What it is:
This is a version of poker that has rules very similar to Texas Hold 'Em. Often Pineapple Hold 'Em is called Pineapple Poker or more commonly just Pineapple. In the U.K. the game is known as Irish. There is a related game called Crazy Pineapple Hold 'em.
This game is not as widely played as regular Texas Hold 'Em, but many casinos and home games are starting to offer it. The game has been around for over 30 years, but for some reason it seems to be having a resurgence in popularity. Players often like the game because there is more action. More players enter each pot and the game generates more betting and raising. All of this creates larger pots and more excitement when compared to playing in a Texas Hold 'Em game with the same limits.
There are only two rule differences between this game and traditional Texas Hold 'em:
- Each player receives three cards (instead of two).
- Prior to the flop each player must discard one of their cards face-down to the dealer.
Unlike Texas Hold 'Em, the basic strategy has not been studied in great detail. This tends to "even out" the advantage that a superior poker player has, because few people really know the "best" way to play, yet. The better poker player is still likely to win in the long run, but in Pineapple Hold 'em the variation in bankroll will be much higher.
Before the flop (or "preflop"), your strategy should be to keep hands that contain one of the following combinations: a high pair (like Ace-Ace), an ace that is suited with another card (like Ace of Spades - and any other spade), or two highly ranked cards that are both of the same suit and "connected" in rank (like King of Spades - Queen of Spades).
In typical Pineapple games you'll have many players in each pot, which makes it very likely that the best hand possible will be out once all the cards are dealt. You will want to make sure that you aren't ever drawing at a hand that could end up in second place. You should be staying in the pot only when you either currently hold the best hand (aka "The Nuts") or you are drawing at a hand that is likely to become the best hand. For example: If you are holding two spades and there are two spades on the board -- if you don't have the ace of spades then you'll likely want to get rid of your hand if anyone bets.
In Pineapple Hold 'em there is a 1 in 6 chance of being dealt a pair before the flop. The chance of being dealt the best hand (which is Ace - Ace) is 1 in 77. In Texas Hold 'Em the odds for these same two hands are 1 in 17 and 1 in 221 respectively. This demonstrates just how much more powerful both your hand and your oppenents hands are likely to be (when compared to Texas Hold 'Em). Many hands that are playable in Texas Hold 'Em just cannot be played in this game, because they will be severly overmatched.
Pineapple Hold 'em is a very fun and exciting game. It offers beginners a better chance of making a quick win. If you have some extra money set aside for playing poker you should give this game a try.