How Does Your Strategy Differ in Pineapple Versus Crazy Pineapple Hold’em?

Screenshot of a Pineapple Poker Game Online

You’ve heard of Texas Hold ’em and Omaha, but you are unsure what Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple Hold ’em are. You can think of the 2 games as a hybrid between Texas Hold ’em and Omaha.

While in Texas Hold ’em, you’re given 2 hole cards, and you can use one, both, or none to form the best possible 5-card hand. And in Omaha, you’re dealt 4 hole cards, but you can only use 2 from your hand, and 3 from the community.

In Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple Hold ’em, you’re dealt 3 cards. The rest of the game plays similar to Texas Hold ’em and Omaha, except that in both games, you must discard one card.

Today’s post will discuss Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple Hold ’em, their primary difference, and how you should evoke your strategy.

Let’s begin.

How do Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple Hold ’em Differ?

In pineapple, you’re dealt 3 cards, as explained in the intro. However, before the flop, you must discard the third card. Sometimes, this works to your advantage. Say you’re dealt pocket aces and a 7. By discarding the 7, you now have pocket Aces, and that will take you a long way.

But you’re also at a potential disadvantage. If you’re dealt 3 Aces, you must get rid of one of them, and that will at least negate the possibility for a four of a kind.

In Crazy Pineapple, you’re dealt the same number of cards, but you discard after the flop. This can play to your advantage because, if you’re dealt a 2, 7, and Queen off-suit, the hand looks like trash. But the flop comes, and you get 2 Queens and a 7, good for a full house. Now, you can get rid of the 2.

If you’re looking for a little more risk, pineapple is your game because another disadvantage is that you could discard the wrong card. Say you’re dealt those 2 aces again, plus the 7 card. Naturally, you discard the 7. Now, the flop comes, and bam, each is a 7. Or, you see a pair of 7s.

In Crazy Pineapple, you’re dealt the same hand with the same flop. You’re in a better place here, because now, you saw the 7,7,7 flop, allowing you to discard an Ace. And immediately, you have a four of a kind.

Even if you got a pair of 7s on the flop, you could still toss an Ace because three of a kind beats two-pair.

Lesser-Known Variants of Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple

There is also a game out there called Lazy Pineapple, also known as Tahoe. In Lazy Pineapple, where you discard following the final round of betting. This is an excellent game to play if you’re looking to make a few tough decisions.

There are other variants of pineapple, one of which deals players 5 cards, and they discard one card following the flop, the turn, and the river, narrowing the field from 5 cards to 2.

But for today’s post, we will focus on just Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple, as the 2 games strongly resemble one another more than Tahoe and regional variations of the game.

Poker Hand on Table with Chips

Pre-Flop Strategy in Pineapple Hold ’em

Let’s focus on pineapple Hold ’em in this section.

As mentioned, you must discard one card before the flop in pineapple, meaning the game resembles Texas Hold ’em more than Crazy Pineapple. And these days, most of us learn to play poker either by playing at the kitchen table or watching the game on television.

Therefore, it’s best to follow your chosen strategy as you would in Texas Hold ’em.

For example, if you’re a conservative player who throws out a Jack/10 off-suit even when you’re playing in late-position, it’s good to keep that strategy afloat, since you will not discard before the flop. Say you’re dealt the Jack/10, but you also have a 2 of another suit. Probably not your desirable hand.

If you’re an aggressive poker player, and you’re comfortable with betting on the same hand in middle or late position, you can play this hand, get rid of the 2 unless intuition tells you otherwise, and live to see the flop. You may be a caller that will muck if you see a raise, or you may be ultra-aggressive and call the raise.

From the example above, your strategy in pineapple would resemble that strategy seen in Texas Hold ’em because, just like in Texas Hold ’em, you can only go into the flop with 2 cards. However, even if you’re ultra-conservative, that strategy may change in Crazy Pineapple.

Pre-Flop Strategy in Crazy Pineapple

Your strategy in Crazy Pineapple could easily be the same as in standard pineapple. But since you have 3 cards instead of 2 going into the flop, you may at least consider calling at least the big blind to see if things are worth continuing following the flop, when you would need to discard.

Let’s keep things ultra-simple here and use the same example above. You’re in late position, and again, you’re given the Jack/10/2 off-suit. Before we go any further, we’re using late-position here because it’s when players tend to be more flexible with what they’re willing to go in with.

In early-position, most players will only play huge hands, and larger hands in middle-position. So in late-position, hands like Jack/10/2 off-suit are more likely to be played.

Even if you’re an ultra-conservative player here, it may be worth at least calling the big blind here, because you have another card at stake. What’s not to say the flop comprises a pair of jacks and a 2? Or, you could even flop over a straight draw.

Laptop With Poker Image

Sure, if someone raises before you bet, or if someone sitting in either the small or the big blind raises, it may entice you to fold. But now, you don’t need to worry about having thrown the wrong card away after you call the big blind. You can at least see the flop.

If you’re still unconvinced, perhaps citing something like low probability, calling the big blind, and checking out the flop can still work to your advantage. This is because more experienced players will have a more challenging time reading you, which we will discuss in the section below.

Dealing With Opposing Players in Pineapple and Crazy Pineapple

You will probably face at least a couple of opposing players that are so experienced they learn how to “read” other players.

Aggressive players will, in Crazy Pineapple, often call big blinds to see the flop while conservative players may call the big blind in specific circumstances, as outlined in the above strategy.

If you’re a conservative player, you’re much easier to read than the aggressive player, unfortunately. This is because even the best players may not know if the aggressive player has a legit solid hand, or if they’re looking to catch the flop, depending on what they do post-flop.

If you’re a conservative player, experienced players may know when to get rid of their hands because you called the big blind. Now they know that you either have at least a pair of, say, 8 or better in the later positions, or you have something like a suited King/Queen.

This is where things can work to your advantage in Crazy Pineapple, or your disadvantage. If you play conservatively but want to keep those experienced readers off your tail, it’s more than okay to get aggressive in the late position in Crazy Pineapple.

In pineapple, this is a little harder because again, you must discard before the flop. Not that you should remain a rock in late position, even with the Jack/10/2 off-suit outlined above. You still need to mix things up, but to a lesser degree in pineapple.

In Crazy Pineapple, you should mix things up because you can make the delayed decision whether you’re in or you’re out.

Even if you have to call a raise. You don’t need to do this often, but you also need to remember that you can either put yourself at an advantage with this strategy, or a disadvantage if you remain a rock.

Even if you’re just playing with friends or co-workers, people may still be able to read you if they’re the good judge of character type.

Be a little aggressive in specific situations in pineapple, but it’s a good idea to use a little more aggression in Crazy Pineapple.


Overall, Pineapple Hold ’em and Crazy Pineapple both involve 3 hole cards. In pineapple, you must discard one of these before the flop. In Crazy Pineapple, this occurs after the flop. There are other lesser-known variations of the game and even regional variations.

Your pre-flop strategy may differ in pineapple as it relates to Crazy Pineapple. If you’re aggressive, it’s a good idea to be less aggressive in pineapple since the odds are higher that you will discard the wrong card.

But if you’re conservative, you need to lighten up in a late position just to keep experienced players or judges of character from reading too far into you.

Have you played Pineapple or Crazy Pineapple? If so, tell us which variation you took to and let us know about your differences in strategy.