High Card Pool

OBJECTIVE OF HIGH CARD POOL: Win your bet by having a card of the same suit but a higher rank than the single card dealt by the dealer.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 3-8 players

NUMBER OF CARDS: 52-card deck

RANK OF CARDS: A (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2




High Card Pool is also known as Red Dog, a name which is shared by a slew of other unrelated or distantly related card games. Red dog is both known as Acey-Deucy and In-between as well as known as variations on it. The name most commonly is a reference to the game Yablon. These and more are several variations of Red Dog which are known and played but are not the same as this variation, which also bears the name High Card Pool. Many sources conflict on the number of cards players have in High Card Pool. The deal may be four or five cards, with some variations even calling for seven. This article will focus on four and five card High Card Pool.


Player’s may choose to select their dealer in whatever manner seems fit; whoever draws the high card, youngest player, cutting the deck and dealing to each player until someone gets an ace, or even the loser of a pre-game beer chugging contest.

The Deal

Prior to the deal, each player places a pre-determined ante in the pot. Once each player is square with the pot, the dealer shuffles the deck. Players may request to shuffle, but the dealer has the right to shuffle last.  The dealer then deals each player four or five cards (depending on the number of players). Players may then look at their cards.


A round of betting begins with the player to the dealer’s left and ends with the dealer. Each bet must be at least equal to the ante but not greater than the entire value of the pot. The dealer is responsible for keeping track of each players bets.

After a player has placed their bet the dealer reveals a card after burning (discarding) the top card of the deck. If the player has a card of the same suit but higher rank in their hand in comparison to the card dealt they have won their bet. The dealer pays the winner their ante or initial stake back as well as their equal cut of the pot. Losers forfeit their bets.

Once a player has completed their bet, they set their cards aside, face-down, and play passes left. Each player bets against the pot separately and one at a time, butting against whatever remains in the pot. In the event the pot is empty or contains less than the ante each player puts in another ante. If the pot is too large players may decide to split it evenly and ante into a new pot.

The deal passes left after each player in that hand has finished betting. The pot remains for the next hand even though players pay an ante before each hand, unless the pot is too large.



Here are the following differences between High Card Pool and Shoot:

  • The dealer puts up an ante alone at the start
  • Players receive three cards and may not look at them until right before their turn to bet
  • If the pot runs dry, players who have not yet bet are not allowed to. Deal passes left and a new hand is dealt. The deal only passes when the pot is dry, if there is money remaining in the pot at the end of a hand the dealer stays. After three consecutive deals, the dealer can decide to pass on the responsibility.






Nakoa Davis

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