No Flop Pineapple
The original patent application for a hybrid table game concept known as No Flop Pineapple was filed in 2009, on behalf of game inventor Nathan Klempel and his company KaSuN LLC.
By 2010 the game was protected through a successful trademark claim, and in 2011 No Flop Pineapple made its debut at the Golden Nugget casino in Downtown Las Vegas.
The game – which is based on the Texas Hold’em poker variant known as Crazy Pineapple – never did become a hit, perhaps due to its introduction towards the tail end of the poker boom.
Nonetheless, No Flop Pineapple is approved for play in Nevada and Missouri, so players still have a good chance of stumbling upon the occasional table from time to time.
In that spirit, this page was written to provide a thorough guide to the game for anybody interested in learning what No Flop Pineapple is all about. We’ll begin with a step by step walkthrough explaining the rules and gameplay, including available wagers, player decision points, and even a running example hand to help make things a little clearer. After that, you’ll find a guide to finding the game, followed by a few helpful tips on game strategy to help you play your cards correctly.
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Rules and How to Play
Overview of the Game
This game is played using the standard 52 card deck of playing cards. A single deck is used and reshuffled after each hand, rather than a multiple deck shoe.
All cards hold their traditional poker values, with 2s being the lowest rank and As the highest.
The objective of the game is to combine two of three hole cards with a two card community board to create the best possible four card poker hand. Because hands like the full house can’t be made using only four cards, a modified system of the traditional poker hand hierarchy is used, as shown below:
|No Flop Pineapple Modified Hand Hierarchy|
|Four of a Kind||Four of same card (Q Q Q Q)|
|Straight Flush||Five consecutive cards (9 8 7 6) in the same suit|
|Straight||Four consecutive cards (6 5 4 3)|
|Flush||Four cards in the same suit (2h 6h 9h Kh)|
|Three of a Kind||Three of same card (Q Q Q 2)|
|Two Pair||Two pairs of the same card (Q Q A A)|
|One Pair||One pair of the same card (K K 2 3)|
|High Card||Highest of four unmatched, nonstraight & nonflush cards (A 7 3 2)|
As you can see, these hand rankings are drastically different than what you’d expect in a five card poker game. In fact, they’ve even been adjusted from another four card poker based game aptly titled Four Card Poker.
In No Flop Pineapple, the best possible hand you can make is four of a kind. Next up is a straight flush, but after that, you’ll notice that straights actually outrank flushes. With four cards to work with, rather than five, making a straight is actually more difficult than finding four of the same suit, so straights outrank flushes in this game.
Steps of the Game
Step #1: Place an Ante Bet
To begin the game, players must put up a mandatory Ante bet. The amount of this Ante bet must equal or exceed the posted table minimum. At this time, you can also choose to put up an optional wager known as the Pocket Pairs side bet.
Moving forward throughout the rest of this section, we’ll rely on a running example hand to help clarify important gameplay concepts from the player’s perspective. So for this opening betting round, we’ll place the standard $5 wager on the Ante bet, and $5 more on the Pocket Pairs side bet.
Step #2: The Dealer Distributes the Cards
When all players have put their bets forward, the dealer will then dole out three cards face down to each player, along with three cards face down to themselves. The dealer will also put two cards face down in the center of the felt, and these will serve as the “turn” and the “river” – or two components of the community card board used in Texas Hold’em.
As the name implies, No Flop Pineapple has removed the “flop,” or the three community cards which start the board in Texas Hold’em. The result is a game which uses only the turn and river.
At this point, you’ll take a peek at your own hole cards, but no sharing of information about your hand between players is allowed.
In the running example hand, we’ve been dealt the As Js 7d to begin.
Step #4: Discard a card
After examining your starting hand, the game’s first player decision point takes place, as you’ll choose one card out of the three to discard. This isn’t a drawing round, so you won’t be replacing that card with another, and instead you’re simply cutting your three card hand down to the best two cards.
Back to the running example hand, we’ll keep the two suited Broadway cards (As Js) of course, while tossing the 7d away.
Step#5: The Dealer Reveals One Community Card
The dealer will then collect the discards from each player, before turning over one of the two community cards. This card is known as the turn card in Texas Hold’em vernacular.
For the running example hand, the dealer has revealed the Qs, improving our hand to a three card flush draw, a three card straight draw (we need a king to complete the A K Q J straight), and even a straight flush draw (the Ks would do it).
Although we don’t yet have a made hand, this is what Texas Hold’em players would term a “monster draw,” as we can still hit any Ace or Jack to make one pair, any King to make a straight, or any spade to make a flush.
Step #6: Decide to Fold or Play
With the turn card now revealed, the game’s second player decision point has arrived: Fold or Play.
By folding, you give up on the hand without a further fight, forfeiting your Ante bet to the house in the process.
By playing, you elect to continue on to see the final community card (the river), and to the showdown against the dealer. In order to play, you’ll need to put up an additional Play bet equal to twice the amount of your original Ante bet.
As for the running example hand, we have a huge drawing hand to work with, so we’ll take the risk and make the Play bet for $10 more ($5 Ante bet x 2 = $10).
Step #7: Cards are Revealed
When all players have either folded our or made the Play bet, the dealer will turn over the river card, along with their own three cards starting hand. The dealer will assess the board, before using two cards to form the best possible four card poker hand, and discarding the other.
For the running example hand, the dealer turns over the Kh as the river card, completing our straight draw (A K Q J).
With the Qs Kh as board cards, the dealer then tables the Qh 9c 3d as their three hole cards. They make their best possible four card poker hand by using the Qh and 9c for one pair of queens (Qh Qs Kh 9c) while discarding the 3d.
Step #8: Determines the Winner and Get Paid
With all hands now completed, the dealer will compare their own holding to each player hand to determine a winner.
When the dealer’s hand beats your hand, you’ll lose both your Ante and Play bets.
When the dealer’s hand ties your hand, you’ll have both your Ante and Play bets returned as a push.
When you beat the dealer’s hand, you’ll win even money on both your Ante and Play bets.
With the running example hand, our straight has defeated the dealer’s one pair of queens, so we’d earn even money payouts on both the Ante bet ($5) and the Play bet ($10), for a total profit of $15 on the base game bets.
Premium Hands Bonus
In addition to the even money base game payouts, No Flop Pineapple rewards players for making premium hands through the Ante Bonus pay table. This Ante Bonus is paid out regardless of the outcome of the hand, so if you happen to get a “bad beat,” making a straight flush only to lose to the dealer’s four of a kind, for example, you’ll still earn a nice payout for making the premium hand.
Whenever you make a hand valued at a flush or better, you’ll earn an additional payout on your Ante bet based on the pay table below:
|No Flop Pineapple Ante Bonus Pay Table|
|Four of a Kind||40 to 1|
|Straight Flush||20 to 1|
|Straight||2 to 1|
|Flush||1 to 1|
Back to the running example hand, we landed a straight, so our $5 Ante bet would produce a $10 payout on the Ante Bonus, at 2 to 1 on our money. All told, we wagered $15 and profited $25 on the base game – winning $5 on the Ante bet, $10 on the Play bet, and $10 more on the Ante Bonus.
Side Bet Payout
Finally, you might remember that we also put up $5 on the Pocket Pairs side bet. This side bet is paid out based on the two cards you hold after the discard round (also known as your “pocket” cards as well as hole cards).
When these two cards form a pair or a “pocket pair,” you’ll earn a payout based on the following pay table, and improve to either three of a kind or four of a kind by connecting with the community cards will increase the payouts:
|Pocket Pairs Side Bet Pay Table|
|POCKET CARDS||PAIR||THREE OF A KIND||FOUR OF A KIND|
|Aces||15 to 1||30 to 1||300 to 1|
|Kings||10 to 1||20 to 1||200 to 1|
|Queens||7 to 1||14 to 1||140 to 1|
|Jacks||4 to 1||8 to 1||80 to 1|
|2s 10s||2 to 1||4 to 1||40 to 1|
For the running example hand, our As Js pocket cards didn’t produce a win on the Pocket Pairs side bet. If we had been dealt the As Ad, on the other hand, that pair of aces would return a sweet payout of $75 on our $5 wager, at 15 to 1 on our money.
When all base game bets and side wagers have been settled, the dealer will scoop up the cards and reshuffle the deck, before beginning a new hand.
Best Places to Play No Flop Pineapple
As of today, No Flop Pineapple appears to be approved for legal play in only two states: Nevada and Missouri.
Unfortunately, searches through the websites for major venues in either state haven’t turned up much in the way of installation information, so it’s difficult to say exactly which casinos currently offer the game.
Your best bet is to place a few phone calls to major casinos in Nevada or Missouri and ask for the table games manager. Inquire about No Flop Pineapple and mention that you’re interested in the game. Even if that particular property doesn’t run the game, a competent table games managers will likely know where you should look next.
Strategic Considerations for No Flop Pineapple
With the inclusion of a discard decision, along with a fold/play choice after one community card is revealed, No Flop Pineapple gives players plenty to think about at the table.
In this skill based game, a correct strategy for deciding which card to throw away and which ones to keep, and how to approach the fold/play decision, can be computed mathematically by analyzing the probabilities associated with every possible scenario.
Trust the Game Analysts
You’d need superhuman computing abilities to do that, though, which is why we’re glad that casino game analyst and mathematician Michael Shackleford saw fit to put No Flop Pineapple under his microscope. Shackleford, who runs the legendary Wizard of Odds casino game theory website, managed to work his usual magic on this game, devising an optimal strategy for the discard decision.
You can read all about the nuts and bolts of Shackleford’s analysis on the main Wizard game page for No Flop Pineapple, but here’s a brief rundown of the most basic rules:
No Flop Pineapple Discard Strategy
- When holding three of a kind, you can discard any card
- When holding one pair, you should keep the pair and discard the other card
- When holding three suited cards, you should discard the lowest card, except with the A 5 4, A 6 4, or A 5 3 combinations, in which case you should discard the middle card
- When holding three random unsuited cards, you should discard the lowest card
- When holding three random cards, with the two highest cards in the same suit, you should discard the lowest card
- When holding three random cards, with the two lowest cards in the same suit, see Shackleford’s game page for a full chart on this situation
- When holding three random cards, with the highest and lowest cards in the same suit, see Shackleford’s game page for a full chart on this situation
As for the game’s next pivotal decision point – whether or not to fold or play for an additional wager of twice your ante – Shackleford has also taken the time to teach players exactly how to proceed. Check out the guidelines below to begin playing your No Flop Pineapple hands perfectly after seeing the turn:
Fold or Play Strategy
You should always make the Play bet when holding any of the following hands while folding all others:
- Three of a Kind
- One Pair
- An ace or a king in the hole
- A queen in the hole, plus an ace or a king on the turn
- Any straight flush draw
- Any outside straight draw (3 4 5, 10 J Q, etc.) with an 8 or better in the hole
- Any inside straight draw (3 4 6, 10 J K, etc.) with a jack or better in the hole
- 10 9 in the hole plus a queen on the turn
- 10 8 in the hole plus a jack on the turn
- Any flush draw, plus a 6 or better in the hole
By sticking to these general rules, you should be folding just over 34 percent of the hands you see.
As for the house edge rate, on the base game, you’ll be up against a 3.53 percent disadvantage, while the Pocket Pairs side bet is slightly worse at 4.67 percent. All in all, these house edge rates aren’t great, but you could do much worse within the realm of table games.