We show on this article that with a very simple strategy it is possible to minimize the house edge and maximize your winning chances when playing Red Dog Poker.

Red Dog Poker is a very simple game to play. There are no special learning needs to play this game and a very simple strategy can be developed to maximize your winnings. If you don’t know the game rules, you can check my other article here on SharpGambler to learn all the important features of the game.

At Red Dog Poker, the only important decision you will have to make on each round is weather to raise your bet or not. After you make your initial bet, the dealer will draw to cards and you will have to make the decision to raise or not your bet. That’s the only decision we can study to maximize your winning chances. What we want is to test if there is any rule that we can follow that would give better results than a simple naive strategy. Let’s see…

In order to raise a bet we must have an expected payout greater than 1, or 100%, otherwise, by raising, we are maximizing the expected losses. We must look at the expected payoffs, that are summarized bellow.

Spread Odds Win Probability Game Probability Expected Payout (naive strategy) Expected Payout (optimal strategy)
pair tie 0.9600 0.0588 0.9600 0.9600
triple 11 to 1 0.0400 0.4800 0.4800
consecutive tie 1.0000 0.1448 1.0000 1.0000
1 5 to 1 0.0800 0.1327 0.4800 0.4800
2 4 to 1 0.1600 0.1207 0.8000 0.8000
3 2 to 1 0.2400 0.1086 0.7200 0.7200
4 1 to 1 0.3200 0.0965 0.6400 0.6400
5 2 to 1 0.4000 0.0845 0.8000 0.8000
6 3 to 1 0.4800 0.0724 0.9600 0.9600
7 4 to 1 0.5600 0.0603 1.1200 1.2400
8 5 to 1 0.6400 0.0483 1.2800 1.5600
9 6 to 1 0.7200 0.0362 1.4400 1.8800
10 7 to 1 0.8000 0.0241 1.6000 2.2000
11 8 to 1 0.8800 0.0121 1.7600 2.5200
Average Overall Payout: 90.81% 96.84%
House Edge: 9.19% 3.16%

The first column of the table shows all the different Red Dog Poker game variations. The second column shows the odds – the payout for the different game variations. Win probability is the probability you have of winning a game. For example, if the first two cards dealt are Ace and Queen, the spread is 1, and the probability you have of winning the game is 0.08 (8%). Game probability is the probability of game happening. For example, a game with a spread of 6 has a probability of 0.0724 (7.24%) of happening.

The last two columns are the most important ones for our analysis of Red Dog Poker strategy. The first one refers to the expected payout when you just click-and-go, when you never raise your bet. The second column is the expected payout for an optimal Red Dog strategy. Let’s look at a spread 6 game. The expected payout is 0.96. This means that given a spread of 6, for each dollar you bet you are expected to receive 0.96. You are loosing 0.04 dollar, on average, for each dollar you play. What this means to you? It means that you will not want to raise your bet when you have a spread of 6. Why? Because you are expected to loose money, on average, on that spread. If you’re expected to loose money, you want to minimize the loss. The only thing you can do to minimize it is not raising your bet. You will raise only for the games in which the expected payout is greater than 1.Looking at the table it is easily seen that it is optimal to raise the bet only when the spread is 7 or more.

Let’s look now at the last two rows of the table. The average payout of Red Dog Poker is 90.81%, and the house edge is 9.19%, when you use a naïve strategy of click-and-go-and-never-raise. But, if you use an optimal strategy of raising when the spread is 7 or more, the average payout is 96.84% and the house edge decreases to 3.16%.

As you can see, you can improve your overall results at Red Dog Poker by optimizing your strategy of play. The optimal strategy is very simple: raise only on spreads of 7 or more. The analysis presented here is for a Red Dog Poker game using only one card deck, but the overall result in terms of strategy of play is the same if you add more decks. The big difference is on the house edge. As you increase the number of decks, the house edge decreases and would be 2.75% with 8 card decks, but will not decrease significantly after that.