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Red Dog Rules & Strategy @ Online-Poker.com
Red-Dog poker rules are very basic, as there isn't much to the game. You may have read earlier that with each variation on classic poker, the greater the changes the less skill is needed for the game. Red dog seems to be the epitome of this statement. The cards are ranked just as they are in poker, aces are high, suit is irrelevant. The first player is dealt two cards by the dealer after placing a bet (sometimes referred to as an ante, but the amount can vary). If the two cards are consecutive (i.e. 4,5) the hand is considered a push and the bet is returned. If the cards are equal a third card is dealt. If it is the same as the first two cards the player wins and is paid 11 to 1. Otherwise the hand is a push. Some variations of the game allow you to bet on whether the third card on two equals is higher or lower than the value of the equal cards.

If the two cards maintain a spread (they are not equal or consecutive) the player is allowed to choose to either 'raise' or not raise. To raise means to double your initial bet. This is the only opportunity to alter your bet in red dog, and as a rule it's the most important aspect of a good strategy.

The spread is equal to the number of cards that exist between the two cards dealt, not including them. A 4 and a 7 have a spread of 2. A 9 and a King have a spread of 3. When the third card is dealt, if it lands between the initial two cards (within the spread) the player wins. Standard red dog rules state that a 1 card spread pays 5 to 1, a spread of 2 pays at 4 to 1, a spread of 3 pays at 2 to 1, and every larger spread pays even money.

Your best red-dog strategy is to raise on spreads of seven or more. As you can see from the following table, the player holds the statistical edge for any spread of seven or more. Larger payouts, while available for bets on lower spreads, maintain a house edge of over 20% and do not represent a good playing strategy.

Expected Gain By Raising
Spread Pays Probability of winning Player's Edge
1 5 0.077419 -0.535484
2 4 0.154839 -0.225806
3 2 0.232258 -0.303226
4 1 0.309677 -0.380645
5 1 0.387097 -0.225806
6 1 0.464516 -0.070968
7 1 0.541935 0.083871
8 1 0.619355 0.238710
9 1 0.696774 0.393548
10 1 0.774194 0.548387
11 1 0.851613 0.703226
Chart provided by wizardofodds.com