Have you ever heard of the casino table game called Yablon? We guess not. What about Red Dog? You’ve definitely seen that knocking around some online casinos. They are both the same game, although Red Dog sounds cooler and is more attractive to players.

The popularity of Red Dog in bricks and mortar casinos is waning but it’s still offered online. It’s difficult to see why Red Dog isn’t as popular as it once was. This is because it’s easy to learn, is fun in groups, and the house edge isn’t extortionate either. There are games of chance with lower house edges that being said.

How To Play Red Dog

Red Dog is played with between one and eight traditional decks of 52-cards. The house edge starts at 3.155% for a single deck and falls to 2.751% when using eight decks. This is the polar opposite to other games such as blackjack where the house edge increases when more decks are used.

Only three cards are used at a time regardless of the number of decks in play. Cards use poker’s hand rankings with aces always being high. You don’t have to worry about the cards’ suits because they’re irrelevant in Red Dog.

A wager is placed to start a round of Red Dog. Two cards are placed face-up on the table and three potential outcomes are possible.

A push is declared, and the player’s wager returned if the cards are consecutive in number. This would be four and a five, or eight and a nine, for example.

A third card is drawn if the two cards are of equal value. The casino pays 11-to-1 if this third card is of the same value. The hand is a push otherwise.

When those two cards are neither consecutive or the same a spread is announced. The number of cards between cards determines the spread. For example, if a 4 and 9 are dealt, there is a 4-card spread (5,6,7,8). A third card is dealt, but you have a choice to make before this happens.

Calling means you don’t make an additional bet but you continue with your original bet. Raising forces you to pay an additional bet equal to the value of your original bet.

The third card is deal once your decision is made. You lose if the card lands outside the spread,. You win if the third cards lands within the spread.

Red Dog Payouts and House Edge

Red Dog pays 1-to-1 most of the time, although 5-to-1 payouts are possible too.

  • 1-Card Spread: Pays 5-to-1
  • 2-card Spread: Pays 4-to-1
  • 3-card Spread: Pays 2-to-1
  • 4-11 Card Spread: Pays 1-to-1

The house edge falls when the casino uses more decks. It starts at 3.155% for a single deck and drops to 2.751% when using eight decks. The difference doesn’t seem much, but its definitely worthwhile seeking games with more decks in play.

  • 1 Deck: 3.155% house edge
  • 2 Decks: 3.077% house edge
  • 4 Decks: 2.884% house edge
  • 6 Decks: 2.798% house edge
  • 8 Decks: 2.751% house edge

Can You Beat The Game? What’s The Best Strategy?

Red Dog is predominately a game of chance that has some player interaction. How you act during the spread determines if you’ll win or not.

Finding a game with eight decks is your first port of call because this has the lowest house edge. House edge has a massive effect on your bankroll, the lower the edge the better. Be aware Red Dog is a fast-paced game where up to 100 hands per hour are possible. You can burn through your bankroll faster than you would like!

Raising during the spread round should only ever be done when the spread is seven or higher. This is because the odds are in your favour with a 7-spread regardless of the number of decks used. Check out the table to see when the probability of winning is greater than 50%, meaning the odds are with you.

Spread Probability of Winning
1 7.7419%
2 15.4839%
3 23.2258%
4 30.9677%
5 38.7097%
6 46.4516%
7 54.1935%
8 61.9355%
9 69.6774%
10 77.4194%
11 85.1613%