How to Play Pineapple Poker

min read
Pineapples and leaves on top of a yellow surface.
BetMGM Dec 14, 2022, 6:32 AM

Poker fan? Then you’ve probably played your fair share of different online poker variants. From global favorite Texas Hold’em to Omaha, Seven Card Stud and Five Card Draw, there are certainly loads to choose from! If you’re looking for a new, slightly lesser-known poker variant to explore, we recommend giving Pineapple poker a try. 

While very similar to Texas Hold’em, Pineapple poker promises a fresh twist on gameplay to help spice up your home games with friends and family. Unfortunately, it’s very rare to see this variant on offer at a land-based casino, but as its popularity continues to climb, there’s a good chance that this will change sometime in the future. In short, now’s the time to start working on improving your skills! 

Read on for a look at the Pineapple poker rules, its variants, as well as a few tips on creating your very own Pineapple poker strategy and evaluating your starting hands. 

What is Pineapple poker?

Think Texas Hold’em poker, with a few key differences, the main one being that players are dealt three cards at the start of the hand instead of two.

The other difference when playing Pineapple poker is that players need to evaluate their cards and get rid of one of them pre-flop and ahead of the first betting round.

These two unique gameplay elements add an entirely new dimension to the game. After all, the fact that you’re dealt three cards and have to discard one is equipping you with important information regarding which cards your opponents might be holding (and the knowledge that there’s a specific card that they simply can’t be holding,) as well as information on a specific card that won’t appear on the table at any time during the flop, turn and river. This information will play a role (sometimes small and sometimes quite significant) in your decision-making for the duration of each hand.

How to play Pineapple poker

  1.     The game is set up in the exact same way as in Texas Hold’em poker. The two players on the dealer’s left-hand side must post blinds before the cards are dealt.
  2.     Each player is dealt three cards.
  3.     Each player must discard one of their hole cards before betting begins.
  4.     The pre-flop betting round starts with the player on the dealer’s left-hand side.
  5.     The flop is dealt in the form of three community cards placed on the table.
  6.     Another betting round takes place.
  7.     The turn is dealt in the form of one more community card.
  8.     Players now have another opportunity to place their bets.
  9.     The river is dealt in the form of the fifth and final community card.
  10.   The final betting round takes place.
  11.   The players reveal their cards (using one or both of their remaining hole cards to compile their hand) and the winner is the player who has managed to create the best hand.

Pineapple poker variants

Aside from the classic version, there are two other common variants of Pineapple poker to be aware of: Crazy Pineapple poker and Lazy Pineapple poker (also known as Tahoe Pineapple.)

The Crazy Pineapple poker rules are almost exactly the same as the classic version. The only difference is the point during the game at which the players need to get rid of one of their three hole cards. In the classic version, this happens before the first betting round and before the flop. In Crazy pineapple poker, it happens after the flop just before the turn is dealt, making it much easier for players to make better decisions and to create a stronger hand.

The rules are also the same for Lazy Pineapple poker, with the difference being that players hold onto all three of their hole cards throughout all the betting rounds. Each player only discards one after the river is dealt and once the final betting round is complete.

Pineapple poker strategy

As with most poker variants, it’s a good idea to think very carefully about which hands to proceed with. Avoid playing too many hands in the hopes of getting lucky after the flop is dealt. Pay close attention to your starting hands (more on that below.) 

If you’re a regular at Texas Hold’em tables at the casino, keep in mind that there’s a slightly higher chance of hitting a set on the board when playing the Pineapple variant because players are more likely to hold a pair before the flop is dealt.

A great starting point is to realize that you generally need stronger hands to win the pot when playing Pineapple than you do when playing Texas Hold’em. So think before you call (or raise!)

Pineapple poker starting hands

A high pair is a fantastic starting hand, as are connected cards. The strongest combo? Two aces with a suited third card. Other worthy combos to watch out for include Broadway (the five highest ranked cards: the ten, jack, queen, king and ace,) pocket pairs (a pair made using only your hole cards) and a suited card, as well as Broadway pairs with a high, non-suited card, and high cards including an ace, with one of them the same suit as the ace.

Play poker online at BetMGM

When you’re looking for an array of fun poker variants to play online, there’s no need to look any further than BetMGM! We specialize in casino table games, live dealer casino games and online poker – both live and video poker. 

If you need a breather from the mental side of the game, we also have a variety of incredible online slots and many other casino favorites for you to explore.

Feel free to register with us whenever you’re ready to check out our full menu. Let the games begin!

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.