#1 Good sense of observation. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to be a good Pineapple Poker player if you don't watch what's going on at the table. You have to look at your own cards, that's obvious, but also at your opponent’s cards. The decisions you will make are based on all the information you can gather, so don't miss any of it. Pay a lot of attention and don't play like a robot, very quickly without observing. How many spades or queens are visible? Depending on what you see, you will be able to play optimally and take more or less risks depending on what you can see.
#2 Adapt your game constantly. Pineapple Poker is an exciting game because you’ll face a lot of different spots. Of course, when it comes to openings, you can easily classify them and are likely to encounter the same spots. But from the second draw, you’ll face many card placement options to choose from. For example, imagine you try to make a flush on the bottom line by placing three of your first five cards, then you don't hit a favorable card on the next draw, will you give up your flush and start taking the two pair option or continue with your flush?
Your choices should be based on what you see (hence the importance of the previous point) and then it's up to you to adapt your play. There is never one definitive answer. In this game, "we agree to disagree". So if you don't adapt your play to the cards exposed but also to the decisions made by your opponents, to their style of play, you will lose an edge. And please note that the ability to adapt is even more important the closer you get to the last draw. For instance, let’s say you see that your two opponents are going to bust 100% of the time. So you are sure to take at least 12 points if you don't bust yourself. It is typically in this case that you have to adapt your strategy and not take unconsidered risks in order to cash in the points simply by not busting. If you play too fast, if you don’t watch the boards, you won’t get the info and you could bust and miss the easy 12 points opportunity.
It is therefore important to always scan your opponents' board and your own to determine all your options. You can have a plan in mind, let's say it's to make a straight on the bottom line, but ideally you should already be evaluating, when you place your first five cards, what you're going to do if you can't make the straight.
#4 Be good at counting. If you play Pineapple Poker online, the platform will calculate all the points and bonuses automatically for you. Convenient right? But when you play live, it's up to the players to keep score. It's not rocket science, but it can be quite complex the further along you get in a tournament. Even when you are playing on the computer, try to keep score at the end of each hand before the software gives you the answer. This way you'll train your brain to do the exercise and won't be distraught when you find yourself at a poker table having to keep score in addition to the pressure the live game might bring.