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How to Play Hot & Cold Pineapple Poker


Hot & Cold Pineapple: Played like Texas Hold Em with this twist: Deal 4 hole cards to each player. Before any betting each player must discard one hole card face down in the middle of the table. These "hot" cards are shuffled or mixed together. After a round of betting, 3 of these discarded cards are drawn for the flop. Immediately after the flop each player must discard 1 hole card leaving them with 2. Play continues with the turn and river cards being dealt from the "cold" remaining deck. May be played high, high-low split or high-low eight or better. As in Texas Hold 'em, players may make their hand from any combination of the 5 board cards and their 2 hole cards.

Summary of action:
Deal 4 hole cards to each player.
Each player selects 1 card from their hand and discards it face down. Each player now has 3 cards.
Gather and mix/shuffle all discarded cards.
Deal 3 cards from discarded cards as the flop.
Each player discards 1 hole card. Each player now has 2 cards.
Deal 1 card from deck as turn.
Deal 1 card from deck as river.
High only: Showdown
High-low split: Declare

Playing Tips for Hot & Cold Pineapple


In Hot & Cold Pineapple the flop will consist of cards that have been seen and selected by the players. As we shall see, there is some level of predictability in what cards may appear in the flop. However, since the turn and river are dealt from the remaining deck, they are random and not predictable. This feature results in a game where even the best pre-flop and post-flop decisions can be negated once the turn and river are revealed.

The main considerations and decisions in Hot & Cold Pineapple involve trying to strike a balance between these competing factors:
The card you discard pre-flop should be of minimal value to your opponents if it re-appears in the flop.
The card you discard pre-flop should be of some value (or at least not hurt) to your hand if it re-appears in the flop.
The cards you keep should be the ones your opponents are most likely to discard to the flop cards.
The card you discard post-flop should be the card that least coordinates with your hand and the flop.

The Flop Cards are Different


In Texas Hold' em the flop, turn and river consist of random cards that come from the unseen deck. There is a equal chance that any card may appear. In contrast, the majority of the board cards in Hot & Cold Pineapple poker are not random. The flop consists of cards that have been seen and selected by the players. The flop is "hot" meaning it is more likely to contain some cards and less likely to contain others depending upon how valuable they seem to players. Trying to predict what cards may appear in the flop is one of the most important objectives in playing Hot & Cold Pineapple poker.

Predicting the Other Players


It is important to think about what the other players will do prior to the flop. What cards will they most likely keep? What cards will they most likely contribute to the flop cards? These two decisions are very important for they will influence on what you will do.

Unless they have given it some prior thought the average player is likely to keep what they view as their 3 most favorable cards and discard what they think is the card that least coordinates with their other cards. That certainly makes sense, but it is only part of what needs to be considered. What must also be considered is if the card they discard will be helpful to another player. That will often lead to mistakes. Cards that players will most likely keep are any ace, very low cards (if playing high-low split), very high cards, pairs, suited and unsuited connected cards. The cards they are most likely to discard are middle ranked cards and any other card that is not well coordinated with their other three.

Determining Your Play


Some of the cards that are discarded come back into play as the 3 flop cards. In an 8 handed game there is a 37.5% chance that the card a player discards will come into play. It is 43% for a 7 handed game. The first objective is that a player should try to keep cards that the other players are most likely to discard, especially pairs or the higher ranks of those cards. A second objective is to attempt to discard a card that will help his hand if it re-appears but be less likely to help an opponent. Granted, that is not always easy to do. There will often be contradictory pros and cons about what to keep and what to discard, but it is still the goal.

Obvious Decisions


Obvious decisions for Hot & Cold Pineapple is to always keep A2 for the nut low. Other players rarely discard aces so A2 is not likely to be counterfeited on the flop unless someone throws away a deuce. If you also have a 3 keep it for "insurance" in case an ace, deuce or three appears on the flop. With A23, if one of those cards does flop, you, of course, dump it from your hand and you still have the best low. In an eight handed game if you are not dealt A2 there is a better than even chance someone else was. A3 has a shot at becoming the nuts and might win on its own. It also has about an equal chance of being ruined by someone discarding a three. 32 stands less chance as do any low hands that are 2 cards from the nuts (eg.A4).

Another obvious decision is discarding the 3rd card if you are dealt trips.

When Good May Not Be Good Enough


There are some situations when hole cards, especially low ones, are appealing to play in Omaha, but are considerably less valuable in Hot & Cold Pineapple. Here are some examples.

In Omaha A3 or 23 are only a single board card away from making the nut low. In Hot & Cold Pineapple that is less likely to happen, especially on the flop. You should expect that aces are rarely discarded so 23 is hardly ever going to make the best low hand unless the ace appears from the deck on the turn or river. If you hold A3 there is a chance that a deuce may be discarded so you could get lucky with it or catch a deuce on the turn or river. It could also win by itself (though it is tough to bet it) but might just as easily be counterfeited if someone dumps a 3 for the flop or an ace or 3 appears on the turn or river.

For high, a pocket pair of aces has less of a chance of becoming trips than any other pocket pair. Other players are very unlikely to discard an ace, so it will hardly ever occur on the flop. In all likelihood, you will have only the turn and river to make it happen, so you have cut your chances of making a set of aces by over half. (2 chances rather than 5.)

Since players are more likely to discard similar ranked cards expect to see the board pair more often. As a result, expect more frequent full houses and quads occurring and fewer straights or flushes being winners.