Beginner's Tips for Red Dog

Red Dog is a cards based online casino game. It is offered by many software providers and is usually listed under Table Games. This article first explains the simple rules and then offers some tips that beginners would find useful.

In Red Dog the cards are ranked as in poker, with two differences. The suit has no relevance and the aces are always the highest. The player makes his bet and then the dealer deals two cards face up. If the cards are consecutive then the hand is a push. If the cards are of equal rank then a third card is dealt. If this card matches the other two the player receives a payout of 11 to 1, otherwise the hand is a push. The action begins if the two cards are neither consecutive nor equal. The dealer announces the spread, which is the number of card values in between the cards. The player can increase the wager up to the amount of the original wager. Then a third card is dealt. If this card is in between the first two cards the player wins according to a given payout table, otherwise the player loses. If the spread is 1 the payout is 5 to 1; if the spread is 2 the payout is 4 to 1; if the spread is 3 the payout is 2 to 1 and if the spread is 4 or more then the payout is 1 to 1.

Many exotic online casino games have very high house edges and therefore the first question before beginners is whether they should play this game at all. The house edge in Red Dog is approximately 2.75%. This is about the same as that in European Roulette and is considerably less than the house edge in online slot games. Hence if the player is willing to wager on European Roulette and online slots then he should have no hesitation in wagering on Red Dog on the considerations of house edge alone. However Red Dog is a much simpler game and is therefore less likely to hold the player’s interest. The advantage is that it is much faster paced. On these considerations each player will have to decide for himself depending on his temperament.

The player has two choices in Red Dog. One is whether to raise or not and the second is by how much to raise. The mathematical expected gain by raising has been calculated for all possible spreads from 1 to 11 based on payouts and probabilities. These calculations show that there is an edge in favor of the house when the spread is between 1 and 6. Hence in this situation the player should not raise. There is an edge in favor of the player when the spread is between 7 and 11. Hence in this situation the player should raise. And since the edge is in his favor he should raise to the maximum allowed.

The above calculations were done for a six deck card. In practice the number of decks may range from one to eight decks. Fortunately the numbers differ only nominally and there is no impact on the decision to play or not, the decision to raise or not and how much to raise by. But what if the player has a choice between a one deck Red Dog game and an eight deck Red Dog game? Which one should he choose? The house edge decreases marginally as the number of decks increases. Therefore given a choice the player should wager on a Red Dog game that is played with a larger number of decks.


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Comment by: joelandy On: May 08, 2010
Red dog isn't a game you hear about that much any more nor see in land based casinos either. I'm not sure how keen I am on this game but mostly because I have no idea what it is or how it plays, lol...

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