Rules of Red Dog

An Introduction to Red Dog
Before discussing the rules of Red Dog, let us briefly discuss what the game is. Red Dog is a card game that you play with a regular deck containing 52 cards, using a maximum of eight such decks. Also known as High Card Pool, the game has other variations like Shoot, Polish Red Dog, and Slippery Sam. The game is available nowadays more in online casinos than in traditional land-based casinos.

The game has a basic difference when compared to some of the other card games, such as blackjack. In the case of blackjack, for instance, the house edge increases as you add to the number of decks used. However, the opposite is the case in Red Dog. The house edge when you use eight decks is 2.751%, which is compared to the 3.155% house edge when you use a single deck.

As we learn about the rules governing Red Dog, let us first discuss about the objective of the game. The objective of playing Red Dog is to see if the third card that you are dealt has a value that falls between the two cards that you are initially dealt. We will discuss the different aspects of Red Dog rules in this article, from the basic rules governing play to the different terms used in the game, to the way to play in the online version.

Basic Red Dog Rules – Knowing the Card Value
There are a few basic rules governing Red Dog. The first such rule has to do with the value of the different cards in a suit. All the number cards carry the value of the number they bear. So a 2 of clubs would have a value of two, an 8 a value of eight, and so on. 

Then we come to the picture cards. The value of the picture cards, unlike some of the other games, increases in accordance with the hierarchy they maintain, continuing on from the number card values. What this means is that a Queen would have a value of 12. The following are the values associated with the picture cards:

Jacks – 11
Queens – 12
Kings – 13
Aces – 14

The aces in this game maintain the value of only 14; they do not simultaneously hold a value of 1.

Red Dog Rules – Terms You Should Know
There are certain terms associated with Red Dog that you must know, to be able to understand the game and play accordingly. The terms we mention here basically have to do with how the cards that the dealer deals initially appear in a hand. 

One possibility is that the two cards you receive initially from the dealer are consecutive numbers. This kind of a hand is called a push. The push is of no use to you as it means there is no scope for you to predict the value of the third card you get from the dealer; therefore you get your wager back.

The second possibility is that the two cards you are dealt have the same value, e.g. two 5s. In this case, the dealer deals you another card. If this card also has the same value, then you get a payout that is way above the payouts for different spreads, at 11:1. You may now be wondering what a spread is; we will come to that a little later. If the third card is not of the same value as the first two, the hand degenerates into a push.

The third possibility is that you are dealt a hand wherein you have two cards that have a minimum difference of two values. For instance, assume you have a hand where your two cards are two and nine. This means you have a ‘spread’ of six. The importance of the spread is that your payoff is determined on the basis of the spread and the third card that you would receive. 

Now that you know the basic terms in Red Dog, we will move on to how the game itself is played. 

Red Dog Rules – Playing the Game
The first step to playing the game of Red Dog is placing your wager. If you are playing online Red Dog, you can place your wager by clicking on the chips. You can also reduce your wager before the hand is dealt by right clicking the chips. Once you have placed your wager, the next step is for the dealer to deal. In the online game, you click the Deal button on the screen to receive your cards, while in the traditional version of the game the dealer physically deals the cards.

The initial deal gets you two cards. We have already talked about the different scenarios possible with a deal; we will just elaborate a bit on the spread here. The spread basically is the difference in value between your two cards. How long a spread is depends on the disparity in the values of the two cards you get. 

Once you have a spread, you can now proceed with the game and have the option of increasing your bet, also called ‘raising’. When you raise your wager, its value increases two-fold. In the online game, you click the Raise button to raise your wager. You have another option, whereby you do not raise your bet, but continue playing. This is termed a ‘call’. In the online version, you click the Call button if you wish to continue without raising.

Once you have decided whether to raise or call and done so accordingly, the dealer deals you a third card. You win if the value of the third card is somewhere within the spread, i.e. between the values of your earlier two cards. So if your first two cards were a two and an eight, and you get a six as your third card, you win. You lose if the third card value is either outside the values of the two earlier cards or equal to either of them.

A single game can stretch at the most to the third card deal. Once the game is over, you are ready to play the next game. In the online version, you can play the next game by clicking the New Game button. If your bet amount for the new game is the same as that of the previous game, you can just click the Rebet button. 

Red Dog Rules – The Payout
Finally, let us take a look at that critical element of online gambling games – the payout. In the case of Red Dog, the payout differs depending on how wide the spread is. If the spread is just one card, the payout for the game is 5:1. If the spread is two cards, the payout decreases marginally to 4:1. For a three-card spread, the payout is 2:1, and for a spread of four or more cards, the payout is even, at 1:1. 

Based on the spread between the first two cards.
1 card           5:1 
2 cards          4:1 
3 cards          2:1
4 to 11 cards  - Even Money
If all three cards dealt are of the same rank you win a payoff at  11:1
 If the first two cards are in consecutive ranks, you push and your ante is returned. (example- 7- 8 ) 
The aces in this game maintain the value of only 14; they do not simultaneously hold a value of 1.

We also some great Red Dog Strategy you may want to read before playing Red Dog.

Red Dog
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