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Updated: July 9, 2023

How to Play Pineapple Poker? – Pocket52

Sometimes the world of poker and its multitude of variants seem like a little too much to know about. But this variant is a fun one. Trust us! If you’ve had too much of the same old Texas Hold’em, maybe it’s time you try the very exciting variation of poker called Pineapple Poker. Pineapple poker has many different variations, namely: Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple, Pineapple Open Face Chinese Poker, and Crazy Pineapple Hi/Lo 8 or better.

Pineapple poker is very similar to Texas Holdem poker and Omaha Poker. So it is important that you are savvy with the rules of Texas Hold’em and Omaha Poker first. The most basic difference is that in Pineapple poker, players start with three-hole cards.

There is also another poker variant called crazy pineapple. And what makes it crazy. That we will talk about in the rest of the article. Pineapple poker and crazy pineapple poker are a little different in the beginning, but towards the end, they are pretty much the same.

How to Play Pineapple Poker? 

Just like in the game of Texas Hold’em Poker, the small and the big blinds are posted by the two players to the left of the dealer button respectively. In case you forgot, the blinds are the forced bets players post before the deal. The similarities between Texas Hold’em and Pineapple Poker end at this point. 

As we mentioned earlier, in pineapple poker, the players are dealt three-hole cards to begin the game, unlike Texas Hold’em

Now comes the exciting part of the game and the crux of how to play Pineapple Poker. 

Before the betting starts each player is expected to remove one hole card out of the three. You read that right. The player will have to choose which of his three cards, he would like to discard. Now, each player is left with two hole cards, which is similar to the game of Texas Hold’em. 

The rest of the game follows the flow of Texas Hold’em. After a round of betting, the Flop is dealt face up, and then another betting round, and then the turn. And yes, you guessed it, another round of betting before the river. 

The difference lies in the weight of the hand rankings. But the gameplay is pretty similar to Hold’em until the end.

Now, what about Crazy Pineapple Poker?

What makes the game crazy is that you only discard one out of the three-hole cards, after the flop betting round. So, you have more time and more information to make your decision.

Pineapple Poker Strategy

Now this game involves a different type of strategy than Texas Hold’em. In fact, you might borrow the thought process of Omaha Poker (hence, why we called this variation similar to it). And we will explain why.

There is something important about the third card in your hand – it means that this card is not in your opponent’s hand, nor will it appear on the board.

So, imagine you hold trips in the pre-flop, your probability of hitting a quad or four of a kind becomes zero, and hitting a three of a kind even more unlikely. This is a game-changer.

Every player who is sitting with you at the table will choose his two-hole cards with a higher probability in mind, making the quality of the hands at play, higher than in Texas Hold’em. So, if there is a possible flush with three suited cards on board, chances are that there is a player who has it.

You have to assume that the probability of players having a pair in their hand is higher than expected. So, it’s critical to adjust for more sets and full houses. That is why you have to be ready to fold better hands than you might otherwise in Hold’em.

NOTE: In Pineapple the chances of hitting a set on the board are higher than in Hold’em – by a tiny fraction.

How Should a Player Approach the Pineapple Poker?

So how should a player approach the game? That is when you need to start thinking like an Omaha player. 

You need to look for hands that are connected, either by value or by suit. High pairs are without a doubt always a good starting hand but lower pairs can be tricky to play as you can mostly only win by hitting a set. Remember that. 

The reason for this is something we have already mentioned. There is one card from your hand that is already out of the game. While it might not be relevant for your game, that probability can never completely be taken out of account. In general, don’t play too many hands just in the hope to hit something on the flop. Be very comfortable folding your hands. 

PRO TIP: The strongest combination for pineapple is a pair of aces followed by a third card which is suited. A pair of aces with a suited third card is the strongest combination for Pineapple poker. Interestingly, an Ao-As-Ts and even an Ao-As-5s are a little stronger than Ao-As-Ks

Here’s a quick look at some crucial differences between Texas Hold’em and all the versions of Pineapple listed here.


Texas Hold’em

Pineapple Crazy Pineapple

Cards dealt

2 3


Cards available at showdown

2 2


When is one card discarded?

NA Before betting or flop

After the flop betting round

We hope this has helped you explore more about the crazy world of poker. Invite your friends over and give this version a try if you have not already done so. 

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