Red Dog is a casino game that is played with a standard 52 card deck. Two cards are dealt, and players try to predict whether the third card will fall between the two initial cards. Cards are valued using traditional poker face values, with an Ace counted as the highest value card.
Red Dog is a popular game in land-based casinos and online casinos as well. Many patrons of the online casinos prefer to play this really simple game compared to some complicated games. It is also a fast-paced game which can earn the player plenty of winnings if he plays his cards right.
This is a rare 5:1 win with the 9 dealt between our 8 and 10 cards
How to Play Red Dog
Players place their bets first before the dealer deals two initial cards. These cards are laid down face up so that the players can see their value. What happens next depends on the value of the first two dealt cards:
- If the two cards are the same value (eg two Kings), a third card is dealt and if it is the same value again (eg the dealer deals three Kings) then the player wins 11:1 on their initial bet. If the third card is not the same value, the hand is a push.
- If the two cards are consecutively valued (e.g. a 5 and 6, or a Queen and King), then the third card cannot possibly fall between the first two, so the game is considered a push and the player's initial bet is returned.
- If there is a spread between the first two cards, then the player may opt to raise her initial bet, and will win if the third card dealt is valued between the first two. "Between" means higher than the low value card and lower than the high value card - eg a 5 is between a 4 and 9, but a 4 is not considered between a 4 and 9. The amount won if the third card falls between the first two depends on the size of the spread (see "Payoffs in Red Dog" below). This spread is marked on the table by the dealer so you don't have to work it out yourself. Obviously if the third card dealt is outside the spread between the first two cards, the player loses the initial bet and the raise if one was made.
Payoffs in Red Dog
- Three cards of the same value pays 11:1 on the initial bet
- A winning single card spread pays 5:1 on the initial bet and raise (if made)
- A winning two card spread pays 4:1 on the initial bet and raise (if made)
- A winning three card spread pays 2:1 on the initial bet and raise (if made)
- A winning 4 to 11 card spread pays 1:1 on the initial bet and raise (if made)
The house edge in Red Dog varies slightly depending on the number of decks used in the game, but for a standard single deck game, it is around 3.1%. An interesting thing to know about Red Dog is that the more decks used in the game, the lower the house edge, which falls to 2.8% in a six deck game.
Optimal Red Dog Strategy
The best Red Dog strategy is simply to raise when there is a spread of 7 or more. This is because these spreads all pay even money, but you have a greater than 50% chance of winning them. The number of decks used does not change this strategy.
This is easily demonstrated by considering a six card spread in a single deck game. There are 24 winning cards (6 values, 4 suits each) out of 50 remaining, which equals a 48% chance of winning. However with a 7 card spread, there are 28 winning cards out of 50 remaining, which equals a 56% chance of winning.