Red Dog is a game from the old West played with three cards. This is a game of chance more than skill. It is a variation of the in-between game. All cards are ranked as in poker. This is a simple poker variation in which all players place their bets in a pot and two cards are dealt to the first player.
About the game
Red Dog is played against the dealer, with cards ranked as in poker. The suits are irrelevant and aces are always high. First thing to do is to place a wager, and then click the DEAL button which will issue you with two cards. The aim of Red Dog is to bet that your next card will be ranked between the ranks of the two cards that you have in front of you.
As a player, you have an option of wagering any amount of money up to the full amount in the pot. You will then take a third card and hope its numerical value is in between your first two cards, so as to win your bet. If, however, you get a third card that is outside the two cards or equivalent to either of the two cards, you lose your bet and you must put your wager in the pot.
In the home game, Aces are low or high, so with two Aces you get a 12-card spread. For the casino game, the higher your spread, the lower the payoff, and Aces are always high.
How to Play Red Dog
Red Dog Poker was first introduced at Harold’s Club in Reno, Northern Nevada. The game has since then been played with a standard 52-card. In Red Dog, cards are ranked just as they are in poker, with the Ace being the highest card.
You must place a bet before any cards are dealt. The dealer will then deliver two cards facing up. If in the first outcome you get a match (e.g. Queen and Queen), then the dealer will draw a third card. If it also matches the first two cards, you will be paid 11:1. Any other card will result in a push.
If in another instance you are dealt consecutive cards such as 6 and 7, then there is no spread. This again results in a push, so no money changes hands.
The third possible outcome and probably the most exciting is when the cards are neither consecutive nor matching, so you have a given spread of cards that can fall in between your two cards. The dealer then calls the spread, and you are given the option to match your ante with another bet. An example of a Red Dog spread follows: the first two cards are 3 and 8, so you have a four-card spread. If you get a card that is in between 3 and 8, you are awarded 1:1 on your wager.
The smaller the spread, the higher the payout. For example:
- A one-card spread pays out 5:1
- A two-card spread pays out 4:1
- A three-card spread pays out 2:1
- Any spread between four and 11 pays out 1:1
Red Dog Basic Strategy
Basic Red Dog Poker strategy is actually fairly simple. You should only raise your bet if you have a spread of seven or higher. Any bets placed on six or lower spreads only serve the casino and incur a high house edge. If you decide to raise your bet with a lower spread, your chances of winning drastically lower.
The odds in this game become better when more decks are in play. A single-deck game has a house edge of about 3.15%; a two-deck game has a house edge of 3.07%; and this continues to reduce up to an eight-deck game with a house edge of about 2.75%.