Awesome pineapple poker games (to play when hold'em gets old)

Fold one card in Omaha, play three cards face-up in Crazy Pineapple, and two cards in 2-7 Triple Draw.

One of the best things about poker is the endless variety of games you can play. Even if you love to play (and), mixing it up with different poker variants will make the game more fun and interesting.

If you only play Texas Hold'em now, here are seven great poker variations - from Crazy Pineapple to 2-7 Triple Draw - that you absolutely must try.

What is "Pineapple" Poker?

Pineapple Poker (also known as "Crazy Pineapple") is very similar to Texas Hold'em but begins with each player dealt three hole cards instead of two.

The complete Crazy Pineapple betting schedule is:

  • Pre-flop - 2 rounds of betting (before the flop and after the first betting round third card is burned and taken away)
  • The turn and river - 1 round of betting per street
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Most people follow the same basic Texas Hold'em strategy in Crazy Pineapple but with a few key differences:

  • Before the flop you should be more willing to raise with weaker hands that you're planning on dropping down to two cards. For example speculative hands like JQ suited or A-4 in a rainbow multi-way pot.
  • You should be less willing to call with just one overcard when there's been a raise in front of you, as there's a much higher chance they have your beat if they have two strong cards and are dropping one.
  • On the flop you need to pay attention to which players improved their hands. If your pair on the flop is now a three-card combo that no one else can match, that's good. But if you hit a standard high pair heads-up against a player who started with two cards or a three-card straight or flush, you're probably worse.
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Because you lose half of your starting hand advantage when you drop a card, you should generally be more willing to draw to improbable hands at a Crazy Pineapple showdown.

Playing Crazy Pineapple No Limit

Crazy Pineapple Strategy Tip

When you have trips on the flop, always discard one of your smaller rank cards. There's no need to give anyone drawing odds.

Many players will keep two pair, figuring that their opponent cannot have them beaten. Yet that two pair hand can fall victim to a straight or flush draw, both of which have probably gotten out of range to beat a set before the flop.

By getting rid of the two instead of the three, you conceal the trips until a fourth on the river gives you a full house.

Related Reading:

Crazy Pineapple Tournaments

You can find Crazy Pineapple tournaments (both MTTs and Sit & Go) online at PokerStars under the "Mix-and-Max" format. These tournaments combine different poker variations (such as Crazy Pineapple, Limit Hold'em and Pot-Limit Omaha) into a single tournament.

One minute you'll be playing Crazy Pineapple; the next, the table has switched to PLO. Keep your eye on the top left corner of the table to see which poker variation you're currently playing.

Play mix-max touraments in the PokerStars client.

Not only do these Mix-and-Max events keep the action interesting and help you learn how to transition your skills from one poker variant to another, but often they'll offer substitutions for players all-in against each other in different games.

For instance if Player A is all-in pre-flop in Crazy Pineapple against Player B, and B has the option to call and A does not, the outcome of that hand will determine the fate of both players at a PLO table.

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Player B's cards replace A's in the PLO hand and B either collects or dishes out the chips accordingly. It's pretty slick.

Note: Players who are all-in during a hand that involves a rule change (such as going from Crazy Pineapple to PLO) are allowed to see their hand to its conclusion at the original table. This is also true vice versa - e.g. if you're all-in on the flop in Hold'em but the table breaks or the rest of the hand is cancelled for any reason.

Deuces Wild Video Poker

Deuces Wild is a popular wild card version of poker that originated in bars as a mechanical video game. It has since gone high-tech, appearing in all forms of digital delivery including online casinos. That said, you can still find plenty of Deuces Wild video poker machines in local watering holes around North America.

In Deuces Wild all deuces (2s) are wild. Otherwise it's pretty much standard 5-card Draw poker. Five deuces in a hand deal a special payout. Here's the standard pay table for a 9/6 machine (9 times when you hold a pair may get replaced by a deuce, 6 deuces before the ace):

  • Royal Flush (no deuces needed) - 250x
  • Straight Flush (3 cards of same suit/2 wild cards) - 80x
  • Four of a Kind (2 wild cards filling last 3 ranks) - 50x
  • Full House - 9x
  • Flush (2 cards of same suit + 3 wild cards) - 6x
  • Straight (4 cards in rank sequence + 1 wild card) - 4x
  • Three of a Kind (all 3 matching ranks filled by wild cards) - 3x
  • Two Pair - 2x
  • Pair of Jacks or Better (much like regular Jacks or Better) - 1x

Obviously having four deuces deal you a payout of 4x seems a little cheap until you consider all the higher paying hands that become possible because of them. Deuces Wild is a highly volatile game compared to regular Jacks or Better so be aware of that before plunking down too much dough. Also be sure you know what you're getting into re: the vast difference in payouts between a 9/6 machine and a more common 5/6 (or even 4/5 or 3/5) version.

Check out our detailed on how to play this classic poker side game.

Irish Poker

Different Suites have Different Values in Irish Poker

Irish Poker is a fun drinking game for 3-6 players that goes by many names such as Blackbird Poker, Irsh Poker, and Irish Eyes Poker (no relation to the ). There are also several regional variations across Ireland and the UK.

Instead of traditional playing-card rankings, Irish Poker assigns values based on different suits:

  • Spades are highest and worth 5 points each
  • Clubs are worth 4 points each
  • Diamonds are worth 3 points each
  • Hearts are lowest and worth 2 points each

Aces are counted as low cards (i.e. 2 points).

Each player is dealt five cards. Players then take turns asking for one of three options:

  1. Card - Choose any card from the stock without looking at it
  2. Burn - Discard the top card of the stock (without looking at it)
  3. Drink - Take a drink and do nothing
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After each pick, turn over the card for all to see. If it's a flipper (jack, queen or king), everyone has to take a drink. Once all the flippers are accounted for, players can add up the value of their hand.

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The Irish Poker dealer button starts at the player to the left of the dealer and moves clockwise, speeding up each round (see below). The player with the best hand at the end of the round (after the entire deck has been used) deals the next hand.

Irish Poker Button Rules

Irish Poker uses a "speed button" which moves one player to the left after each hand. Here are the rules for advancing the Irish Poker button:

  • On the first hand after the buttons are chosen (establishing hand), the button moves one position to the left.
  • On the second hand after buttons (regulating hand), the button moves another position to the left.
  • On every hand after that (working hands), the button moves yet another position to the left.
  • If the player on the button gets knocked out, the button immediately moves to the next player to the left.

If there's a dispute over the best hand, the player bringing the claim forward has to take a drink first. Suits have to be correct in order to qualify for the hand rankings listed below.

Depending on where you're from you might see some variance in Irish Poker hand rankings but this is the most common:

  • 143 of any suit (*flush plus an ace)
  • 142 of any suit (*flush)
  • 133 of any suit (*set)
  • 132 of any suit
  • 132 w/o spades
  • 123 of any suit
  • 123 w/o spades
  • 122

(*Only the player who lays down a flipper for the ace portion of the slang term "the thirteen" is entitled to a drink.)

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Drinks flow freely in Irish Poker.

As you can imagine Irish Poker drinking poker gets people drunk rather quickly so it's usually a good idea to play this one at home. And please, .

Check out the complete Irish Poker cheat sheet with images of winning hands at the bottom of the article.

Lowball Poker Variants

If you already play and are looking for a change of pace, Ace-to-5 (lowball) poker variations are a natural fit. Instead of rankingflops, turns and rivers in the usual Ace-to-High manner (royal flush being A-K-Q-J-10 of one suit), lowball poker variants rank them from low to high.

That means the nuts in lowball poker is 5-4-3-2-A of one suit. Because straights and flushes are now Impossible Drawns**, most lowball poker games don't count them against you. In fact many games remove them from the board altogether.

* As in "Nothing but a..."\

** As in "Impossible to Draw." In lowball poker straights run 6-5-4-3-2 and flushes 5-4-3-2-A. To have actually been dealt a straight or a flush pre-flop would be impossible because even if you held four cards of one suit you would need an additional heart or sequential card (6 or lower) to hit on the board._

Ace-to-5 Lowball Rules

Standard Ace-to-5 Lowball poker rules state that straights and flushes do not count against your hand and do not have to be removed from the board. Here's how the remaining hands rank:

  • Royal Flush (A-K-Q-J-10 all of one suit)
  • Straight Flush w/o A (K-Q-J-10-9 all of one suit)
  • Five High (highest card in your hand is a 5)
  • Four of a Kind
  • Three of a Kind
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card

Because straights and flushes aren't implied losing hands in Ace-to-5, when a situation arises where one player has the nut straight and the other has the nut flush, the player with the flush usually has to double his or her contribution to the pot.

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This is called a "khaki" (as in "bare") ass because the player with the straight is riding around naked. To save his or her assets (skin) the flush player is required to put up twice the chips ("khakis") for the pot.

Trips are not officially recognized as a hand in lowball poker but if two players have exactly the same five-card hand, coversions will typically give the pot to the player with the higher kicker. For example:

  • Hand A: 5 5 4 4 2 K kicker
  • Hand B: 5 5 4 4 2 3 kicker

Put the low pairs and high card in a bundle. By comparison Hand B has the higher kicker (3 v K is an easy call for Leonardo).

Ace-to-3 Lowball Rules

Things get even nutsier in Ace-to-3 lowball poker because straights and flushes are removed from the board entirely. With wrath of mother nature removed from the equation Four deuces are the strongest hand, followed by Five low. Here are the rest of the Ace-to-3 Lowball hand rankings:

  • Royal Flush w/o 3 (A-K-Q-J-T of one suit, without the 3)
  • Four deuce (all four deuces) or Five Aces
  • Four of a Kind w/o A (K-Q-Q-Q without the 3)
  • Five Low (5-4-3-2-A with no repeats and no suits)
  • Three of a Kind w/o A (A-A-A without the 3)
  • Six high (6-5-4-3-2 with no suite and no repeats)
  • Four of a Kind w/o 3 or 4 (lower ranked four of a kind if someone has four deuces)
  • Two Pair
  • One Pair
  • High Card
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People often ask which poker game is harder to win at: Razz or Ace-to-5 Lowball. Neither Razz nor Ace-to-5 Lowball are offered at major online sites like so if you want to try them out, download a Razz permanent side tournament!

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**Read about the . Be sure to check out the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom.

2-7 Triple Draw Lowball

Probably the most popular lowball poker game in California casinos - and one of the hardest to master - is 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball. Two important rules distinguish 2-7 from other lowball poker variants:

  1. Your hand must be lower than seven-high to win. Aces are low.
  2. Pairs count against your hand. Meaning the nuts in 2-7 is 2-3-4-5-7 off-suit.

Because straights and flushes are Impossible Drawns in 2-7 Lowball, a player cant flop a nine-high straight (9-8-7-6-5) to beat a hand of 8-7-5-4-3. In this scenario the person with the 8-7 is said to be "" (with TOWIE standing for They Only Wait for Nobody).

Yes, that means the non-TOWIE player actually loses the hand! Although it's becoming less common, in some games the TOWIE player is required to double the size of the pot to compensate the TOWIE player who was forced to wait with the best hand.

Since you lose if you have seven-high or better, you'd think the ideal hand would be something like 5-4-3-2-A. While that is a nice start it's actually possible to put serious hurting on your opponents before the first deal. Here's a rough guideline of what each player should pay to enter a 2-7 Triple Draw pot based on their announced opening hand:

  • A-2-3-4-5 = Regular bet
  • A-2-3-4-6 (w/o 5) = Small bet
  • A-2-3-6-7 (w/o 4-5) = Same as opponent
  • A-2-4-5-7 (w/o 3-6) = Big bet
  • 2-3-4-5-7 (w/o A-6) = Fold

In 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball the '' hand is called '' and consists of 6-2-3-4-5 off-suit (aka the Nut Hatch). Any hand with a 6 in it is considered strong enough to see the deal through without making any draws.

Once you've learned how to play 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball online you can try out some 2-7 games yourself at .

More on : The End-All of Lowball Poker

Ravensburger Poker

Ravensburger Poker

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Ravensburgg Poker is a German adaptation of Stud Poker designed and manufactured by the renowned game company Ravensburger. Instead of playing for real money players earn points for various poker hands and combinations.

Like most you don't need any special equipment. Just lay the board out on a table and start dealing! Players contribute chips to the pot just as they would in a real game but the best Ravensburger Poker strategy isn't necessarily to win the game.

Unlike normal poker where you try to hide your hand until showdown, Ravensburger Poker incentivizes showing down your hand as soon as you hit a winner. Each combination earns players a specific number of points:

  • High Card - 1 point
  • One Pair - 5 points
  • Two Pair - 10 points
  • Three of a Kind - 20 points
  • Straight - 30 points
  • Flush - 40 points
  • Full House - 50 points
  • Four of a Kind - 70 points
  • Straight Flush - 100 points
  • Royal Flush - 150 points
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To keep things interesting there are also maluses for losing hands:

  • Showing a loser costs 2 points
  • After a third loss in a round players lose 5 points
  • On a fourth loss in a round players lose 10 points

The unique Ravensburgen Poker dealer button moves clockwise after each hand. Since players are scoring points rather than accumulating chips, a blind structure (ante or force bets) is sometimes added to artificially create a "bubble."

Although it can get crowded around the table, Ravensburgen Poker travels well and is often played on cruise ships and on airplanes. It's also a big hit at poker home games and poker nights.

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Mexican Poker

Mexican Poker is a 3-5 player poker game loosely based on Ace-5 Lowball rules. Although some consider it a form of video poker, Mexican Poker is actually played against other people. However, you never really play „against“ them. Everyone plays against the center pot (aka the „bank“), which initially contains an agreed-upon minimum amount of funds/chips.

Mexican Poker

Every player is initially dealt five cards face-down. Starting with the player on the dealer‘s left and moving clockwise, players have the choice to „open“ by keeping five cards and adding another five to the bank (equally distributed wild cards are added as necessary to reach five). Or players can fold.

After the first player opens, the next player also gets to keep five (including the ones originally dealt) and add five to the bank. Again, wild cards are used as necessary. This continues until the final player has acted. Then the dealer acts last.

Now that everyone has had a chance to open, players again start with the player on the dealer‘s left and give them the option to swap out all five cards for new ones. Again the dealer acts last.

This process repeats itself until one player keeps his or her five cards (called „holding“). At this time the players still with six cards „lay“ their hands face-down next to the communal pot.

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Hands are then evaluated according to lowball poker hand rankings (Aces are low and straights/flushes are not implied losing hands although they no longer count against your hand and are removed from the board). The best lowball hand wins the pot.

Aces are low in Mexican Poker.

It's okay if one or more players haven't „held“ yet. In this case the winning hand belongs to the player who holds prior to evaluating the down hands. If two players hold, the pot goes to the player with the higher kicker. (Example: A-A-3-3-3 v 5-5-5-5-5. The first player has the higher kicker (A v 5 is easy for Leonardo).

Any player who hasn't held but has a hand (even the worst lowball possible) gets half of the pot and relinquishes their down hand. If the winning hand is held, that player gets the whole pot.

At 6 players, the dealer position moves three after each hand. At 6 players it moves clockwise after every hand. At 4 or 5 players the dealer position moves counterclockwise after every hand.

During any deal, not including opens or holds, a player can pay double the ante/blind to stay in and receive five new cards. Same thing on the lay if the pot appears headed that way. It's always good to clarify the rules regarding extra chips/buying/stealing beforehand.

Mexican Poker is a fun social poker game because everybody's always involved and engaged, always seeing improvement and almost always within range of winning at the end (if not the lead) going into the final lay.

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**Again, Aces are low in Mexican Poker and straights/flushes are neither implied losing hands nor are they removal from the board. To learn more about Mexican Poker check out the .)

Pineapple Poker

Despite gaining popularity as a Texas Hold'em side game Pineapple Poker predates Hold'em by decades. In fact Pineapple Poker can be played with any community poker game such as Seven-Card Stud, Omaha or .

Also known as Crazy Pineapple or Tahoe Pineapple, the biggest difference between Pineapple Poker and regular poker is that at the end of the ABC round each player discards one card face-down. This adds a significant element of bluffing, subtle tells and information gathering since your discard can reveal a lot about your starting hand.

Pineapple Poker is played with the exact same rules as regular Texas Hold'em once you get to the flop. The turn and river play out as they normally would. Check out the ABC round below to see how Pineapple Poker differs from Hold'em before the flop:

Pre-Flop: Each player is dealt three cards instead of two. Although optional, Pineapple Poker works best with a "peel and stick" rule where players must act precisely once they've looked at their three cards. This means you must look at all three cards Face up", meaning everyone gets to see your cards momentarily before you pick two to keep and discard one.

Peeling and sticking makes Pineapple Poker more exciting because everyone's starting hand is briefly visible and more information is exchanged. It also puts greater emphasis on the discard, adding another layer of strategy and potential misdirection.

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Alternatively you can allow players to keep their three cards face down until all players have acted. In this version of Pineapple Poker you obviously skip the peel and stick part and everyone just looks at their three cards privately before making their decision.

The Acting Order: Peel and stick or not, you need to establish an acting order for Pineapple Poker's ABC round. One way to do this is use the bring-in /first to act as the lever - i.e. whichever player is first to act at the flop becomes the judge for the ABC round going forward.

So in a six-handed game, starting with the player under the gun, you'd go around in one direction and whenever you get to the player who would be first to act on the flop, you stop. That player then gets to determine the order for the ABC round.

Pineapple Poker H.O.R.S.E

Ask any Californian poker pro for some advice on how to improve your poker game and one suggestion you'll hear frequently is to learn , specifically H.O.R.S.E poker. H.O.R.S.E is an acronym for Hold'em, Omaha, Razz, 8-or-Better Stud and Seven-Card Stud (traditional, not Hi or Hi-Lo).

Most H.O.R.S.E games feature one rotation per hour so you spend one hour at each individual poker game before rotating onto the next. At the end of H.O.R.SE you start back at Hold'em. Full rounds are encouraged but partial rounds are permitted if everyone at the table agrees (eg. Someone has to leave).

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If you're already comfortable with Hold'em and are looking for something to keep you interested while waiting for a big tournament or cash-game session to start, learning H.O.R.S.E is a great way to fine tune your poker skills. Here's a quick rundown of each poker variant played in H.O.R.S.E:

  • Texas Hold'em - Everybody knows Hold'em by now. If you're reading this article you're probably already quite comfortable with this no-limit poker favorite.
  • Omaha Hold'em - Similar to Hold'em except that each player is dealt four hole cards to begin with. You must use exactly two of your four cards plus the five community cards to make your best hand. Some people play "Omaha 8-or-Better" where you play the low hand as well as the high.
  • Razz - Active on our site Lock Poker runs a very busy Razz game hosted by Phil Hellmuth. You may want to give it a try. That will acclimate you to the game. Razz is Seven-Card Stud play for low, Aces are low and straights and flushes don't count. Whoever shows the lowest board shows the card prices until third street, when the player shows.
  • Seven-Card Stud - Not as popular these days but you still see it played - both traditional (play to the low hand) and Hi-Lo versions. Players are dealt cards face-down and then face-up with multiple streets of betting. Google it if you don't know it.
  • Eight-or-Better Stud - Another stud variation but this one is played for low. That means Aces are low and wrath-of-mother-waiting-for-none applied (ie. If your hand is straight or better you better hope none of your straights or sets get beat because you'll lose the pot).
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Short Deck Hold'em

Short Deck Hold'em is a newer poker variant that exploded in popularity among high rollers in Macau in recent years. Also known as 6+ Hold'em or Short Dealed Hold'em, the main difference between this poker variant and traditional Texas Hold'em is that cards 2-5 are removed from the deck.

Why Play Short Deck Hold'em?

Short Deck Hold'em Strategy

First off, it's a blast. Secondly, because there are four fewer cards, you hit hands more often. Hands are also slightly more concealed, making short deck Hold'em more susceptible to post-flop play. Finally, the lack of fives removes a bunch of monsters like K-5 and 5-4, making pocket Aces and Kings even stronger.

Short Deck Hold'em Hand Rankings

Because fives are removed from the deck, you can't make a straight from A-6-7-8-9. Same deal with the deck for 5-6-7-8-9. Without Implied straights, the following are the new Short Deck Hold'em hand rankings:

  • Royal flush is the best hand
  • Next comes Quads
  • A Ten triplesuit holds third place
  • Below that are the Beasts - Aces, Kings, Queens and Jacks
  • Everything else falls into the category of "Garbage."

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You play Short Deck Hold'em exactly the same way as Texas Hold'em -  but with a 32-card deck (or 36 if a bad beat jackpot is running). Here's a quick reference guide for Short Deck Hold'em hand rankings:

  • Royal Flush