Red dog (card game)

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Red dog, also known as red dog poker or yablon, is a game of chance played with cards. It is a variation of acey-deucey or in-between. While found in some land casinos, its popularity has declined, although it is featured at many casinos online. Confusingly, there are other card-based games of chance by the same name that are unrelated to the rules described here.

The deck used to play red dog is the standard, fifty-two-card variety. The game may be played with anywhere from one to eight decks, with an increasing number of decks decreasing the house edge — the house's advantage begins at 3.155% with one deck, but falls to 2.751% when eight decks are used. This is in contrast with some other casino card games, such as blackjack, where a higher number of decks used will increase the house edge.

The game only uses three cards at a time, which are ranked as in poker, with aces high. Suit is irrelevant. A wager is placed, and two cards are placed face up on the table, with three possible outcomes:

  • If the cards are consecutive in number (for example, a four and a five, or a jack and a queen), the hand is a push and the player's wager is returned.
  • If the two cards are of equal value, a third card is dealt. If the third card is of the same value, then the payout for the player is 11:1, otherwise the hand is a push.
  • If neither of the above is the case (for example, a three and an eight), then a spread is announced which determines the payoff (a 4-card spread, in this example), and a third card will be dealt. Before dealing the third card, the player has the option to double his bet. If the third card's value falls between the first two, the player will receive a payoff according to the spread; otherwise the bet is lost.

The spread table is as follows:

Spread Payout
1-card 5 to 1
2-card 4 to 1
3-card 2 to 1
4-to-11-card 1 to 1 (even money)

Strategies[edit]

Even when using eight decks, red dog does not offer favorable odds for the player in comparison with other games of chance common to casinos. There is little strategy involved; raises should only be made when a spread statistically favors a player (which is at seven cards or more, regardless of the number of decks used).

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