December 1, 2013
No one plays Five-O-Poker just once. The game transforms Texas Hold ‘em into addictive experience players can’t walk away from. It’s a lot like 2011, when the high-stakes world went wild over the invention of Open-face Chinese Poker (OFC). They haven’t looked back, and the successful ones share many of the same skills that make a winning Five-O-Poker player.
Both reward the ability to quickly and easily make decisions. That’s critical because of the large number of cards involved. The games start the same way, with five cards dealt to each player in the first round. Then, Five-O-Poker goes full speed ahead, dealing five cards in each additional round until each player has 25.
It’s a little different in OFC where after the first round, players get their cards one at a time for a total of 13. Instead of five rows, the OFC player organizes his hands into two rows of five cards, and one of three.
Players have a lot more information to work with in these face up versions of the game than in more traditional poker. Knowing what’s in your opponent’s hand puts you under constant pressure to figure out what the best move is based on that knowledge. That component is left out of the game in Texas Hold ’em, where none of the cards is visible unless the hand goes to showdown.
When all the cards are dealt, the hands are measured up in the same way. Each row is judged against your opponent’s corresponding row, and the majority wins: best three out of five in Five-O-Poker, best two out of three in OFC. Unlike Five-O-Poker, which awards the winner with a pre-set number of chips, OFC is based on a point system which vary based on bonuses.
Here to Stay
It’s easy to see why these fast-paced games have become so popular. They’re easy to learn, but playing well involves extreme focus, trying out different strategies and experience. At the same time, there’s enough luck involved to allow a first time player to beat a pro, game after game. The learning never ends in Five-O-Poker and OFC, and skill pays off in the long run. It did for poker pro Jason Mercier who won $62,940 in an OFC tournament this year. Mercier was obsessed with the game, and wrote about an intense session, telling blog followers, “I played for 34 hours straight, then slept for nine hours, then played for another 20 hours.”