The mayhem of Red Dog

Mar 20, 2006 11:21 PM

Carol, it is time to pack the bags again — I hope it is warm in Florida, where we are going to host a charity poker tournament at Fort Lauderdale.

Did you know how many of my books that you were giving away when you asked that test question in one of my recent columns?

The test question was, if you have been really lucky and have caught three of the aces on your first three cards when you are playing Red Dog Poker (a poker game in which you receive four personal cards): What are the odds that you will receive the fourth and last ace on the next card?

Well, we gave away some books because a lot of the folks came up with the correct answer of 48-to-1.

A lot of the folks got very close and answered 49-to-1.

Here’s where they went wrong. The only thing that they failed to do was to know that one of the remaining 49 cards was the last ace and then the other 48 cards were not aces, so that the correct answer is 48-to-1.

Now here is the complete solution:

”¡ There are 52 cards in a standard deck of playing cards

”¡ You have been lucky and received an ace on each of the first three cards that you have received and you have not seen any of the remaining 49 cards.

”¡ What are the odds that you will receive that fourth ace on the very next card?

Here’s the math: 52 cards in the deck minus the three aces equals 49 cards left in the deck, one of which is the last ace. So, 49 cards less one equals 48 cards that are not aces, and one that is the ace, therefore the correct answer is 48-to-1, or about 2 percent of the time you will receive that final fourth ace.

Now, a lot of the folks that emailed me wanted to know what is Red Dog Poker?

Well, it is one of the meanest poker games that I have ever played.

It is a poker game that may be played with a minimum of two players and a maximum of six players.

Each player puts up an ante — $5 or more that creates a pot of $30 with six players.

Then, one high card is dealt for the dealer button.

Each player in clockwise rotation receives in order four and only four personal cards.

The stub of the deck is placed in the center of the table.

The player to the left of the dealer is the first to act.

He may pass and throw his cards into the muck

He may select any bet (Pot Limit) from $5 up to $30.

Say the player says "pot," meaning that he bets the pot.

He must match the pot of $30.

The dealer then burns the top card and turns up the next card from the stub of the deck that is in the center of the table.

If the player loses, the $30 stays in the pot which would now become $60, and the next player (clockwise) may play or pass.

If the player has a card in his hand that is higher in rank and suit than the card that the dealer turns up, the player wins his bet. If not, he loses his money into the pot — not to another player —but into the pot, which is still alive.

The next player in rotation can repeat the same procedure.

The Red Dog pot continues to grow and the players continue to bet at the pot or any $5 part of it until someone wins the pot.

If the pot is won, all players who wish to continue to play must ante up and the game begins again.

If there is any money left in the pot when the rotation gets around to the dealer, he may take his turn to play. If the dealer passes or does not win all of the pot, that hand is over but the money remains in the pot.

The player to the left now takes all of the cards and it is his turn to deal but he will be last to act.

Yes, I have seen a lot of money won and lost in this game.

Now, how to figure the odds of Red Dog Poker.

Again there are 52 cards. You hold only four of them Say you have Ah-2h-Kd-10c. You can beat 11 hearts and you can beat 11 diamonds and you can beat 8 clubs and zero spades.

There are 48 cards remaining in the stub of the deck; you can beat 11+11+8=30 cards — therefore there are 18 cards that you cannot beat.

You now have the best of it by 30 to 18 or 15 to 9, so with the odds 15 to 9 in your favor and with say $60 in the pot, I might in my younger days have bet the pot. But when I lost, the pot will grow to $120, getting the game up out of the mud really quickly.

Now, of course, the best possible hand is the four aces and you cannot lose.

Poker Tip of the Week

A poker game is like an ever-shifting kaleidoscope: a slight change in how you play your hands or how you bet your money and when you throw away your cards, can and does alter all the winners in the game!

If you are losing when you play poker, make a slight change and you may be able to take the money home and count it there.

Until next time, remember to stay lucky.