Red Dog

Red Dog

Red Dog is a version of a classic card-based table game. It has some amount of strategy involved, and it has a relatively low house advantage considering how little you need to know in order to play the game perfectly. It’s not the most in-depth title, but it’s great for spending some sessions enjoying chances to win without too much extra complication.

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An Introduction to Red Dog

The basic idea of Red Dog is to use cards as a randomization device to try to let players guess if one card will fall between two more that were previously dealt. It’s not a complicated premise, but the betting approach has been set up in a way to make it more entertaining.

If you like action for the sake of action, especially if you like card games, then Red Dog will likely become a staple in your favorites on the table game side of things.

This is a game that we feel most players should have in their repertoire simply because there are sometimes bonuses and promotions that can be very profitable if they allow you to play this particular title, and knowing the right strategy off of the top of your head can help you to take advantage of those types of opportunities in a more efficient way.

The Basic Rules of Red Dog

The rules of this game are fairly straightforward. After you make your bet, two cards are dealt face-up. These are the cards that you’re going to use as the parameters for trying to guess if the third card will fall between their ranks or not.

As such, there are two special cases for how the hand can begin:

  1. If both cards are of the same rank, then they effectively count as the same card, and a third card is put on the table to create the spread.
  2. If both cards are of consecutive ranks with no space between, then the hand is a push, and players will receive their bets back.

If there is a gap between the cards, known as a spread in Red Dog, of one or more, then you get an opportunity to increase your bet before the third card is dealt. We’ll get more into the betting and payouts down below, but this is the essence of the game.

Payouts and Betting Options

When you see what the spread is between the cards (eg: there’s a spread of two between an 8 and a J), then you will have the opportunity to increase your bet size if you so desire.

When you get this betting option, you can make an additional bet worth up to the amount of your original. This is just piled in with the original wager for the sake of determining payouts.

Once you decide on whether or not you want to take this additional wager, then a third card will be dealt, and whether or not you are a winner will be determined by whether the third card falls between the first two. If it matches the rank of either of the first two cards, then it counts as a loss in Red Dog.

Your payouts can be any of the following based on the size of the spread:

  • Spread of 1 – 5x
  • Spread of 2 – 4x
  • Spread of 3 – 3x
  • Spread of 4 or more – 1x

As you’ll see below, these extra pays are actually a bit of a trap to try to entice you to make some bets that aren’t very good. Instead of falling for that, we’re going to show you how to play this game perfectly and why the best strategy looks the way that it does in what follows next.

Red Dog Strategy

Strategy for this game centers completely around making the decision to double your wager or not. Note that all of the smaller increases in your bet size never make sense:

If it’s profitable to increase your wager at all, then you’ll want to maximize that profit by increasing your bet size as much as possible. Along these lines, your effective betting options become doubling your wager or just keeping it the same as it was in the beginning.

There are 11 different possible spreads available. In what follows, we’re going to give you two lists. The first is of all of the situations where it’s not profitable to double your bet, and the second will have all of the situations where it is profitable. We’ll list the house edge or player’s advantage along with each of these.

How to Win at Red Dog

First, we start with when it’s unprofitable to double your bet size:

  • Spread 1 – 53.5% house edge
  • Spread 2 – 22.6% house edge
  • Spread 3 – 30.3% house edge
  • Spread 4 – 38.1% house edge
  • Spread 5 – 22.6% house edge
  • Spread 6 – 7.1% house edge

Something you’ll notice here is that none of the bonus payouts make any of these wagers profitable.

Now, we have the set of times when it is profitable to double your wager:

  • Spread 7 – 8.4% player edge
  • Spread 8 – 23.9% player edge
  • Spread 9 – 39.4% player edge
  • Spread 10 – 54.8% player edge
  • Spread 11 – 70.3% player edge

When you consider that each of these 11 spreads are not equally likely, and you take into the fact that they have different levels of house edge, we come to know one important fact:

If you only double your bet with a spread of seven or higher, which is the perfect strategy for this game, then you’ll have a house edge of between 2.3 percent and 2.7 percent just depending on how many decks are used.

This level of house advantage overall is well within the bounds of some of the best-paying table games in the industry, so it’s easy to see how this game is staying relatively popular despite having been around for so long.


Of all of the widely available table games that use cards, Red Dog is one of the easiest to learn to play well while also having a fairly strong payout percentage and a relatively low house advantage. These are things that have kept players coming back to it for a long time, and it’s clearly a classic with an important place in any online casino’s overall portfolio.


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