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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Crazy Pineapple- An introduction.

I have set up this simple blog just to try and bring the game of Crazy Pineapple to a bigger crowd. This game is popular in home games and some casinos in America but doesn't have as large a following online. I think the only reason for this is bad advertising as it's an awesome game. You have to make lots more decisions and it takes a lot more skill then Texas Hold'Em.

If you learn to play it well then it can really reap the benefits and make a lot of money.

The basic premise is that you are dealt 3 cards instead of 2 and you then ditch one after the flop.
This gives you much better odds of making a good hand and the possiblilites seem so much more.

One of the downfalls of Texas Hold'Em online is if you don't like Multi-tabling then it can be very dull. You might play 15-30% of hands if that and just end up sitting there waiting for your pocket pair to come along. With CP you get a lot more playable hands, and so do your opponents, so that when you hit the nuts, you get a lot of callers.

Anyway read on for a basic intro to the game and I hope I see you there sometime soon. I mainly play at Ultimate Bet so check it out here. It even has free tables.

How to play Crazy Pineapple

Normal Crazy Pineapple:

You are each dealt 3 cards face down. These are your hole cards. It is the same as any community card game in that there is a Big Blind and Small Blind.

There then follows a round of betting. This game is usually limit. After this we see a FLOP.

3 cards are laid out face up and players can use any of these to make their hand up. There follows another round of betting and then AFTER the betting players must discard one card each.

Each player is now left with two cards each, face down, in their 'hole'.

Play now continues like a normal limit hold em game. You can use both the cards you have in your hole, or just one, or even neither of them. UNLIKE Omaha you do not have to use both the cards.

The TURN card is dealt, betting follows and then the RIVER. After the final round of betting players show, much as you would in Hold' Em.

In essence then this game is exactly the same as Texas Hold'em, except you get 3 cards to start with, and lose one AFTER the flop. ( Pineapple without the Crazy element is where you discard before the flop, but I haven't seen this only yet.)

CRAZY PINEPPLE 8/B is exactly the same but it has a low element as well. This means that the lowest hand also gets half the pot. You must have 5 cards all 8 or under in your hand. Ace counts as a low, and a straight also counts as a low hand. Therefore the best low hand is A2345 . This might also win the High hand as well, thus scooping the hi pot. If two players have an Ace they are tied for Low hand. therefor the one who holds the next lowest wins. If they both have 2 ( for example if it is on the board) then whoever has the 3 or 4 or next lowest card wins.) It's like a reverse kicker in a way.

Where to play.

I only know of two poker rooms that offer this game at the moment.

Ultimate Bet

UB is the place I play at regularly. It's mainly played by Americans and I am often the only European at the table. For this reason there are more players after 8pm BST or 3pm EST. You will be lucky to find players before this. You may get there and see empty tables. If this is the case join one anyway. You will usually be joined quickly by other players AND you get a 25% bonus on your UB points, so if you are clearing a bonus it will clear quicker. Ultimate Bet is a great site anyway, without the Pineapple, and if you join using any of the links from this site you will get a 100% up to $650 .
They also let you practice on play money tables to get the hang of it. For details click here.

PARADISE POKER

This site also offers Crazy Pineapple. It's a similar thing to UB, except sometimes the games seem easier and there are more people playing. You can't play at .25//50 though so it might be good to learn how to play on UB then transfer across when you are ready to play. As well as Pineapple, Paradise offers loads of other great games and has some good guaranteed tourneys as well. For more info click here.

Crazy Pineapple Strategy

So how do you become a success at Crazy Pineapple?
It's basically like a cross between Omaha and Texas Hold'Em, and should be played that way.
You should play less hands, even though the temptation is to play more hands as there seems to be more chance hitting. This, like in Omaha is a silly move and will just end up costing you money.

First of all, look at your hand and decide if you would play any of the available hands in Hold Em. For example if you had a K96 you have to decide if you would play a K9 or a K6 or even a 96 in Hold'Em. Most of us would say no, so this is a hand that you should ditch without a second thought.

You are looking for hands which offer many different variants. You want a straight draw, flush draw and a pair all in the same hand. I love hands like JJ10 where the J and 10 are suited. Be careful if your flush comes off with a hand like this though as you might end up losing to a higher flush. Use your poker radar to sense trouble and see what state your Jack high flush is in.

Post flop you have to discard one card. I don't know how many times I have to ditch a good hand because I knew it wasn't good enough.

For example. you hold Ah Ks 9h . The flop comes Kh 10h Qd . Now which card do you get rid of? You have the top pair, with an ace kicker. I have been in this situation a lot. I look at the betting first. If its going crazy, I would assume that someone had two pair, or maybe the same as me. Now I am in a quandry. I could take a chance and stick with my pair, but one pair rarely wins. Someone is likely to have at least a straight, or worse flush draw.

I would be very tempted to drop my King here. I have an inside straight draw and a flush draw. I could end up with the nuts and this game is, like Omaha, all about having the nuts. I might keep the King if I though no-one had anything, or there was only one player left in the betting, but in any other circumstance, it would be goodbye King, and I'd be left waiting for the cards to help me out again.

So to sum up, the route to success at Pineapple is
1) Wait for good, combination hands that offer at least two from straights, pairs and flushes. Options are good.

2) Be prepared to ditch pairs if you have a nut straight or flush draw.

3) Look out for the nuts when post flop betting. Chances are if you don't have it. Someone else will.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Crazy Pineapple 8/b strategy.

Ok, Now we've got a hi/lo element to this game. Starting hands you are looing for are high pairs, low straights, high straights, flush draws and A23 or A2.

There is some debate over the best starting hand, with AA2 ( The 2 is suited with one of the aces) being what most people believe to be the best hand. I would say A23 with an Ace suited could almost be the better hand. This is because your low hand is unlikely to be wrecked by a 2 or an Ace as you will still have the nut low. Be careful about chasing lows with someone else who has one the same though as your pot will get halved.

You are looking for Scoop hands. Hands which will win both high and low so hands which offer more than one thing are the best. a good hand which many people will chuck away is a 234. If an ace comes down you have a nut low which many other people who had may have chucked away. I have won a lot of money with this hand and always play it.

You will often be left chasing a 5th low card. You should know the outs here. If you have 4 cards to a low then you will be looking for around 16 outs. This is around the 60% mark for 50% of the pot. (You have 4 of the cards already, and these pairing would not help you, although they might get you the main pot if it gives you two pair)

In other words, if the pot is $100 you are after $50 of this with your nut low. You have a 60% of making this on the turn or river so you should be calling raises of less then $30. As the game is limit you will probably have to call as the raising might be less. If there is a lot of raising going on you need to have your wits about you and try and work out if it's people raising each other for the high pot.
if this is the case you can rake in a very nice pot, while they might tie for the high pot.