Acey Deucey, or some similar variation played by a different name, was probably one of the first games to be played after cards were invented. With the arrival of modern casinos and gambling games that required more strategy, Acey Deucey fell out of favor with those who considered it too “basic” to require any true skill. Ironically, it is our most advanced technology, the Internet, that has brought about a revival of the ancient game and allowed it to find a younger audience who enjoy the quick pace.
Even though this game is hugely popular in the United States due to it’s ease of play and the fact that most college students have played it at least a handful of times, it is relatively hard to find on the internet. In fact, there are currently only three USA online casinos that have it in their table games section, (listed by it’s other name of “Red Dog”), which is a shockingly low number.
When you play this game online the fast action will trump its lack of challenging decisions and it’s not uncommon for determined gamblers to grind out close to 100 hands in an hour. Therefore, it’s very important to keep an eye on your balance to ensure that you’re staying within your budget and not overspending.
Many reading this game guide will clearly remember Acey Deucey from their college or high school days since it’s one of the simplest group gambling events to organize and execute. All of the players, which can be 10 people or more, toss an ante into the pot and on their turns they can bet any number up to the total amount of money that’s in the pot. Players receive two cards face up and the wager is on whether the numerical rank of the 3rd card drawn and placed into their hand will fall in between the two original cards. If it does, the player wins and extracts an amount equal to the bet from the pot, including the entire pot if that’s the wager that was declared.
The amount of the losing wager that must be added to the pot depends on the circumstances of the ill-fated 3rd card. If that 3rd card falls outside the two “post” cards, the losing bettor simply adds the wager amount to the pot. However, if that 3rd card matches one of the two post cards, the losing bettor must contribute double the wager that they originally staked. This result can be referred to by many terms such as “hitting the goal post” or “getting posted”, and it’s the main fuel that makes the money in the pot grow to such large proportions.
If the two cards dealt to the player are identical, the rules change to a bet on whether the next card will be higher or lower. If the 3rd card then matches the pair, the bettor must pay the pot triple the declared stake. If the two post cards are in sequential order, (8-9, for example), the cards are discarded and two new ones are dealt. Suits do not matter whatsoever in Acey Deucey, only the amounts on each card.
Like many others in the world, Aces are afforded special treatment in this card game. If an ace is the 1st of the two cards received, the player can choose whether it will be a high ace or a low ace. It’s important to note though, that any ace received in the second position is always automatically high. So, potentially the best hand in Acey Deucey is a low ace followed by a high ace. However, it is also potentially the worst hand in the game because any time the 3rd card is an ace and one of the post cards is an ace, the loss costs the player four times (4x) the value of the announced wager, including “Pot”.
In brick and mortar casinos the United States, Acey Deucey is often dealt from two decks, which doubles the odds of 3rd cards matching the post cards, with the financial consequences outlined above. In some variations if the two cards are identical, rather than play high/low on the 3rd card, players are permitted to split them into a second hand and play two independent games.
You need to be careful though because some online casinos accepting U.S. players may deal from as many as eight decks, which drastically reduces your odds of winning. To find out how many decks are being used by the House, simply click on the “Rules” button inside the window of the game and the information will be clearly posted.
When Acey Deucey, or “In Betweens” as it was more often called, worked its way into newly legalized Las Vegas casinos in the 1930s it arrived as “Red Dog“. Why? No one knows. In its early days Red Dog was just as popular as blackjack but that didn’t last long since the odds of winning on a blackjack table are much better.
Once you’re out of college and not playing with friends, wherever you can find Red Dog being dealt legally at a casino, it’s a game of betting on the dealer’s hand and not against others seated at the table. Before the deal, all of the players place a wager and the dealer then lays out two cards in front of them.
If the cards dealt are consecutive the hand is a push, and if the post cards are identical the dealer turns a 3rd card and if it matches the posts the players all receive 11 to 1 payouts on their wagers. Otherwise, it’s a push. Any other time, the hand is in play and the dealer will announce the spread between posts, which is the number of cards that can be winners, (for example, between a 2 and a 6 the spread is 3).
Each gambler then has the opportunity to increase their wager amount with the Red Dog payouts as follows:
- 5 to 1 for spreads of 1 card
- 4 to 1 for spreads of 2 cards
- 2 to 1 for spreads of 3 cards
- 1 to 1 for spreads of 4 or more cards
Payouts can vary slightly from place to place but the above odds will be found at the vast majority of physical tables around the United States as well as the virtual ones online.
How To Play
The only profitable way to play Red Dog, regardless of the number of decks used and based on standard payouts, is to only raise when the spread is a gaping seven cards or more. This of course makes the worst play possible a bet on a spread of one, which carries a bankroll-busting 54% house edge with an 8% chance of winning. On seven card spreads the winning probability tips to the player at 54% and it goes up to a maximum of 85% on an 11-card spread.
This game can be lots of fun but it’s definitely not the one to play if you want to make some money, so stick to more player-friendly pursuits like blackjack if you want to try to grind out a profit by gambling.