Red Dog Strategy
Understanding the payout structure is essential to understanding Red Dog strategy. Remember that a 3 card match pays out at 11:1, but there is no bet increase option on this hand; a spread provides an opportunity to increase your bet, and the results of a winning hand, i.e. the third card falling inside the spread are determined according to the pay structure. A 1 card spread win gets a 5:1 payout, a 2 card spread win gets a 4:1 payout, a 3 card spread win gets a 2:1 payout and any win on a spread of more than 4 cards gets paid out at even money. Remember you don't have to increase your bet once you've seen the spread.
7 or More Spread
Red Dog is 100% a game of math, and therefore successful Red Dog strategy is simply down to understanding what the chances are of one of the cards that you need appearing. In a six deck game for example it is possible to determine what the chances are of this happening as follows. The player has a .07% chance of winning on a 1 card spread; this amount rises to 15% on a two card spread, to 23% on a three card spread and to 30% on a four card spread. From four cards and up most casinos will be paying evens on a win; however the chances of winning do not go in to the players favor until you reach a seven card spread. A five card spread has a 38% chance, whilst a six card spread has 46%. At seven cards we get into business with a 54% chance, and this chance increases gradually to an 85% chance of winning on an 11 card spread. What does all this mean however in terms of strategy? Well, it's really very simple; if the chances of winning only swing into your favor at a 7 card spread and upwards, then you should only be betting on a 7 card spread or upwards. You can only bet up to the value of the ante anyway, so this strategy is really the simplest you could ever imagine: if the spread is less than 7 don't bet, hope for a win on your ante but don't risk anything more; if the spread is more than a 7 you should always bet, sometimes you'll win sometimes you won't but you're at least be in with 50/50 chance at the very least this bet. Of course the higher the spread the less nervous you should be, as the chances of winning in an 11 card spread are incredibly high, whereas a 7 card spread is more of a "maybe, maybe not" situation.
The More Decks the Better
The odds of winning at red dog increase with the number of decks that are in play – this of course makes sense, because the more decks there are the more cards there are in play, and the more cards there are in play, the higher the chances of the card you needing appearing. Thus for the most part the house edge decreases and the element of risk decreases the more decks there are. For example a single deck game has an element of risk of around 2.7% and a house edge of around 3.1%; when you look at a six deck game however, that element of risk has dropped to around 2.4% and the house edge to around 2.8%; in an 8 deck game the difference is even greater with an element of risk of around 2.3% and a house edge of 2.75%. Therefore a general strategy for playing Red Dog is to aim for the higher-deck games.
Don't Follow Your Gut
When people talk about good feelings, and feeling lucky it makes most casino strategies wince. There certainly is something to be said for following your gut, but let's not be unrealistic about how much your gut knows. Red dog is a combination of math and chance; you can base your prediction on a mathematical likelihood and in the long run this will pay off; in the short run there is an element of chance. Your gut knows nothing – it can not know that you should absolutely bet on that 1 card spread; it just can't know! That being said, playing by your gut can lead to a very exciting game, and when you win by your gut (all be it by luck rather than your gut) the feeling is unbeatable. Therefore, if you want to play seriously, if you want to stand a good chance of winning, follow your head, if however you're out for a laugh, you want to simply have fun playing the game, by all means follow your gut – may it get you a long way!
On top of these specific strategies for playing Red Dog there also some general tips that help you to have a good experience.
Red Dog is a fairly simple game to play and to understand, however everything that's new takes some getting used to. Most casinos will offer you a free-play option that will help you to gain experience of the running of the game and its play without risking any cash. It is a really good idea to take advantage of this opportunity, so that you do all of your learning before you start playing with your own money.
Next, the idea of all casino gaming is to have fun and enjoy yourself. Therefore it is important that you only play with money that you don't mind loosing, and that you pace yourself so that you can make the most out of your time in the casino. There are several good ways to do this; for example setting yourself monetary and time limits, and being careful about the tables you choose, making sure you're not paying above your financial limits.
In short therefore, bet on spreads of 7 or more, stick to the higher deck games, exercise common sense, and you'll be laughing!.
Red Dog strategy is great so long as you know the game flow and Red Dog rules.