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Is OFC Solvable - Article

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  1. #1

    Default Is OFC Solvable - Article

    For more information on upcoming product releases, articles, and promotions, check out

    A lot of people are wondering if OFC is a solvable game. The short answer is yes, there is one finite solution to any question you can ask, or decision you can have. But this is true of all games, including NLHE and even PLO. There are three key reasons as to why it’s easier to solve OFC and more important to play “GTO” than in other games like NLHE, where playing exploitative should make you more money.

    1) No hidden information – no hole cards or ranges that can be manipulated to create “value” through deception. Your “hand” is always face up and therefore they know your average hand strength. In other games where you have hole cards, you often get away without showing a hand, and therefore your opponents either a) do not collect any information about your hand and therefore your range, or b) make assumptions about your hand/range that can be wrong or inconclusive. Therefore it takes a significantly longer time figure out what strategy someone is using, and how to exploit it, or how to copy it. In OFC, a new player could pick up tons of new strategies and information about the best strategy from your play in just a couple hands. You can’t hide your strategy from them at all, therefore people are likely to pick up on winning strategies, and all strategies will converge to GTO very fast.

    Luckily people still make their own decisions. If they like to make fun (bad) gambles, they will continue to do so, even if they suspect it is the wrong play. Also, players can be in denial over which play is better, since not everyone is using an EV calculator, or other ways, to prove a solution to a situation. One other factor I have noticed in live OFC is that people call you a wuss if you don’t make some of the common bad gambles, so peer pressure (and boredom) may induce bad play, and keep it around much longer than in an online environment.

    2) The play that gives you the average highest hand strength is the GTO play – Where you play a card reflects your hand strength. So playing a card outside of the GTO way, will likely end up weakening your hand in a specific way.
    For instance, the classic gamble-gamble QQ up top too early, severely increases foul chances, thus weakening average hand strength drastically. If you are going to foul more frequently than when you hit the 7+FL (11.5), you have an effectively weaker hand.
    Some quick math:
    -6(X) + (7+1+11.5)(1-X) = 0
    19.5 = 25.5X
    X = 76.5%
    In most classic Fantasyland (FL) gambles, you need to foul much less than 76.5% of the time in order for the gamble to be worth it. I say much less, because if you make a breakeven FL gamble, and the alternative was winning a point (middle and bottom) or winning royalties, than the alternative that you sacrificed is much more valuable than the 0 EV FL gamble you chose. Just like in other poker games, you can make a +EV decision that is the wrong decision.

    3) Complex situations can be quickly simplified – If you have played a bit of OFC, you know what I am talking about. While there are 10^45 unique ways for the game to play out, many situations can be solved using similar techniques. The simple odds chart is a great example. If you know you have 8 outs and 4 cards to come, you know how often you will make your hand (69% on the button head-up), and can therefore apply a general strategy to that situation. Combine outs counting, odds charts, and pattern-recognition together, we find ourselves in a much less complex environment than previously thought.

    Also, just like in 5-card draw, once the hand is over we don’t care about suits, we care about hand rankings. In 5-card poker there are 2.59 million unique hands but only 7,462 different ways to rank them (ie. Ks,Ts,8s,4s,2s is the same as Kd,Td,8d,4d,2d and 2c,2h,4d,9s,Jd is the same as 2s,2h,4s,9s,Js). So while suits and flush draws are important throughout the course of some hands, they are not relevant at all times, and are completely irrelevant at the end of a hand. In other words, all that matters is whether or not you made a flush, not what suit it was in.
    The human mind is a natural at recognizing patterns and applying pattern recognition techniques to similar in-game situations in order to make split second decisions. This is part of what makes the game so fun. But just because there are 10^45 unique ways for the game to play out, doesn’t mean the game is unsolvable. At least 95% of the game, all of the common paths and common situations, can be solved in a very short period of time, while the less common paths, the remaining 5%, could take a bit longer to map out.

    And this, of course, is the purpose of my EV Calculator: to solve OFC (hence I also plan to present the solutions to you in a clean and organized manner to help you understand which decision is the best decision. And down the road I hope to be able to create quiz’s or tactics trainer questions, that help gauge your skill level while simultaneously improving your skill level. Once you have these tools in your arsenal, you should be able to answer any OFC question, become a master at the game, and use your acquired skills and intuition to beat your opponents.

    For more information on upcoming product releases, articles, and promotions, including our Dec 13 launch date of our EV Calculator, check out

  2. #2
    Eric's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    California, USA
    I hope to be able to create quiz’s or tactics trainer questions, that help gauge your skill level while simultaneously improving your skill level.
    This sounds cool - we want to add quiz questions here in a sticky thread. A quiz is often the quickest way for me to learn something.
  3. #3
    Right now my EV calculator isn't quite up and running, but I have a PlayWarren subscription we can use to analyze some spots. It's just not the most accurate calculator, so it's tough to trust, especially early game. But I will throw up some questions and solutions from PlayWarren in a little bit, keep the educational juices flowing, while I work on getting more accurate solutions with my own calculator.

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