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How to Play Red Dog

August 23, 2019 139 0
How to Play Red Dog

Red Dog is increasingly becoming popular in Cambodia since it allows the locals to have rounds of fun and entertainment during their free time. The game was originally a banking game which lets gamblers place a bet on whether a card in hand would be of the same suit as or higher than the card dealt from the pack. 

Also known as High Card Pool, Shoot, Slipper Sam, and Polis Red Dog, the name Red Dog is loosely used to refer in most banking games such as In-Between, Ace-Deuce, and Yablon where two cards are given to players facing up and the player bets on whether the third card will be in between the first two cards dealt. Those who want to take a break from hustling it out with poker in Cambodia can play Red Dog. 

How to Play Red Dog

  • Red Dog uses a standard 52-pack playing card. A game consists of three to eight players, each having a turn to become the dealer. 
  • The dealer must first require the players to put an equal stake or ante into the pot before dealing the cards to each player. Afterward, the dealer will give each player five cards. The players can now take a look at their cards. 
  • The player to the left of the dealer will be the first one to call a bet. The order will follow clockwise and the dealer will have the last chance to place a bet. 
  • During a player’s turn, he can make a bet that is equal to the ante. It could also be higher to equal the entire pot. 
  • When the player makes a bet, the dealer will burn one card before dealing one face-up card in front of the player. 
  • If the player holds a card with the same suit as the dealt card and is higher in rank, that card must be shown and is given the stake and an equal amount from the pot. 
  • If the player has no card bearing the same suit and higher rank than the dealt card, the whole hand is shown and the stake is included into the pot. 
  • The losing cards are now set aside face down and the dealer will then proceed to the next player. If the pot is empty or has less than the minimum bet, the players must put an initial stake into the pot again. 
  • Once all of the players have made their bets, the turn to deal moves. If there is pot money left after the round, it stays as it is and is included in the pot for the next round. Players add additional ante to the pot but if it is too large, the players can agree to split the pot and instead place a new ante. 

Variations of Playing Red Dog

This guide on how to play red dog covers what is widely played by most enthusiasts. However, it is not uncommon to encounter several variations of the game. 

Some Red Dog variations only deal three to four cards to each player to accommodate a larger number of players without the cards running out. Other variations include a bank put up by a dealer like in Slippery Sam. If this variation is played, players do not place ante bets and when the pot runs dry, the deal passes on to the next player. 


This variation is pretty similar to Red Dog but has some notable differences such as:

  • The game begins with the dealer placing the stake, which can be any amount as agreed upon. 
  • Players only receive three cards and they are not allowed to look or take a peek at their cards unless it is their turn to bet. 
  • During a player’s turn, the bet may be any amount between the agreed minimum and the pot money. 
  • The dealer will give a card face up and the player has to reveal a card from his hand that has the same suit and higher rank. If not, the player loses. 
  • Once the pot is empty, the dealer passes on to the player on the left. If the player has dealt three times in succession, they can choose to pass the deal to the next player.

Slippery Sam

Also known as the Six-Spot Red Dog, Slippery Sam follows the same betting principle of Shoot. The difference is that players place the bet on the basis of the dealer’s show-card, without seeing their own set of cards. 

  • Like Shoot, the players only receive three cards and they are not allowed to look at the cards. The dealer will then give cards face up until a six card or lower is revealed. 
  • The players will bet on having cards with the same suit and higher rank than the face-up card. 
  • Once they have decided on the bet amount, the player must expose all of their cards. The player wins the stake amount from the pot if he has a higher ranking card with the same suit. If he loses, the bet is added to the pot. 
  • When the pot money is won by a player, the deal turns to the next player who will now be in charge of creating a pot. If there is money left in the pot at the end of the round, the pot goes to the dealer and the dealer passes on to the next player. 

This Red Dog variation is widely played in Indiana and can be played with the dealer handing out three cards to each player and one face up in the middle. The player has the choice to bet against this card or ask the dealer to deal another card, which the player has to pay one-fifth of the pot (it could also be a previously agreed upon amount). If the player chooses not to bet on the second card, the third card can be played for the same price. Once the third card is paid, the player may choose to bet against it or pass without making any bets. The turn then passes on to the next player. 

Polish Red Dog

In Polish Red Dog, the banker’s initial stake is fixed and the maximum bet of players is always half of the pot money. 

As the player chooses to bet, the dealer must burn one card and deals the next card. The player must then show all his cards. If the player has a higher ranking card with the same suit as that of the dealer’s the player wins twice the pot amount. If the player loses, the bet is included in the pot money. 

The only time the dealer moves to the next player is when the pot is busted. If not, the dealer must deal at the end of the hand until the pot reaches thrice its initial amount. When this happens, the dealer must announce a stitch round or the final round where if the pot remains, the money now goes to the dealer. 

Playing Red Dog Online

Learning how to play Red Dog in a traditional setting is important before trying out online Red Dog. Online Red Dog has some differences, particularly about the payout as the payout is often computed depending on the difference of ranks.

Spread or the number of ranks in between the first two cards have different payouts. In most online casinos, it follows:

  • 1 card: 5 to 1
  • 2 cards: 4 to 1
  • 3 cards: 2 to 1
  • 4 cards: 1 to 1

Players having a card with the same rank in either of the first two cards or card with a rank not in between the first two cards mean the player loses. 

It is also important to note that whilst all online casinos follow a standard ruling in Red Dog, the number of decks used varies per software provider. 

  • Playtech, Net Entertainment, Microgaming, Amaya, Cryptologic use 1 deck
  • RealTime Gaming uses 2 decks 
  • Rival and OpenBet use 6 decks
  • Betsoft – 8 decks

Red Dog Strategies

Learning how to play Red Dog is not complete without knowing some winning strategies. Red Dog strategy is pretty straightforward. Players should never bet if the spread is small. Although the payouts are attractive, small spreads are the worst to bet on. Players should only raise their bets if the spread is more than seven as it indicates a 50% chance of winning. 


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