Pineapple Poker is a comparing card game in the Poker family. It is a sister game to Texas Hold’em, sharing virtually all of its rules. There is one key difference between Texas Hold’em and Pineapple, which will be explained in the immediate section below.
Pineapple Poker is largely considered a more casual game, even though its rules are very similar to Hold’em games. For this reason, the game does not get widespread recognition, though it is a fun twist on Texas Hold’em.
How to Play Pineapple Poker?
Pineapple Poker is played in almost all ways as though it is a normal game of Texas Hold’em. A Dealer is chosen, the Big and Small blinds are determined and pay out their requisite blind. The key difference between Pineapple and Texas Hold’em comes during the pre-flop.
In Pineapple, Players are dealt 3 private cards as the Big and Small blind are paid. Before other Players match the Big Blind in order to play, they are required to discard one of the three cards from their hand. Otherwise, they may just fold.
This is the key distinction between Pineapple and Texas Hold’em. This additional personal card gives Players more choice over the hand they will bring into the Showdown, and improves the odds of having a strong starting hand by being dealt an additional card.
After this initial Pre-flop period is over, the game is indistinguishable from any other game of Texas Hold’em.
- Players bet before the Flop, Turn, and River as normal, with the normal betting positions of Fold, Check, and Bet/Call/Raise.
- The Player with the highest ranking card according to the traditional Poker hand hierarchy wins the pot generated by each Player betting.
- The cards are shuffled, the Dealer and Blind buttons are moved over, and a new game begins.
The Pineapple Poker rules can be summarized as follows:
- The game follows the normal rules of Texas Hold’em, except for the Pre-Flop deal.
- The normal Poker hierarchy is followed, the normal value of cards in Hold’em (Aces being both high and low), and Players all follow the normal betting positions of Poker.
- Players must discard one of the three cards they are dealt at the start of the game. Otherwise, they must fold.
Pineapple Poker Starting Hands
Unlike in Texas Hold’em, the best possible starting hand in Pineapple may not necessarily be a starting hand full of components.
For example, having a K♠ and Q♠ in the hand in Texas Hold’em is a very powerful starting hand. However, the equivalent in Pineapple would actually be actively bad for you.
For example, if you were dealt K♠ Q♠ A♠ in your opening hand. This is actually a very bad hand in Pineapple. As one of the cards must be discarded, you are forced to remove one of the components of this potentially pot-winning hand from the game.
As Poker is traditionally played with only one deck, there are no other copies of the card in the game and therefore it cannot appear in the Flop, Turn, or River.
The best starting hands in Pineapple would then be a versatile hand, that allows for real choice.
For Example, Ace Ace King.
- With two Aces and a King, you are given the choice of running with the Ace-King high, or the Pair of Aces.
- The Pair of Aces may pick up a 3rd Ace, for a very strong three-kind, or the Ace-King may pick up a 10-J-Q from the community cards, for a strong straight.
- If they are all the same suit, than even better and the possibility for a straight flush exists.
The best starting hands in Pineapple Poker, like the one demonstrated above, allow for the possibility of a strong hand regardless of the card that is discarded.
Pineapple Poker has a number of different variations which can change the gameplay significantly. As a more casual game intended for playing amongst friends, it has evolved over the years as certain house rules were added onto the game’s basic ruleset.
The three most popular of these variants are Crazy Pineapple, Lazy Pineapple, and Super Hold’em.
Crazy Pineapple is a very interesting version of the game. Players keep their third hole-card dealt at the start of the game until the Turn. This means Players are allowed to see the way Players are betting with their three cards during the Pre-Flop and Flop.
Further, Players are allowed to see the whole Flop before they decide which card to discard.
This allows Players to make even stronger hands than in normal Poker, as you will be given an additional card and do not have to choose which to discard until you have seen the majority of the community cards.
Lazy Pineapple is even more game-changing than Crazy Pineapple. Players do not discard their third hole-card until immediately before the Showdown.
Players follow all of the normal procedure of Poker, with all its associated betting rounds, with this additional hole card in their hand.
After the River has been dealt, and Players are able to see all of the cards available to them before they decide which of their three cards in the hand to discard.
Players should be able to form even stronger hands than in Crazy Pineapple, due to this additional flexibility with their three hole-cards.
Super Texas Hold’em is very similar to Pineapple Poker and its variations. Players are also dealt three hole-cards. However, Players do not discard any of their hole cards at any point during the game.
Instead, Players are able to hold onto all of their cards all the way into the Showdown. However, a Player’s final Poker hand for the Showdown must have at least one of their hole-cards incorporated.
Imagine the following are your three cards dealt in a game of Pineapple:
10♠ A♦ 9♠
Since in regular Pineapple you must discard your third hole card before the Flop has been dealt, there is a difficult choice to be made here.
Players can discard the 9, for a hand with 10 and Ace. This is probably overall a strong hand, as it has the opportunity for a high-ranking straight, though not a Royal Flush. Further, by keeping the Ace, there is a chance that another Ace appears in the community, providing a pair of Aces which is a usable hand.
However, as hands are going to be greater on average in Pineapple, a single pair of Aces may not be enough to win the Showdown.
As such, it might be wise to save the 9 and 10. Not only are they two components of a high-ranking straight, but they are both the same suit. The 9 and 10 can form a flush, a straight, a straight flush, or even a Royal Flush if the community cards are lucky.
Since there is more versatility in the 9 and 10, discarding the Ace is probably the optimal move.
- Although each variation is slightly different, all of the Pineapple games use the normal Poker hierarchy. Learn regular Texas Hold’em very well, and you will be a good Pineapple Player. When playing variations, it is important to understand the original game which it derives from.
- The hands in Pineapple variations are on average going to be slightly better than in regular Texas Hold’em. More cards will be dealt from the deck, and as such the odds of certain cards being in the community are higher than in regular Texas Hold’em. For this reason, try to bluff or fold if you only have a measly pair or two-pair to go into the Showdown with. You might get lucky, but the odds are not statistically in your favor in such a circumstance.