Crazy Pineapple isn’t as exotic as the name would have you believe. If you know how to play Texas Holdem, you will have no trouble making the switch to this fun game. I’ll explain more later, but first let’s talk about where to play Crazy Pineapple online.
Let’s just get the bad news out of the way first: there isn’t a single poker site that offers Crazy Pineapple at this time. There was a time a few years ago when you could find the occasional game online, but Pineapple has long since been relegated to home games.
However, I do have a bit of good news. Full Tilt Poker has a different game called “Irish” that is pretty darn close to Crazy Pineapple in mechanics. The differences are minor and if you’re willing to settle with something that’s close but not exactly the same, Irish is your game. You can get started here:
Crazy Pineapple vs. Irish Poker
Crazy Pineapple plays just like Texas Holdem except each player begins with three hole cards. A normal round of pre-flop betting is held, and then the flop is dealt. This is followed by another round of betting just like you would have in Holdem. After this round of betting, each player discards one card, which leaves each player with two hole cards. The rest of the hand continues just like regular old Texas Holdem.
As you can see, Crazy Pineapple isn’t a huge change from traditional Texas Holdem. The extra hole card helps generate action but doesn’t create confusing situations like in Omaha in which you’re required to use exactly two of your hole cards. The game is a lot of fun for this reason. The only problem is that it’s practically impossible to find any Crazy Pineapple sites.
Full Tilt Poker offers something similar in its Irish Poker cash games. In Irish, each player starts with 4 hole cards just like Omaha. Normal pre-flop and post-flop betting rounds are hosted, followed by each player discarding two hole cards. This leaves each player two hole cards and the game proceeds in the same manner as Texas Holdem.
So, the only real difference between Crazy Pineapple and Irish is the number of hole cards you’re given at the beginning. Both games require you to discard down to two hole cards and then each game proceeds as normal. If you love Crazy Pineapple but want to play online, Full Tilt Poker’s Irish games serve as a close substitute.
Any time players start with more than the traditional two hole cards, hand values go down. That is, it takes a stronger hand to win pots when people have more starting cards. At the beginning of Crazy Pineapple or Irish Poker, each player starts with 3 or 4 cards respectively. This gives each player more options and a better chance at flopping a strong hand.
The main thing to keep in mind when choosing which hands to play is their potential for connecting with a wide variety of flops. For example, a hand that consists of all high cards with at least two of those being suited provides you with multiple straight and flush possibilities.
In Texas Holdem, low pairs and suited connectors show a great deal of value because they can break bigger, top pair hands that people tend to get attached to. Small pairs and suited connectors go down in value in Crazy Pineapple and Irish because it is much more common to run into bigger sets, bigger flushes and better full houses.
Draws are not as powerful in Crazy Pineapple and Irish as they are in Omaha because players are forced to discard some of their cards, which reduces the number of outs. In Omaha, for example, it’s not uncommon for players to flop “wrap” draws with up to 20 outs and actually be favorites to win over made hands on the flop. This doesn’t happen in Crazy Pineapple or Irish due to each player being forced to continue with just two hole cards.
For Irish Poker in particular, the types of starting hands you want to see are double high pairs (AAKK) and high suited connectors (Th-Js-Kh-As) as both of those give you legitimate opportunities to land the nuts. The types of hands that will get you in trouble are low/middle pairs and lower suited cards. If you hit middle set, the idiot end of a straight or a low flush and get a lot of action, there’s a very good chance someone has you beat.
In fact, that’s how most decent players get stacked. Any decent Irish Poker or Pineapple player knows that top pair and low flushes are not the same powerhouses that they are in Texas Holdem. The trouble begins when people get attached to things like middle set or a decent flush and run into a real monster.