Red Dog is a card game that is also called Red Dog Poker or Yablon. Your hand in Red Dog only involves three cards and winning hands are ranked similar to poker rules. Because Red Dog is quite a simple game it doesn’t require a lot of strategy to win. The game is usually played with one or more decks and unlike other card games the house advantage regardless of the number of packs played changes very little. In fact it decreases with the increase in number of packs played which is different than in other similar card games

The basics of the game

The player puts down a bet and the dealer lays out two cards face up. There are three possible outcomes in Red Dog – either the cards are consecutive, or of equal value or the cards have a spread of more than one place. The suit of the cards is not a factor in a winning hand of Red Dog and all Ace cards are high.

In cases where the cards are consecutive, for example a nine and a ten card the hand is deemed a “push” and the player gets the bet value back. In cases where the two cards have the same point value (remembering that picture cards have a value of ten) then a third card is dealt. If the third card is of the same value the player receives a payout of 11:1. If the third card is any other value then the hand becomes a push and the player gets his bet money back.

The third card

It is when the two cards have a spread of more than one score then the game becomes interesting. The dealer lays down a third card. Now if this card has a value that sits between the other two cards then the player receives a payoff that is determined by the spread. If the third card falls outside the two initial cards then the player loses his money. One other point here is that before the third card is played the player can double his bet.

Lets consider an example of the third outcome. Lets assume the first two cards dealt are a two and a nine and the player’s bet is ten dollars. The spread between the two cards laid down is quite good – if the third card is a three, four, five, six, seven or eight, then the player wins money. So it might be a good idea at this point to increase the wager to twenty dollars. If the third card dealt is any one of the listed numbers then the player wins some good money. A one card spread pays out 5:1; 2 card spread pays 4:1; 3 card spread pays 2:1 and a 4 card plus spread pays out 1:1.

Variations of Red Dog

There are variations to this American version of Red Dog, such as Shoot, Slippery Sam and Polish Red Dog. In Shoot the dealer puts up a stake and each player gets three cards. When it is your turn you can bet any amount between an agreed upon minimum and the amount in the pool already. The dealer then turns up a card and to win you have to show a card from your hand that is the same suit and higher in score than the dealers card. Otherwise you lose. In Slippery Sam the game is played similar to Shoot but the players are betting instead on the dealers turned up card, without seeing the cards in their own hand prior to betting. As a player you win if one of your cards is of the same suit as the dealer card and of a higher score value. Polish Red Dog is a further variation of Slippery Sam and is played without player or dealers seeing either their own cards, or the dealer’s card.