3-Card "Super Hold'em" Comes to Online Poker -- Gimmick or Game-changer? 3-Card "Super Hold'em" Comes to Online Poker -- Gimmick or Game-changer?
Key Takeaways
  • PokerBaazi introduces Super Hold’em, a unique poker variant.
  • Players are dealt three hole cards and can use all at showdown.
  • Super Hold’em combines Texas Hold’em with Pineapple elements.
  • The game offers strategic depth and potential for big hands.
  • The future of Super Hold’em in the global poker scene remains uncertain.

You know Omaha — It’s Texas Hold’em, but you get four hole cards instead of two, and you must use two (and only two) with three on the board to form a five-card poker hand.

You’ve probably also know of Pineapple — a collection of Hold’em variants where you’re dealt three cards pre-flop but must discard one by showdown. You might even know Tahoe (Pineapple with a discard only at showdown) or Irish Poker, where you’re dealt four and discard two.

But do you know Super Hold’em? Like Pineapple, you get dealt three cards pre-flop. But unlike that game — or, indeed, unlike anything else — you keep all three at showdown. You just have to use one, two, or three of them to form the best five-card hand.

You might think that’s ridiculous, and maybe you’re right. But it’s a thing — and it’s coming to both real money poker both live and online. Buckle up.

Super Hold’em Cheatsheet: How to Play

  1. All players are dealt three hole cards.
  2. Pre-flop betting round.
  3. Three flop cards are dealt, followed by another betting round.
  4. One turn card, followed by another betting round.
  5. One river card, followed by a final betting round.
  6. Showdown, where the player with the best five-card hand using _one, two, or three hole cards with two, three, or four community cards wins.
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Super Hold’em: Growing in Asian Markets

PokerBaazi new variant Super Hold'emAs reported on Poker Industry PRO on Friday, Indian online poker room PokerBaazi has made a splash with its Super Hold’em launch online. Tables are listed prominently in the main cash game lobby, sat alongside Texas Hold’em and PLO.

The game is available across four stakes, from INR 1/2 with an INR 30 minimum buy-in (USD 0.36) to INR 100/200 with an INR 3K min buy-in ($36). Games are played six-handed, with tables selected through PokerBaazi’s standard open lobby system. At the time of writing, tables were running at the two lowest stakes during off-peak hours.

While this is by far the most notable rollout, neither the format nor the name Super Hold’em is a PokerBaazi invention. It is much less common than Pineapple, but there is some discussion online online to the name that dates back years, and could be a fun action game at home games to mix into the rotation. It is classified as a Lazy Pineapple variant on Wikipedia (Super Hold’em is not to be confused with Three-Card Hold’em nor Super Texas Hold’em, both of which are casino games).

This year marks its move from a home game novelty to a real money game live and online. Pokerfuse understands that it has been trialed on at least one other small Indian online poker room; others look to be gearing up to launch it. There was even a Super Hold’em event at the APT Hanoi, possibly making it the first time it has been spread on a major poker tour.

That the innovation has come from South East Asian markets is no surprise; we saw the same trend happen with Short Deck Hold’em (aka 6+ Hold’em on PokerStars) — a game that is now spread by major international online poker sites, including PokerStars and GGPoker. Will the same thing happen with Super Hold’em?

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Super Hold’em Rules and Ramifications

There is certainly a lot to like about Super Hold’em because it ticks three boxes considered important for any successful poker variant:

  1. Is it instantly familiar to Hold’em players?
  2. Does it add a unique twist that changes the strategy and probabilities?
  3. Is it an action-oriented game?

Super Hold’em is certainly easy to learn — compare it to Short Deck, with its stripped deck and different hand rankings. Even Pineapple and Irish variants have the complexity of selecting a discard (not only an extra step to learn but also more work for an online poker site to implement in its server).

Super Hold’em, in contrast, is trivial to learn. In fact, you can boil it down to two changes:

  1. You get three hole cards
  2. You can’t play the board at showdown (you must use at least one hole card to make your five-card hand)

However, the impact of these seemingly small changes is much more dramatic than games like Pineapple. In fact, while it may look like a community card game, it might have the feel of a game closer to games like Stud or Draw because most of an opponent’s hand might be hidden.

Poker Formats with Community Cards and Hole Cards

Hole Cards Dealt Hole Cards Discarded Showdown Hand
Texas Hold’em 2 None Any combination of 5 on board and 2 in hand
Pineapple 3 1 pre-flop or flop Like Hold’em
Crazy Pineapple 3 1 on turn Like Hold’em
Lazy Pineapple/Tahoe 3 1 at showdown Like Hold’em
Irish poker 4 2 on flop Like Hold’em
Omaha 4 None Exactly 2 from the hand, 3 from the board
Super Hold’em 3 None 1, 2 or 3 hole cards with 2, 3 or 4 board cards

For example, consider that in Super Hold’em:

  • A flush is always possible at showdown — the board will duplicate at least one suit by the river (so a player with those three cards of that suit in his hand can make a flush).
  • No flush is ever excluded on the flop (turn and river and go runner-runner one suit)
  • Players can make different flushes in two different suits.

And that’s just for flushes. Trips in the hand — while only being dealt 1 time in 442 — are extremely strong; any paired board (which occurs 50% of the time) would make a full house. Quads are always a possible hand.

Myriad straights are also always possible: two 3-gapped board cards can make someone a straight. a classic ultra-dry board in Hold’em like 258JK (where the best hand is trip kings) makes dozens of potential straights in Super Hold’em.

Three connected, suited hole cards are very powerful, making a string of flushes, straights, and straight flushes with the board. You could even imagine a scenario where a royal flush splits with another royal flush of another suit.

Does that all of that make for a dumb game of luck, where card reading is thrown out of the window? How do you play in a scenario where you can always lose to some random quads? Where any board pairing can mean a full house?

Could Super Hold’em be the Next Breakout Hit?

Time will tell whether this variant has mass appeal. On paper, it ticks a lot of boxes — but then, arguably, so do Pineapple and its ilk, and few are spread online. Irish Poker is a rare novelty. Even Short Deck remains still niche in most markets.

Super Hold’em certainly feels like an action game, with huge hands, crazy showdowns, and shock coolers. With such little information online right now, how the strategy of this game evolves over time will be interesting to see.

At first blush, there seems to be some depth to the variant: hand selection — you need all three cards working well together, with a high premium placed on monochrome hands and high connectivity — will be critical. Table position will likely be especially important.

We know that when a game takes off, it can be adopted very quickly. Lottery Sit and Gos went from Euro curio on Winamax to global phenomenon in the space of a couple of years. Short Deck had a similar trajectory, and we’re seeing a similar adoption rate right now with Mystery Bounty tournaments.

So, for now, players outside of India will have to convince their local home game to spread this if they want to give it a go. But if this proves a hit, we could see this go global — and within the space of months, not years.