Beginners Guide to Pineapple and Pineapple Hi-Lo
Pineapple, and the closely related 'Crazy Pineapple' is an entertaining and popular variation of Texas Holdem. This game features the same flop, turn and river and 5 card poker hand made from your hole-cards and / or the board - but with one exciting difference. each player is dealt 3 hole cards rather than 2!
The rules of pineapple poker are that each player must select one of their 3 hole-cards to discard. When in the game this happens depends on the exact variation of pineapple you are playing. In regular Pineapple the card is discarded before the flop. In 'Crazy Pineapple' the flop is dealt before the card is discarded - meaning there is an even better chance of some monster hands being made. This form of poker is usually played in the no-limit betting format, though limit and pot-limit betting can also be used.
Pineapple hi-lo follows the same format with an additional twist - at showdown the pot is shared between the best high poker hand and the best low. The low hand must contain 5 different cards 8 or lower, A-2-3-4-5 being the lowest possible (and a hand that may even win the high pot with a straight!). The objective in pineapple hi-lo should always be to 'scoop' both the high and the low sides of the pot with the same hand. Different combinations from the board and your hole cards can be used to make each hand, meaning aces go up in value in starting hands. If there are no low hands still playing at showdown then the entire pot will go to the high hand.
Having 3 hole cards greatly increases the strength of hands at showdown. Pairs are more common pre-flop and high card combinations such as ace-king also become more common too. This means more people are likely to see the flop (especially in the 'crazy' variation of the game where you get to see the flop before discarding one card).
Players used to the regular Texas Holdem games must increase their requirements for continuing with a through the turn and river rounds. Where a high-pair hand may have been considered enough to continue in Holdem, Pineapple needs a better holding which should usually include a draw to a monster like a straight or flush in addition to the pair.
The amount of possible hands means that bluffing is less common in pineapple poker. This is especially the case in crazy pineapple and pineapple hi-lo where the amount of draws and made hands after the flop may be up to 3 times larger than in regular Holdem. Semi-bluffing does have its place here - tend to make your bluffing bets after your opponents have shown weakness (checked) and with some outs to a good hand in the event that you are called.
Good luck at the tables!
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