History of Open-Face Chinese Poker

Open-Face Chinese Poker, which is often referred to by the abbreviation OFC, is a Chinese poker variant that is believed to have began in Finland as little as a decade ago. Poker, and in particular Texas Hold’em, was already in full swing by then and becoming popular all over the world thanks to professional players such as Daniel Negreanu, Phill Hellmuth and Phill Ivey; huge competitions such as the World Series of Poker; films such as Rounders; and online poker sites such as Pokerstars and FullTilt. Other variants also got in on the act, but none proved as popular as Hold’em, that is until OFC came around.

OFC crept out of Finland not so long after it was introduced and it made its way into Russia, where it was quickly adopted by Russian poker pros and high stakes gamblers. Alexander Kravchenko, who is a regular on the WPT and EPT and also has a WSOP bracelet to his name, is credited with introducing the game to his compatriots and helping it to spread.

It wasn’t until 2012 that OFC made it to the United States where it was embraced as readily as it had been in Russia.The big name players mentioned above all now play this game on a regular basis, as do many other poker superstars. OFC’s popularity has seen a number of Las Vegas casinos open their tables to this game and there is also talk of it becoming a regular feature on a number of the big tours. 

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History of Open-Face Chinese Poker

OFC is typically a high stakes game, but mainly because it was adopted by the high stakes players before the general public and the micro stakers got onboard. As time has moved on, and as the game has been accepted throughout the poker world, it is now common for games to open for as little as $1 per point.

OFC is promising because the poker games of today have been around for generations, whereas OFC is new and exciting. Texas Hold’em, for instance, had a boom in popularity around the turn of the millennia, but the game itself has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Badugi, another variant that is becoming increasingly popular in the modern age, is believed to have been invented in the 1960s. OFC is taking off like Hold’em did, and today’s OFC champions can say they were there during the beginning, that they saw the birth of this great game and they were one of the first champions.

It’s also an incredibly fun game to play. You don’t need to read players like you do in Hold’em or other standard variants, and there is no bluffing involved as all of your cards are already laid out in front of you. It’s very much a case of what you see is what you get, but the skill lies in the way you arrange those cards. The difficultly comes from the fact that there are seemingly endless plays, so although there is no player manipulation, no bluffing and no “reading” involved, it is still very much a game that can not be won and lost on paper, a game for which you can not pen the perfect algorithm.

OFC may not entice every Texas Hold’em player to quit their day job, but it’s there to be enjoyed and appreciated as a separate game, for those who want to take a break from Hold’em and Omaha, and for those who want to enjoy something a little different whilst sticking with the same poker principles of skill, knowledge and luck that they are so familiar with.