Red Dog poker, also known as “Acey-Deucy”, “Yablon”, “In Between” and “Between the Sheets”, is perhaps the most simplified version of poker. Its rules are few and easy to follow. A hand in this game consists of three cards, there is only one bet that a player needs to decide upon, and it has no element of competition because winning is independent of the other players around the table. The goal of the game is to make a successful bet regarding what range of numbers will the third card rank.
Perhaps do to its uncomplicated nature, Red Dog use to be a very popular poker game in the old West. Today, though it’s still played and is popular in some places, it is not easy to find a game of Red Dog in the casinos. Casinos that offer the game have changed some of the rules of the original game, and it is called there Casino Red Dog. It will usually be played with a single deck of cards or with 6 or 8 decks. Red Dog is played on Black Jack sized tables, and can have up to sixteen players participating.
How to play
The structure of the game
A hand in Red Dog poker consists of three cards, which are dealt 2 and 1. The goal is that your third card will be higher than one of your initial cards and lower than the other.
The game of Red Dog poker starts with each player placing an opening bet. This bet is sometimes referred to as an Ante, though its sum can vary.
After the opening bet the dealer gives out to each player two cards. The important thing is the “spread”, the number of cards that can come in-between those two initial cards. The closer ranking the two cards are, the smaller the chances of winning are – but the bigger the money which can be won.
Following the distribution of the cards the dealer places a mark, which shows the spread and its odds . The player makes his second and final bet, deciding whether he wants to raise or not. If he raises and wins, he can double his money or more, according to the odds. If he doesn’t raise and wins, he will receive his money back.
Then a third card is dealt, determining whether the player had won or lost, and what sum will he rake.
A hand of Red Dog poker consists of three cards. An Ace ranks only high, as 14. Suits are not important for the game.
To win a hand of Red Dog poker the third card’s rank must be in the “spread”, or in-between, the first two cards. For example, if you were given a 4 and a 9 and then given a 6, you have won because that number is in-between the ranks of your two initial cards. The spread in this example is 4, and the cards that fall into that are 5,6,7, and 8.
A “consecutive hand” means that the first two cards dealt are in sequence, for instance a 7 and 8. In such a case there is no spread. Therefore the hand is called a “push”, meaning a tie. The player simply receives his bet back from the dealer.
A paired hand, in which the first two cards are identical, also has no spread. In most cases the player will not have to place a bet in order to be given the third card. If that card is similar to the first two, and a three of a kind is formed, then the player has won and will receive the highest value for his money: 11 to 1. If that card is not similar then the hand is considered a push. In some games the player has the option, in a pair situation, to bet on whether the third card will be higher or lower than the pair.
The second betting is the only point in the game in which a player needs to make a strategic decision. At the second betting the player may choose to raise, which in a game of Red Dog means to double your first bet.
The amount of money won depends on the spread. A big spread means more chances of winning and therefore a smaller amount will be awarded. Following that logic, a small spread means less chances of winning and therefore a larger amount will be awarded.
A “payout” in Red Dog refers to the possible money gained from a certain hand, according to its spread. When winning a hand, the player receives his original betting plus a payout, according to the following odds:
- Spread of One / 5:1 payout
- Spread of Two / 4:1 payout
- Spread of Three / 2:1 payout
- Spread of Four to Eleven / 1:1 payout
- Pair / 11:1 payout (when making a three of a kind)
Expected Gain by Raising
This chart is meant to show the player his chances of winning a hand in Red Dog poker, played with a six deck
|Spread||Pay||Probability of winning||Player’s edge|
As can be seen in the chart, only a spread of 7 and above gives you good chances to win, and therefor worthwhile to raise the bets (regardless of the number of decks which are being used). The chances of winning in a seven or higher spread are more than half, about 54% percent. Winning a spread of 11, the highest spread, gives a chance of 84% percent. The chances of winning bigger payouts with smaller spreads are about 20% percent or lower – rather risky.
House Edge According to Number of Decks
|Number of Decks||House Edge||Element of Risk|
Red Dog poker is a relatively basic game to understand which is probably why it’s so popular. There aren’t many complex rules or strategies to follow. A couple of helpful hints are:
- Only raise when the spread is seven or more.
- Look for six deck Red Dog, the game has the lowest house edge when it is played with six decks.