Red Dog Card Game Rules and Strategies

The Red Dog card game is easy to learn and exciting thanks to its unpredictability and fast pace. This Red Dog card game rules guide will teach you how it’s played.

Red Dog, also known as Yablon, is a simple card game involving betting. It’s very similar to the In Between card game and slightly resembles the Horse Race game, too.

The game’s object is correctly guessing the following card’s value and multiplying your bets. Although it depends mainly on luck, strategic thinking can help you win.

This Red Dog card game rules guide will cover the following: 

  • What is Red Dog?
  • Red Dog Card Game Rules
  • Red Dog Card Game Scoring
  • Red Dog Rules in Pictures
  • How to Play Red Dog (Video tutorial)

Read on for detailed instructions on how to play the Red Dog card game. 

What is Red Dog?

Red Dog Card Game Info image

Red Dog belongs to the poker family of games, but it’s much more straightforward than most games from this category. It has simple rules and a fast pace, making it an ideal party game.

Number of Players: 3 – 8

Ages: 18+ (non-gambling variation can be played by younger players too)

Difficulty: Easy

Length of Play: 15 – 30 minutes

Category: Betting card game

Similar to: Hi-Lo, In Between, Horse Race

Main Objective: Win the bets by having the right cards at the right time in hand.

Our Take: Red Dog is a simple game you can enjoy almost effortlessly. Nevertheless, once you start thinking strategically, it becomes even more fun.

What You’ll Need to Play Red Dog

To play Red Dog, you’ll need the following:

  • Decks: 1
  • Number of Cards: 52
  • Cards Omitted: Jokers

Besides the playing cards, you also need a set of casino chips or anything else to use as an in-game currency for bidding.

Red Dog Rules

The Red Dog card game is popular worldwide, and, as a result, there are numerous different ways to play it. 

The following instructions describe the simplest and most common version but feel free to adapt it to your taste and preferences.

Starting the Game

First, before the cards are dealt, each player makes an ante, which is, in poker slang, a mandatory bet made by each player to create a common pool. 

Typically, each player contributes one chip to the pool, but you can agree on a different ante. Just make sure that each player donates the same amount of chops as the others. 

Next, appoint the dealer who shuffles the entire deck of playing cards and deals five cards to each player, one card at a time. 

Players can take their cards immediately, keeping them hidden from their opponents.

How to Play Red Dog

The player sitting to the dealer’s left takes turns first by placing their bet on the probability that they can beat the next card in the deck with a higher-ranking card of the same suit.

The bet can consist of any number of chips up to the total amount of the pool.

Next, the top card of the deck is revealed, and the player tries to beat it with one of the cards in their hand to win back their bet, plus an equal amount of chips from the pot.

Example: Player 1 bets one chip. The top card from the deck is revealed, and it’s 10 of Spades. Player 1 beats it with Jack of Spades and wins back their bet x2 (= 2 chips total).

If a player wins the bet, they take both cards from the battle and store them face-up in front of them. 

But what if they don’t have any higher-ranking card from the respective suit? In this case, a player loses the bet and must reveal all the cards in their hand as a penalty.

Then, it’s time for the next player (moving in the clockwise direction) to take their turns, following the same process.

Players make the ante again if there are no more chips in the pot.

End of the Round

When everyone has their turn, the round is over. All the cards are collected, shuffled, and dealt again. The role of the dealer moves to the next player to the left.

Players keep their chips from the previous round and donate one more chip each to the pool.

 The Winning Strategy

There are no guarantees in Red Dog, but if you evaluate your chances of winning the bet depending on the actual cards in your hands, you have a good chance of succeeding.

If you have numerous high-value cards of at least three, but ideally all four suits, it’s worth betting boldly. Otherwise, don’t take unnecessary risks.

Alternative Red Dog Rules

The Red Dog card game can be played in numerous different ways. Here are some of the most widespread alternative house rules:

  • Players get only two cards each. They bid on whether the value of the next card is in between them. If a player gets two cards of the same value and the third one is also of the same rank, they win 11:1.
  • The game is played with the French-style card deck (32 cards), and each player receives only 3 cards. 
  • The players agree on the maximum amount of chips in the pool that is evenly distributed among them.

Red Dog Scoring 

The Red Dog card game scoring is simple, but first, let’s check the cards’ ranking.

Card Rank

In Red Dog, cards are ranked from the highest to the lowest as follows:

  • Ace, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2


Play the Red Dog card game as long as you enjoy it. When you’re done, the player with the most chips wins. 

Of course, you can also agree on alternative evaluation:

  • Agree on a specific number of rounds (3, 5, 10). Then, count the chips to determine the winner.
  • Count each player’s amount of chips after every round. Write it down and then count the cumulative scores to find out who was the most successful player in the game. 
  • Players are eliminated when they have no more chips. The winner is whoever stays in the game the longest.

Red Dog Card Game Rules in Pictures

Step 1

Each player gets 5 cards and puts an even amount of chips into the common pool.

red dog card game rules 1 image

Step 2

One by one, each player bets on their chance to beat the next card from the deck with a higher ranking card of the same suit from their hand.

red dog card game rules 2 image

Step 3

If a player beats the next card from the deck, they win their bid + an equal amount of chips from the pool.

red dog card game rules 3 image

Step 4

If a player fails, they lose their bet and must also reveal all their cards.

red dog card game rules 4 image

Step 5

Play for an agreed number of rounds, replenishing the pool when needed. Whoever has the most chips in the end becomes the winner.

red dog card game rules 5 image

How to Play the Red Dog Card Game – Video Tutorial 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Red Dog card game a casino game?

Theoretically, any poker-style betting game can be played in a casino. However, the Red Dog card game is much more popular at home.

Can you skip betting in the Red Dog card game?

Yes, you can avoid betting in Red Dog, but it will cost you one chip that you’d have to contribute to the pot in return.

Can more players play the Red Dog card game?

Yes. However, if you want to play Red Dog with more than 8 players, each one is dealt only 4 cards. 

Other Similar Games to Red Dog (Our Guides)

Do you like the Red Dog Card game? Check out our guides to a few similar games:

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Read all the articles (121) written by Lucia Fajnerova