I've been playing this a lot recently, and it seems I can only win if I get lucky with long-odds strategies. If I plod along with the odds I go down in flames. Are there better strategies available?
It is a lot about strategy and there are also a lot of other variations, like Pineapple Open Face Chinese.
You can also read a lot about Open Face Chinese Strategy on TwoPlusTwo
I just tried the game a few days and tried to learn some strategies but for me it's a fun game but way too complicated to start playing it seriously.
Since it's a pretty new game for most of us people didn't have the time to come up with good strategies (or at least no one is sharing them).
Like Barry Greenstein said in an interview "I've lost a lot of money to find out new ways of playing the game by playing it, and I'm not gonna just give away for free what I've learned by losing my own money."
If you are more than 2 players the game can be quite complicated, because you have to calculate the odds of hitting the card you want all the time and change your board setup according to the draws that where made. If you are a total newbie and play against someone used to doing the math and changing his strategy according to what has been drawn, the more advanced player will win in the long run.
Another thing that is important is to understand what the player will try to achieve and try beat his board with the right odds in mind.
There's a factor of luck involved of course.