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Strategy with Kristy: Nikolai Yakovenko Discusses Pineapple Open-Face Chinese Poker

On this week's episode of Strategy with Kristy podcast, host Kristy Arnett talks to poker player and app creator Nikolai Yakovenko about Pineapple Open-Face Chinese Poker. Pineapple OFC is a variation of open-face Chinese poker. The first five cards are dealt and placed just as in regular OFC, but in subsequent draws, players get dealt three cards instead of just one. In turn, each player places two of the three cards in any of his or her available rows before discarding the third one face down.

Here is a snippet from the interview:

In general, a lot of the same open-face Chinese poker rules apply when setting your first five cards in pineapple. The biggest different, by far, is to keep in mind that you're just much more likely to get the cards that you want. Say you're going for a flush. You're going to play three flush cards on the bottom whether you're playing pineapple or regular OFC, but your chances of making a flush go from maybe something like a little less than 50 percent to 80 percent. You're almost twice as likely to make your hand. That's more or less true. So what that means is, if you have the cards to go for a big bonus, you play them.

Also, something else that's a little more subtle is that the game favors more flexible settings. So a great setting in pineapple is playing {7-}{8-} suited in the back, a two-card straight flush, because you have so many options. You can immediately make two pair or three of a kind or you can draw to a straight or a flush. You're basically 100 percent to make one of these hands.

OFC rules and strategy have been contributed by Nikolai Yakovenko. Known as "Googles,"Yakovenko is originally from Moscow, Russia and is now a poker player and software developer that resides in Brooklyn, New York. After several years at Google New York working on ranking algorithms, he's been developing independent software projects ever since. On his poker record, Yakovenko has made both World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour final tables. He also helped create the ABC Open-Face Chinese Poker iPhone App, which is where the sceenshots are from. The Pineapple version of the app is currently in beta, but will be available to the public soon. You can follow Yakovenko on Twittter at @ivan_bezdomny.

Tune in every week for new episodes of Strategy with Kristy. Feel free to send in questions, ideas or suggestions for the podcast to Also remember to follow Kristy Arnett and PokerNews on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.

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