Red Dog is a unique card game where players bet on the dealer's hand. The object of the game is to bet on whether, when the dealer draws the third card, if it will fall between the first two cards in terms of its face value. So, in modern Red Dog, players never actually get their hands on their own cards, they simply determine what they think will happen and receive payoffs based on the way the cards are dealt!
There's not much information about the history of Red Dog, although it has a relatively long history dating right back to World War II when servicemen played this fast-action game. It's a variation of Yablon which is also known as Ace-Deuce or In-Between. During the war, the only game that was more popular than Red Dog was Blackjack.
The popularity of Red Dog began to decline when played after the war because it was a game that was easy for cheaters to take advantage of in order to win. The game used to be played primarily with just one deck of cards, but now the more modern version of the game, which is often referred to as Casino Red Dog uses four or five decks of cards dealt from a shoe. Sometimes six or eight decks of cards are also used, though single card games are much more rare.
Although there is no real information available if today's version of Red Dog is different from the games that were played previously, today's game progresses as follows:
- Players place their bets before the hand is dealt, and this is based on whether they think the third card that the dealer draws will fall between the first two in value
- Players place their first bets, and then the dealer draws the first set of cards, placing them face-down. In order to help players determine if they are going to increase their bets, a Red Dog chip is placed on the table and this tells players how many cards could fall between the value on their first two. Players can use this to determine whether to increase their bets or stick with t heir original bet
- Those who choose to place another bet in order to up the ante can raise their wager so it is equal to the amount of the original one, making the stakes double what they were the first time around
- Once all players have made their second bets, if the card does fall between the first two, then all players receive a payoff. Otherwise the dealer keeps all of the money in the pot!
It is possible, that since Red Dog originally wasn't played in formal gambling environments, that gameplay varies from how it was played then. However, it is not known if in those days players received their own cards, or if one player acted as the dealer and the game progressed in a similar manner to what we know as Red Dog played in casinos today.
Red Dog Poker is still not one of the more popular varieties of cardgames - it is offered at some brick and mortar casinos around the world, but falls below varieties like Hold Em and Omaha which have far exceeded its popularity. However, it is offered at many online Poker rooms and online casinos for those who would like to give it a try!