Choosing Starting Hands in Pineapple

Pineapple, also known as Crazy Pineapple, is a relatively new flop game that you don’t see played a lot in brick-and-mortar casinos. In fact, the only time we’ve seen it played live was in a firehouse game in Maryland back in the early 1990s. You can find the game online at UltimateBet and ParadisePoker, but other than that, you’ll have to deal it at home on your kitchen table.

Pineapple is like Hold ’em in that you can use both, one, or neither of your hole cards remaining at the river to make your hand. However, because you start with three cards in Pineapple and discard one after the flop, it’s very difficult to simulate results based on your hole cards. So how do you play before the flop? We recommend the following strategy:

✦  Discard a hand with three of a kind, even Aces or Kings.

✦  In early position, play any pair of Tens or higher, and consider raising if your third card shares a suit with one of the paired cards and is also higher than a Ten. You should also play any three cards that are ranked Ten or higher, and three cards to a straight where the bottom card is Eight or higher.

✦  In middle position, play any pair of Sevens or higher where you have a suited card higher than a Ten as your third card, any hand with two flush cards that
are Ten or higher that come with another card within two ranks of the bottom suited card, and three cards to a straight where the bottom card is Six or higher. When everyone has folded to you, consider raising with any hand you would call with in early position. If someone has raised in front of you, only play hands you would play in early position.

✦  In late position and the blinds, play any pair of Fours or higher where you have a suited card higher than a Ten as your third card and any three cards to a straight where the total gaps between the cards is no more than one. In other words, you would play 8♠7♠5♥ but not 8♠7♠4♥. If someone has raised in front of you, only play hands you would play in early position, unless you are in the blinds, in which case you may also play hands that you would play in middle position.

These guidelines take into account the fact that three-card hands are, in general, stronger than two-card hands, so you need to be a bit more cautious in deciding which hands to pursue.

Choosing Starting Hands in Pineapple High-Low

Playing Pineapple high-low seems to be a lot like playing Omaha high-low, but the simi- larities are deceptive when you remember that you need only use one (or none) of your remaining hole cards to form your low hand after the river has been dealt. Here is the strategy we recommend for deciding which hole card sets to play in Pineapple high-low:

✦  Always throw away three of a kind.

✦  In early position, raise any three card set that contains an Ace and two other cards ranked Five or below, where one of the cards shares a suit with the Ace. You should also play any A2 (regardless of kicker), any A3, where either the Three is suited with the Ace, or you have a kicker ranked Ten or higher that is suited with the Ace, any pair of Jacks or higher, and three cards ranked above a Ten, where two of the cards are suited.

✦  In middle position, you may also call with any A2 or A3, any A4, where either the Four or your kicker is suited with the Ace, any A5, where either the Five or a kicker that is a Ten or higher is suited with the Ace, any three cards ranked Five or below with an Ace, any pair of Eights or higher, and any three cards ranked above a Ten. If someone raises in front of you, you should only play hands you would play in early position.

✦  In late position or in the blinds, you may also call with any pair of Fives or higher and any Ace-high flush draw. If someone raises in front of you, only play hands you would play in early position, unless you are one of the blinds, in which case you may also play hands that you would play in middle position.

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