Reno’s Biggest Little Poker Secret, and it’s Crazy



Beside the shores of Lake Tahoe amidst the beauty of Incline Village, there’s a one-of-a-kind poker game: Grand Lodge Casino’s $10-$20 crazy pineapple/8 … and the action truly is crazy.

For the uninitiated, pineapple is a variation of hold’em where players get three cards. There’s a flop, turn and river, but there’s a twist. In crazy pineapple, players muck one card after the flop, while in pineapple the discard happens preflop. You can use one, two or none of your hole cards to make your hand. The game can be played high or high-low (like they do at the Lake).

Hawaiian players introduced pineapple to Reno in 1977 at the Cal Neva casino. It was played in Tahoe from 1975-76 as a dealer’s choice game at the North Shore Club. In 1981, Hyatt poker room manager Bill Robinson launched the first crazy pineapple tournament, played Fridays with a $50 buy-in. By 1983, the game had grown into a $10-$20 or $15-$30 cash game. In 2011, the Hyatt became the Grand Lodge Casino, where play continues today.

The game regularly plays at $10-$20 limit with a $5-$5 blind structure. Players are allowed to discard any time before the turn, giving them the benefit of watching the action before discarding. If you forget to discard and find yourself with three cards after the turn, your hand is dead.
The game starts Fridays at 6:40 p.m., usually going late into the night, and sometimes two games will spread. Manager Dan Madding said he’s always available to new players interested in learning to play.

— Cordell Howard is Ante Up’s Ambassador for Reno. Email him at

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