Love poker but looking for something a little different? With its origins in Reno’s famous but now closed Harold’s Club, fast-paced Red Dog Poker could well be the game for you. This simple variant on the standard game is not only straightforward to play, but it’s stacks of fun too.
How to play
How to Play Red Dog Poker
Playing against the dealer with between one and eight conventional 52-card decks, you’ll need to place your bet before any cards are dealt. Bear in mind that the standard poker rankings apply, while card suit is irrelevant, and the Ace is always high.
Place your bet in a pot before getting two cards dealt facing upwards. (You’re entitled to bet any sum up to the total in the pot.)
If the cards are consecutive, i.e. for example 3 and 4, the hand’s a push and you get your wager back.
But if the two cards are equal in value, you’ll get a third card. If this is the same value again, expect a payout at 11:1. Otherwise, the hand is a push.
If neither outcome applies, the dealer announces a spread, and this determines the potential payout.
If this card has a numerical value falling within the spread, i.e. between that of the earlier two cards, you win. But if its value either falls outside the range of the first two cards or is equivalent in value to either of them, you lose the bet and your money goes back into the pot.
The smaller the spread, the higher the payout. That is, the difference between the values of the first two cards dealt. As follows:
- one-card spread pays out at 5:1
- two-card spread pays out at 4:1
- three-card spread pays out at 2:1
- any spread between four and 11 pays out at 1:1
Before the third card is dealt, choose between raising (making an extra bet equivalent to your original one) or calling (continuing your hand with your original bet).
In common with most games of its kind, Red Dog Poker doesn’t feature bonus games. Nor does it have any progressive jackpots, variations, or side games. But you should find enough excitement elsewhere in the game to sustain interest.
Bet Limits for Red Dog Poker
These range from a minimum of €1 up to a maximum of €100.
Return to Player (RTP)
Odds in this game improve if more decks come into play. In a single-deck game, there’s a house edge of around 3.15% or an RTP of 96.85%. But for two decks that drops to a house edge of 3.07%, or a better RTP of 96.93%. This reduction continues until you get an eight-deck game with an RTP of roughly 97.25% and a house edge of some 2.75%.
These figures aren’t great when you compare them with other casino table games. But they look better when you compare them with other casino games generally.
Arguably, the beauty of Red Dog Poker lies in its simplicity. Equally, there’s little in the way of strategy here – this game is essentially one of chance. If strategy’s more your thing, you might want to consider a game such as blackjack.
Red Dog Poker is also suited to high rollers and those who can take the pace of potentially up to 100 hands per hour. But try it out and see if it’s a game for you. Tell us what you think.