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Red Dog: Rules and How to Play the Card Game?

If you love playing games similar to poker, then you’re going to enjoy learning how to play the card game Red Dog with this broken-down, step-by-step guide.

This card game is not one you’re likely to see being played in the casino, but more so, one that is great to enjoy in the comfort of your home on game night.

This game relies solely on potluck, so there aren’t many skills required to play. So let’s have a read through the general rules and learn how to play the Red Dog card game.

Understanding the Phrases

Understanding the Phrases

Before telling you how to play the game, I thought it best to explain some terminologies to you because there are some that you may not have come across before.

You may already be familiar with a few of these phrases, especially if you like playing online poker games such as Texas Hold’Em or Joker Poker.

Here are some of the terminologies you can expect to come across while playing the Red Dog card game:


This means distributing a certain number of cards to each player, as with most card games. Each player gets five cards. These cards are placed face down, one at a time, in front of each player.

Four cards may be dealt to each if you have more than eight people in your game. When dealing, always start with the person to the dealer’s left, and work in a clockwise direction.


This is placing chips in the middle of the table. Each player must donate one chip at the start of the game to form a pot.


This is where any player can deal the cards out, but they must be given out face up, and whoever has the highest number of cards will be the first dealer of the game.


Anyone can do this, apart from the dealer, who can only shuffle once everyone else in the game has done so. Don’t worry; you don’t need to shuffle like a pro to do this, as long as the cards are well mixed.


This must be done by the player seated to the dealer’s right. This means separating the deck into two piles, top and bottom, setting them down, and placing the bottom stack on top of the top stack. 

What You’ll Need To Play?

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Red Dog requires a minimum of three participants to play, but there is no maximum number of players you can have.

All you will need to play this unique game is a standard deck of cards and a set of poker chips (or anything else you’d like to use to make bets). If you wish to purchase chips, they can be reasonably priced on Amazon.

These sets are just bare plastic chips, but if you want the game to feel more authentic, you can purchase an actual poker set; it will cost you a bit more money.

Rules and Gameplay

Rules and Gameplay

There is no limit on how many people can play. I would advise three to six players for the ample number of people to participate in Red Dog, but that’s my preference.

However, if your game has more than eight players, you will need to change the number of cards a player starts with from five to four.


The idea of the game is that players make bets in order to win the pot. This is done by having the highest-ranking card. Some other steps and actions make the game a little more complex and challenging.

To Begin

First, after each player has a certain amount of chips, you can set this amount at the start of the game amongst yourselves, but each player should be given the same number.

Next, each player should put one chip in the center of the playing area. This is what I described earlier as being the ante, but it is sometimes also known as the wager or bet.

Once the pot has been created, each player should draw a single card from the deck, and whoever has the highest-ranking card becomes the dealer. You can select a dealer randomly if you don’t want to do it like this.

Next, the dealer should shuffle the cards and hand them to the player on their right to cut the deck. Then, each player should be dealt five cards each (or four in the case of eight or more players). The remaining cards should be placed face down and kept as a stockpile.


Once each player has examined their cards, you will then take turns, starting with the player to the left of the dealer, placing a bet.

You can bet any number of chips you wish if it is no more than the amount already in the pot. If you don’t feel in a position to place a bet, you can forfeit a single chip into the pool.

Once a bet has been placed, the dealer then turns up one card from the stockpile, and if the player who placed the bet has either a card of the same suit but higher in rank, they need to show their card to the group.

That player then receives their chips back and the equivalent amount of chips from the pot.

Now it’s the next player’s turn, and the same goes. Place the bet, and the dealer turns the card, etc. (The dealer is the last to play.) this procedure continues until all players have taken a turn.

If you find at any point that the pot is empty, then each player should add one more chip to replenish it.

How To Win?

The aim of Red Dog is pretty self-explanatory. The person with the most high-ranking cards out of the group.

It can help to have a pen and paper handy to keep a score of how many points each person is winning. After multiple rounds, add up your scores, and whoever has the most is the winner.


So now you know how to play Red Dog and be loaded with all the terminologies and phrases of the game, so the next time someone suggests a card game on a night in, you can teach everyone else how to play too.

Red Dog is an excellent alternative to poker and is great fun for all the family.

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