In card game books it is known as Yablon, but if, when growing up, you ever played a card game called Acey-Deucey or In-Between, the chances are that you were playing what is now called Red Dog. While it may be offered at a small number of land casinos, it is mainly found online. Red Dog is a pretty simple poker variation and is one of the most straightforward card games that you can play online. Furthermore, a number of online casinos offer players the chance to play for fun, so you can get a feel for the game before betting any real cash.
The rules for playing Red Dog are generally the same regardless of which casino you are playing at. It is normally played using a standard deck of 52 cards, but the game is produced by a number of different software providers so the number of decks used can vary. For example, Microgaming and Net Entertainment's versions offered at new uk casinos use the standard single deck, RealTime Gaming's version uses two decks, while Betsoft's version uses a whopping eight decks. Why is this important? Well, the house edge varies depending on the number of decks being played. The greater the number of decks, the lower the house edge.
Playing Red Dog is pretty straightforward. Punters place an initial bet (the Ante) and are then dealt two cards. Suits are irrelevant, the card value is key, with Aces being high. The aim of the game is to predict whether the value of a third card will lie in-between the cards already dealt. If the value of the first two cards is a matching pair, a third card is automatically dealt. If that is the same value, the hand is "three-of-a-kind" and results in an 11-1 payout. If the initial two cards have consecutive values, that hand is a "push" and the wager is returned.
The fun really starts if the initial two cards have non-consecutive values (e.g. 6 and 9). The difference between them is the "spread", in this case it is 2. Players can now call for a third card and double ("raise") their initial bet. The final decision depends on the value of the spread, which also determines the payout. The smaller the spread, the greater the payout odds. If the value of the third card lies in-between the first two, the player wins, otherwise the bet is lost. The optimal strategy is to only raise when the player has an advantage - a 7+ card spread regardless of the number of decks.