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How to Play Red Dog Card Game?

The Red Dog card game is a popular card game that is more often played at home than in a casino. It is also known as Yablon or high card pool depending on the version you are playing. There are two versions of the red dog game. The game has its own sense of uniqueness, set of game rules, versions, and structure. Here, we will explore all the related aspects of this game to make you aware of its technicalities. So, let’s get to this informative guide to playing red dog.

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Age rating: 18+

Number of players: a minimum of 3 players, can go higher up to any number

Game requirements: Standard deck of 52-cards & poker chips (for betting)

Rank of cards: A (highest), K, Q, J, 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2 (lowest).

How to play Red Dog Card Game?

The Red dog game is a betting game based on cards for three to six players. Here is a brief about its two versions. In one version of the red dog game, a dealer deals two cards to each player and he has to bet that the rank of the third card will be between the first two cards. In another version of this game, five cards are dealt to each player and they place bets that their card is of the same suit or a higher suit than the next card turned from the deck. Usually, bets placed in this game are meaningless.

Before we jump into the rules of the game, let’s learn some of the terminologies related to the red dog game.


The Ante

Before the cards are dealt to the players, each player has to place a chip in the centre to form a pool or a pot. The placing of the chips is known as “the ante”.

The Deal

Usually, each player is dealt five cards in total, strictly face down, one at a time in turns. Sometimes only four cards may be dealt to a person in case there are more than eight players. The cards are dealt, starting with the player to the left side of the dealer.

The Draw

Any player can deal cards but only one at a time. The cards have to be dealt face up. The player who has the highest number of cards deals first.

The Shuffle

Anyone can start shuffling, however, the dealer has to be the last one that shuffles.

The Cut

The player to the dealer’s right side cuts the cards.

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The goal of the high-card pool version of the game is to be the player that wins bets by having the highest-ranking card of the same suit in hand as that of the top card that turns up in the deck during his turn. The goal of the acey-deucey or Yablon version of the game is to guess the rank of the third card.


Now that we know the terminologies and the objective of the game, let us look at the rules to play the red dog game.

The game rules of the high card pool version are as follows:

  • Skipping a round of betting for a player is allowed. All he has to do is pay a chip to the pot without showing any cards. This is known as folding.
  • If the pot runs out in the middle of a round, each player has to make another ante. In the pre-round ante, the players can agree to skip betting only if the pot, being rolled over, is large enough.

The game rules for the Yablon version are as follows:

The dealer, chosen by the players, shuffles the cards and the player on their right is allowed to cut the deck. The suit of the cards dealt is irrelevant for this version.

The Betting & Gameplay

Hoping that the rules have been made clear, let’s start with the card game. In this subsection, you will learn how to bet and how to play both versions of red dog.

The player to the left of the dealer has to be the first one to bet in either version.

High card pool version

In the high card pool version, each player can deal the number of chips that are less or equal to the chips present in the pot while making the bet.

By making a bet, the player is implying that he has a higher ranking card of the same suit as that of the top card that came up from the deck. If a player does not want to bet, he can forfeit a chip to the pot. When the engaged player has made his bet, the involved dealer flips the topmost card of the rest of the deck.

If the player who has placed the bet has a card of the same suit and of a higher ranking, then he wins the bet by showing the card and receiving all the bet money along with the same amount from the pot. If their bet is lost, the player has to show all his cards, and the bet cannot be taken from the pot.

If the player owns no cards which can be used to beat the top card, he has to show his entire hand of cards. Additionally, the betting amount placed by him automatically gets to the pot. Now, the player with the next turn bets and then one more card is flipped.

This similar procedure gets followed for every player one by one until everyone has bet, including the dealer’s bet has been placed.

If the pot contains some chips remaining after one round of betting, they roll over to the next round plus each player makes an ante to the pot before the new round of cards is dealt. Always remember only one card is required to be shown that can be used to win the bet.

When the pot runs out of chips which may be due to a player betting the entire pot winning, every player has to make an ante to revive that pot. When each involved player has received the betting chance, then the turn to deal gets passed to the one seated on the left side of the dealer.

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Yablon or Acey-Deucey version

In the acey-deucey version, two cards are dealt by the dealer to a player face up. The player has a chance to play or pass.

By choosing to play, the player implies that he bets that the third card dealt to him will fall between the two cards. If he passes, he implies that the third card will not have a rank between the two cards. If the player guesses correctly but chooses to pass, he gets no points. On answering correctly, one point is awarded and on answering wrongly, the player loses one point.

Now when the first two cards are dealt and the player places a wager, there can be three possible outcomes. One where the cards are of consecutive numbers, the hand becomes a push and the wager is returned to the player. In the second instance, the two cards are of the same number, the dealer deals a third card. If a card of the same value as the first two cards is dealt, the player gets a payout of 11 to 1. If not, the hand becomes a push.

In another case where neither of the above occurs, a spread has to be announced and a third card will be dealt. If the player guesses correctly, he gets the payout according to the rules of the spread, otherwise he loses the bet, and the dealer proceeds to the next player.

The Spread

The spread of 1 card yields a payout of 5 to 1, 2 card spread yields 4 to 1 payout, 3 card spread yields 2 to 1 payout, and 4 or more card has a payout of 1 to 1.

How to win the Red Dog card game?

The main objective of the game is to play as many high-ranking cards as possible. In order to win, you have to play all your cards that the dealer deals, and score the maximum points.

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That’s all about how to play the Red Dog Card Game. This interesting game has been gaining a lot of popularity among card game lovers. Its distinctive play incorporating a lot of possibilities makes it more appealing for bets. The Red Dog Card Game is an engaging alternative for you. So, what are you waiting for? Start your gaming journey now.

Vijaya Bharti
A postgraduate in accounting and finance, she embraced content writing as her full-time profession. She is a Gaming Writer but her endless desire to learn new things enables her to write about just anything that intrigues her. She enjoys learning in the process as she believes there is no end to gaining knowledge.


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