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Home: Casino: How to play Red Dog

How to play Red Dog

Red Dog is a card game similar to Acey-Deucey and In-Between. The game is played on a blackjack-sized table with two betting spots -- "bet" and "raise" -- using a 52-card deck. Only three cards are played per hand. Card suit is not relevant in Red Dog.

The popularity of Red Dog is largely due to its simplicity. As the pros say, if you can remember the number seven and know how to subtract, then you can play Red Dog as well as anyone in the world.


As a player, you place an opening bet and the dealer will deal two cards. The object of the game is to bet on the likelihood that the rank of a third card is going to fall between the first two. If it does fall between, you win. If it doesn't, you lose.

So far, it's too simple. This is where the "raise" bet comes in and it's based on the "spread". Spread is the number of card values that lie between the two initial cards. The value of any card from 2 to 10 counts at face value, a jack counts as 11, a queen as 12, a king as 13, and an ace counts as 14.

A couple of examples are worthwhile. Let's say the dealer deals a 7 and a 10. What's the spread? Since 8 and 9 fall between the 7 and 10, the spread is 2. Ok, let's say the next hand plays a 4 and a 5. The spread? Since the cards are consecutive, no cards fall between 4 and 5, it's called a "tie", you keep your money and the hand is over.

The interesting part of Red Dog is betting on the spread. This is an optional second bet where you go for a bonus payout. The house sets the odds based on a simple principle: the narrower the spread, the higher the potential payout ("bonus").


As indicated, you open with a bet and the dealer deals two cards. The cards are placed face up on the table and the dealer will place a marker to indicate (a) the spread and (b) the odds the house offers on an additional bet (the "raise"). If you bet no further, you will win your original bet at even money if you win the hand.

If you do decide to raise, you're betting at house odds as printed on the Red Dog table. If you win, you get your original bet at even money and the raise bet at the odds indicated.

If the first two cards are a tie -- consecutive cards -- you keep your bet.

If the two cards are a pair, betting stops but you'll get paid at 11:1 if the third card makes it three of a kind. Otherwise you lose your bet.

Finally, if the third card matches either of the first two, you lose your bet.


In a winning hand, opening bets are always paid out at even money. Raise bets are paid out based on the spread as follows:

Spread Payout
1 5:1
2 4:1
3 2:1
4 through 11 1:1


This is probably the shortest strategy I'll ever write: only Double on Spread 7 or better. Period. That's it. End of strategy.

Okay, if you're still reading I'm assuming it's because you want a little detail. It's still pretty simple, but here it is: the player only gets an edge when the spread is 7 or more. This is actually quite obvious. At Spread 7, 7 cards will give you a winning hand. And since there are 13 cards from Deuce to Ace (2 ,3 ,4 ,5 ,6 ,7 ,8, 9, 10, J, Q, K, A), that means that only 6 cards will cause you to lose.

Spread 7 gives the player about a 54% chance of winning and it gets better from there on up to around 85% at Spread 11. So the strategy is to only Double on the Spreads that give you an edge, namely 7 through 11. Spreads below 7 give the house an increasingly stiff edge and should be avoided.


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