They need to make their money and pay their bills somehow. You can find videos, tips and more on the TwoPlusTwo forum, and we would advise that you have a good luck around before you join. There is a lot to catch up on, so read through the many forums and the posts, covering everything from the Poker Video section to Beginners Question. If you think you’re good enough to go deep in the biggest tournaments but you don’t have the money to put up a stake, you can also visit the Staking section and get someone to stake you.

Poker Strategy: This is the place to learn all about strategy, with many different poker variants covered. There is less of a focus on additional topics here, with everyone talking about poker hands, moves, tournament play, cash play and more. Poker may seem like a simple game at first, but there are many ways to approach it and play it, which is why even the best players who have been playing for decades are still learning the game and picking up bits of strategy as they do.

CardsChat: The focus is very wide on this message board, and the many poker networks and sites are also discussed in more detail. This is useful, because whilst the game is the same, there is a huge difference between a game of Hold’em on Pokerstars and a game of Hold’em on 888 Poker. Of course, OFC Poker is our main focus on this site, and on Cards Chat you will also find some discussions relating to this up-and-coming variant, although these discussion are not as widely available and as extensive as they are for the other, more popular, variants.

Poker Forums: Although considered a smaller community, there are still 20,000 members or so on this site, with a wealth of topics open for discussion. At any given time this site has hundreds of members viewing, and even during off-peak times you will find between 50 and 100 people browsing and posting. Again, this is not as much as some of the other sites on this list, but those limited numbers and that smaller community is just what some players are looking for.

Open-Face Chinese Poker is on the rise, with more amateurs and professionals taking to this game and learning how to master it. There are also more online and offline Open-Face Chinese Poker tournaments than ever before and the future is bright for this exciting variant.

With that in mind, and with so many players keen to learn, we have discussed some simple strategies and tips below.

Pay Attention to your Opponent

Just like in blackjack, Open-Face Chinese Poker involves paying as much attention to your opponent’s cards as your own. In Open-Face Chinese Poker your own cards are just a little more important than those held by your opponent, but don’t ignore them. You need to watch how their hands develop so that you know which hands you can sacrifice and which hands you need to make stronger. Open-Face Chinese Poker is all about building three winning hands, weakening one hand in order to strengthen another and so on. There is a very fine line between success and defeat, but if you pay close attention to what your opponent is doing, then you can straddle that line safely.

Start Small

You might think that there isn’t a lot of risk involved with Open-Face Chinese Poker and therefore you might increase your stake. After all, it’s a points based system and you’ll probably get enough points of your own to make sure that you don’t lose too much money, right? Not really. It is not uncommon for things to go very bad for you, as they can do in any variant of poker, and if you have set the value for 1 point very high, then you will lose a lot of money when things do turn ugly.

Make your first few games and your first few tournaments your practice games. Bet low and see the games more as a way to learn strategies and to gain experience than a way to win money. Once you get good and once you begin to make some cash, you can increase the amount you are playing for. When you have played the game for a good length of time and are confident with it, then you can play for an amount that will really make things interesting.

Don’t Ignore the Front Hand

Many players tend to ignore the front hand, stick a few high cards there and not paying any attention to it at all. This is a huge mistake, but you can also use the fact that other players will ignore it to your advantage, securing a win by putting a decent hand up there. Obviously you can’t just stick a super strong hand up there, because if you don’t have stronger hands below then you will foul and you will lose everything. Make sure you have created strong hands elsewhere and then focus your attention on the front hand and on something that is better than a simple high card. Most of the time this will guarantee you a win and if your luck is in then you could get a clean sweep and the bonus points that go along with it.

We spent a large part of our poker career playing Hold’em, as many poker players did. This is a very simple game though and when you have enough bad beats, enough drop-outs, you get a little tired of the game. After all, playing a game for severe hours straight, sometimes as much as 10 or 15, and getting nothing out of it in the end, can be as little tiring.

That’s where we were so excited when we discovered OFC Poker, as excited as we had been back when we first started played OFC Poker. As much as we love OFC Poker though, we’re always on the lookout for new poker variants, and in the last year or so, we’ve played them all extensively. Because of that, we feel that we’re well placed to tell you the best ones.

So, excluding Chinese Poker and Hold’em, which are the best poker variants out there?

6. Three Card Poker

More commonly found on electronic machines and on the gambling floor, than in poker rooms and on poker software, three card poker has seen a resurgence in recent years. The player plays against the deal, both of whom receive three cards, after the player makes an ante bet. This is a fairly simply game, but the beauty lies in the quick turnover and the fact that a solid strategy and some sound poker knowledge can go a long way.


If you want the ultimate test of skill, then this is it. This is not so much a poker variant, as a combination of them. The beauty here is that you will play a handful of different poker games in one tournament, which means that balanced players are rewarded. The beauty of these tournaments is that whilst a particular player might be strong in one game, he could fall to pieces in the next. The trick is to be a jack of all trades.

The games involved in HORSE are Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, Razz, Seven-Card Stud and Eights to Better. If you want a true test of skill, you can play eight game mixes, ten game mixes, twelve game mixes and even thirteen game mixes, but excluding the addition of Badugi, which we will discuss shortly, HORSE has all of the variety that you need for a true test of skill.

4. Real Estate

This is a unique and somewhat strange game that we have only played a couple of times and are told is only available in a handful of casinos int he deep south of the US. The player is dealt a single card, with three more laid face down in the middle of the table. Each of these cards is given a value by the dealer, before two more are placed. This is far from an easy game to just pickup and play, but there is a lot of fun to be had here and if you have some time on your hands, we would recommend giving it a go.

3. Omaha Pot Limit

Omaha is the second most popular poker variant currently available. It doesn’t get as much attention as Texas Hold’em, but for every 1,000 players jumping into a Hold’em tournament, you’ll get about 100 in an Omaha tournament. This game is at its most popular as Pot Limit, but it can be played in other forms.

Omaha uses a simile setup to Hold’em, only with four cards instead of two. There are five community cards and the goal is to make the best five card hand, but the difference here is that you have to use two of the cards in your hand and two of the cards on the table in front of you.

2. 5 Card Draw

This is far from a “rare” poker game, as this was the game played by Wild Bill and friends in the Old West. This is also the variant you will find on video poker machines, and the one that was commonly associated with the game of poker for many decades. However, it was never as popular as Texas Hold’em and these days it is almost non existent.

For us, there is no better way to combine skill, knowledge and patience. Hold’em relies a little too much on luck for our liking, and whilst bad beats and big letdowns are possible in 5 Card Draw, we feel that this variant is a little more forgiving in that regard. The only issue we have with 5 Card Draw, and the only reason it isn’y number 1 on this list, is that it’s a very slow and boring game when played heads-up.


We had heard of this game a couple of years before we tried it, as it just never seemed that appealing. However, as soon as we sat down to play a tournament, we were hooked. We’re not the only ones either, as there are many Badugi lovers out there in the poker world, including a number of poker professionals such as Daniel Negreanu.

Badugi is a very simple game, but one where skill is greatly rewarded. The goal of the game is to get a “Badugi” with your four cards. This is where you have a card from each suite. There are some important rules though, namely that you can’t have two cards of the same value and that the lower cards will also bat the higher ones. therefore, A, 2, 3, 4 of different suits will beat A, 3, 4, 5 of different suits, whereas the same hand with only three suits will lose to any hand that contains all four suits, regardless of their value. As in Draw games, you are allowed to change your cards in Badugi. You can do this three times, with a round of betting on each.

If you think that this sounds like your sort go thing, then head for Pokerstars, where you will find the best games of Badugi currently available. We have yet to find it elsewhere online, but if you know of a place feel free to get in touch. Badugi can be played Fixed Limit or No Limit, but we prefer the latter.

Whether you’re new to the game of Chinese Poker or are seeking to increase your knowledge of it, this article should help. We have been playing all forms of Chinese Poker for some time now and have pooled our knowledge and experience into this article, where you will find some tips to help you win at Chinese Poker, Open-Face Chinese Poker and other variants. This is a big game and there are a lot of nuances and intricacies to it, but these tips will help to turn you into a winning player.

1. Don’t Get Scooped

A scoop is when you win all three hands, and applies to most forms of Chinese Poker, including OFC Poker. In some forms of Chinese Poker this awards bonus points, but in all of them it gives the scooper a huge boost. Because of this, you should try your best to ensure that your opponent never scoops you. It’s easy to give-up on a hand and in most forms of poker it won’t matter how bad you lose, as losing is equal. However, in Chinese Poker you need to lose by as little as possible, because one game makes a huge difference in the long run. If you think your opponent has you on a couple of hands, then do what you can to secure one hand, regardless of what it is. This way, not only will you win that hand and the points that go with it, but you will also stop your opponent from getting a scoop.

2. Play Pairs Properly

Whilst small pairs won’t do you any good for back hands, they make a very solid middle hand and will almost certainly win a high hand. For the high hand, it’s easy to stick with high cards and spread the pairs and other hands elsewhere, but if you’re strong enough elsewhere and can get a pair into your high hand, then you’re looking good. Never undervalue a pair for the high hand and the middle hand, but at the same time, don’t overvalue them when it comes to a back hand.

3. Play Bonus Hands Where Possible

In Chinese Poker, bonus hands are crucial to your success. You should never chase these hands as it can be dangerous to do so, but there are moments when you can play them without harming your hand and your chances of winning. The key is to always watch out for bonus hands and to be prepared to play them when doing so is safe.

4. Scoop When You Can

We have already mentioned how important it is to avoid being scooped, but at the same time, you should try and scoop your opponent where possible. Take advantage of the times when they have poor cards and — out of frustration — make bad hands. When you sense such an occasion, try and spread your value around so you can get a clean sweep. The points that this brings can give you a huge boost and will go a long way to helping you win the whole thing.

5. Stick to the Rules

Chinese Poker variants are more complicated than Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Draw and other more common forms of poker. It is very easy, therefore, for inexperienced players to stumble over the simplest of rules and to make costly mistakes. This is not one of those games that you can jump straight into and learn as you go. For instance, if you don’t understand the value of each hand and create stronger hands where you are supposed to create weaker hands, then you will forfeit your entire hand and give a huge victory to your opponent. This will not be the end of the game, but one such victory will provide a significant point boost to an opponent who will have an easy run from then on. The rules about hand values are simple, but you would be surprised how many players get them mixed up.

6. Don’t Undervalue Flushes

In Chinese Poker, you will undoubtedly try to make a back hand that is considerably strong than a flush. This is advisable, as a flush is rarely good enough to win the back hand, not when everything from 4-of-a-kind and full-houses can end your hopes of winning. Because of this, many inexperienced players will dismiss flushes instantly, but this can be detrimental, as a flush will work wonders as a middle hand. In fact, if you can get a flush in the middle and get something stronger in the back hand, then you’re on course for a big win. If you can top all of that off with a pair or stronger for your final hand, then you should be looking at a clean sweep.

7. Create a Realistic Bankroll

This applies to all forms of poker, but it can be more important in Chinese Poker as remaining within a budget is a little harder. You need to decide how much you can afford to lose and then put that money to one side. When gambling, many players choose to top-up their accounts weekly or even daily, but if you want to make it as a poker player then you need to learn how to stick with a bankroll that remains as it is when it was created, and is only topped-up when you win. After all, your main goal is to win and to be a profitable player.

An acceptable bankroll amount depends on your expendable income and the amount that you are comfortable losing (you should never assume victory). A typical bankroll for someone earning $50,000 a year, with $2,000 of expandable income left over every month (after bills are paid) would be between $300 and $1,500, with the latter amount accounting for dedicated players who are going to spend a lot of time learning and playing Chinese Poker and therefore want an amount that will justify that time.