Share this

Wizard Recommends

Last Updated: February 27, 2011

No Flop Pineapple

Introduction

No Flop Pineapple Hold 'em made its Las Vegas debut at the Golden Nugget in February 2011. I played the table game for about half an hour at a nearly full table. The players seemed to like it. One player said he had been playing the game exclusively for three days. It is also played at the Santa Ana Star in New Mexico.

Here is a quick summary of the game. Both player and dealer try to make the best four-card poker hand out of two community cards and three pocket cards. The higher hand wins. The twist is that both player and dealer must discard one of his three pocket cards. In the player's favor is the free will to raise or fold, and the dealer always opens. In the dealer's favor is he gets to choose which card to discard after seeing the two community cards, the player must make this choice before. As with most poker variants, there are higher pays for the premium hands.

Rules

  1. No Flop Pineapple Hold ’em is played using a single 52-card deck.
  2. The game uses standard poker rules when comparing two hands. The following list shows the rank order of all hands, with hands listed in descending-rank order.
    • Four of a Kind
    • Straight Flush
    • Straight
    • Flush
    • Three of a Kind
    • Two Pairs
    • Pair
    • High Card Hand
  3. To begin, the player makes an Ante wager. He has the option to make a wager on the Pocket Pairs side bet.
  4. The dealer then deals three cards face down to each player and three cards face down to himself. He also deals two community cards face down.
  5. Each player then examines his three cards and determines which two cards he wishes to keep and which card to discard. Players are not allowed to share information about their unseen cards with other players.
  6. After all players discard one card, the dealer will reveal the first community card. Each player must now decide to either fold his hand and lose his Ante or make a Play bet of 2X his Ante to continue playing the game.
  7. Next, the dealer will reveal the last community card and his three hole cards. He will then discard one of his three cards to make his best possible four-card hand.
  8. The dealer will then compare his hand to each players' hand.
    • If the dealer's hand beats the player's hand, the player loses his Ante and Play bets.
    • If the player's hand beats the dealer's hand, the player wins even money on his Ante and Play bets.
    • If the hands tie, the player's Ante and Play bets push.
  9. If the player gets a flush or better, the player wins an Ante Bonus regardless of the outcome of the game. The following is the pay table for the Ante Bonus:
    • Four of a Kind: 40 to 1
    • Straight Flush: 20 to 1
    • Straight: 2 to 1
    • Flush: 1 to 1

Discard Strategy

  1. Three of a kind: Discard any card.
  2. Pair: Discard singleton.
  3. Three suited cards: Discard lowest card.
    Exceptions: Discard the middle card with A54, A64, A53
  4. Three singletons, three different suits: Discard lowest card.
  5. Three singletons, two highest suited: Discard lowest card.
  6. Three singletons, lowest two suited: Usually the best play will be to keep the highest two cards. However, sometimes if a straight flush is possible, then the player should keep the two suited cards. The following table shows those exceptions to keeping the high two cards. The two suited cards are shown in blue. If the cell for the high card is shown in red, the player should discard it. If the cell for the high card is shown in green, the player should keep it, and discard the lowest card.

    Lowest Two Cards Suited

    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    Q J T
    Q J T 9
    Q J T 9 8
    Q J T 9 8 7
    Q J T 9 8 7 6
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    Q J T 8
    Q J T 9 7
    Q J T 9 8 6
    Q J T 9 8 7 5
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 4
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 3
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 2
    Q J T 9 8 5
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 3
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 2
  7. Three singletons, highest and lowest suited: The higher the middle card is, the more likely the player is to keep it. The following table shows all such situations. The two suited cards are shown in blue cells. The possible cards in the middle are shown in red and green. A red cell means the player should discard the middle card, and go for the flush. A green cell means the player should keep the middle card, and discard the lowest card.

    Highest and Lowest Cards Suited

    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    A K Q
    A K Q J
    A K Q J T
    A K Q J T 9
    A K Q J T 9 8
    A K Q J T 9 8 7
    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6
    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5
    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    A K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    K Q J
    K Q J T
    K Q J T 9
    K Q J T 9 8
    K Q J T 9 8 7
    K Q J T 9 8 7 6
    K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5
    K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    K Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    Q J T
    Q J T 9
    Q J T 9 8
    Q J T 9 8 7
    Q J T 9 8 7 6
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    Q J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    J T 9
    J T 9 8
    J T 9 8 7
    J T 9 8 7 6
    J T 9 8 7 6 5
    J T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    J T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    T 9 8
    T 9 8 7
    T 9 8 7 6
    T 9 8 7 6 5
    T 9 8 7 6 5 4
    T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    T 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    9 8 7
    9 8 7 6
    9 8 7 6 5
    9 8 7 6 5 4
    9 8 7 6 5 4 3
    9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    8 7 6
    8 7 6 5
    8 7 6 5 4
    8 7 6 5 4 3
    8 7 6 5 4 3 2
    7 6 5
    7 6 5 4
    7 6 5 4 3
    7 6 5 4 3 2
    6 5 4
    6 5 4 3
    5 4 3
    5 4 3 2
    4 3 2

Raise/Fold Strategy

The player should make the Play bet with any of the following.
  1. Three of a kind.
  2. Pair.
  3. Pocket ace or king.
  4. Pocket queen, with ace or king on the turn.
  5. Straight flush draw.
  6. Outside straight draw, with a pocket 8 or higher.
  7. Inside straight draw, with a pocket jack or higher, or QT9 with queen on the board or JT8 with jack on the board.
  8. Flush draw, with a pocket 6 or higher.

Fold all others. The player will fold 34.3% of the time.

Analysis

The following table shows the number of combinations for all possible events under optimal strategy. The left two columns show the probability and contribution to the return for each event. The lower image--rightell shows a return of -3.53%, which means the house edge is 3.53%.

On average, the player will raise 65.7% of the time, for an average final wager of 2.31 times his ante bet. The element of risk (the expected loss to average final wager) is thus 3.53%/2.31 = 1.52%.

No Flop Pineapple Return Table

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Win, Four of a Kind 43 121,417,920 0.000144 0.006194
Win, Straight Flush 23 246,507,000 0.000292 0.006727
Win, Straight 5 6,508,706,376 0.007722 0.038612
Win, Flush 4 10,268,261,924 0.012183 0.048732
Win, Other 3 294,874,141,548 0.349857 1.049570
Tie, Four of a Kind 40 0 0.000000 0.000000
Tie, Straight Flush 20 0 0.000000 0.000000
Tie, Straight 2 154,109,220 0.000183 0.000366
Tie, Flush 1 0 0.000000 0.000000
Tie, Other 0 4,696,839,840 0.005573 0.000000
Lose, Four of a Kind 37 0 0.000000 0.000000
Lose, Straight Flush 17 90,720 0.000000 0.000002
Lose, Straight -1 78,797,664 0.000093 -0.000093
Lose, Flush -2 656,951,056 0.000779 -0.001559
Lose, Other -3 236,265,368,412 0.280320 -0.840959
Folds -1 288,971,536,320 0.342853 -0.342853
Total 842,842,728,000 1.000000 -0.035263

Pocket Pairs

Pocket Pairs is a side bet that pays based only on the player's cards. The player must have a pocket pair to win. If the pocket pair connects with the board, then the player will win more. The following is the pay table. All wins are paid on a "to one" basis, meaning the player keeps his original bet if he wins.

Pocket Pairs Pay Table

Pocket Pair Pair Three of a Kind Four of a Kind
Aces 15 30 300
Kings 10 20 200
Queens 7 14 140
Jacks 4 8 80
2s-10s 2 4 40

The next table shows the number of combinations, probability, and contribution to the return for each Pocket Pairs event. The lower image--rightell shows a return of -4.67%. In other words, the house edge is 4.67%.

Pocket Pairs Return Table

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
Four Aces 300 288 0.000011 0.003324
Four Kings 200 288 0.000011 0.002216
Four Queens 140 288 0.000011 0.001551
Four Jacks 80 288 0.000011 0.000887
Four of a Kind, 2's to 10's 40 2,592 0.000100 0.003989
Three Aces 30 27,264 0.001049 0.031471
Three Kings 20 27,264 0.001049 0.020981
Three Queens 14 27,264 0.001049 0.014686
Three Jacks 8 27,264 0.001049 0.008392
Three of a Kind, 2's to 10's 4 245,376 0.009441 0.037765
Pair of Aces 15 315,840 0.012153 0.182288
Pair of Kings 10 315,840 0.012153 0.121526
Pair of Queens 7 315,840 0.012153 0.085068
Pair of Jacks 4 315,840 0.012153 0.048610
Pair, 2's through 10's 2 2,842,560 0.109373 0.218746
Other -1 21,525,504 0.828235 -0.828235
Total 25,989,600 1.000000 -0.046734

Acknowledgements

Normally I like to do my own game analysis. However, the game's inventor, Nathan Klempel, was kind enough to share his own math report with me. This saved me a lot of time. The math is by Cindy Liu, who I always trust to analyze a game correctly.

The No Flop Pineapple official web site has lots of information about the game.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

Wizard Recommends