The Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride

Many years ago, I played let it ride on my computer, complete with the disc for loading it on my PC-based Tiger computer. It was a somewhat archaic set of Poker variations, Let it Ride, and Poker Tournaments by today’s standards, but it was fun at the time. Look at that early poker-based variation with An Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride.

The Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride

The History of the Game

John Breeding took a bit of a gamble in 1983 when he quit his job as a truck driver and focused on inventing an automatic card shuffler. That device became known as the famous Shuffle Master card shuffling machine.

By 1992, he’d developed Let It Ride poker to promote his new invention. A year later, his game — and his new shuffling devices — started becoming fixtures in casinos because they could shuffle a fresh deck while dealers kept games going for players. By 1995, Let It Ride generated more revenue for Shuffle Master than its namesake device. As a result, Bally Technologies acquired it in 2013.

Today, you can play Let It Ride poker in person at more than 30 Las Vegas casinos and hundreds more around the country, but its numbers are decreasing. Look for minimum bets as low as $5 and up to $25.

The Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride
The Let It Ride table. The big red-lit spot is for the dollar bonus—more below.

What is “Let It Ride?”

The game’s object is to win all three bets wagered. Let It Ride uses a standard 52-card deck.

Let it Ride was among the first new table games for casino floors in the late nineties. It is a simple poker-based game where the player is paid based on his five-card hand, with no dealer’s hand.

Not playing against the dealer is an integral part of this game. Many “carnival table games” require the dealer to have a “qualifying hand.” If the dealer does not qualify, Ante bets are paid to all players at 1:1. Play wagers are returned to players. In Let It Ride, the twist is that as the cards are revealed, the player can decrease his bet if he doesn’t like his cards.

You play with five cards, but two of your five are “community” cards. Community cards are cards everyone at the table can use as part of their five-card hand. In this game, the dealer deals the community cards face down, and players have two opportunities to withdraw one-third of their initial three-part bet.

If you don’t like your three cards, you have two chances to decrease your bet and minimize your loss. The way to win is to hold a pair of Tens or better in your five-card hand.

Related Post – All About Carnival Games in the Casino

How Bad is the House Edge?

Let it Ride poker has a house edge of 3.51%, placing it in the middle of the pack compared to other casino card games, and has better winning odds than other variants, such as Caribbean Stud Poker.

GAMESHOUSE ADVANTAGE
BLACKJACK (6-DECK, OPTIMAL BASIC STRATEGY).46%
BACCARAT (NO TIE BETS)1.2%
CRAPS (PASS LINE/COME BET)1.4%
BLACKJACK (AVERAGE PLAYER – OPTIMAL STRATEGY)2.0%
PAI GOW POKER (ANTE/PLAY – OPTIMAL STRATEGY)2.66%
CASINO WAR2.90%
THREE-CARD POKER (OPTIMAL STRATEGY)3.37%
LET IT RIDE (OPTIMAL STRATEGY)3.5%
CARIBBEAN STUD (OPTIMAL STRATEGY)5.2%
ROULETTE (AMERICAN DOUBLE-ZERO)5.3%
Please note that the above games do not include side bets, which can raise the house edge from 2% to 8%, depending on the specific side bet.

Three Card Bonus

You can also make an optional Three Card Bonus side-bet in addition to your standard, Let It Ride bet. As with all side bets, players beware of the extra house edge. That dollar bonus bet is one of the worst in the casino, with a house edge of over 20%

The Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride

Let It Ride Poker Rules & Simple Strategy

It may seem difficult if you’re new to Let It Ride Poker. But the rules are pretty simple. The trick is learning the strategy of what to do with your three-part bet, whether to “pull it back” or “Let It Ride.” Here’s how you do it:

  1. First, you make three bets of equal size.
  2. Then, the dealer gives each player three cards (face down).
  3. In the first round, where only three cards are shown, you must only raise your bet or let it ride if you hold:
    • At least a pair of 10s
    • Any three cards that can constitute a royal flush
    • Any three suited straight cards (discard cards that have 2-3-4 and A-2-3 as these are low cards)
    • Any three cards that can constitute a straight flush that has at least a ten or higher
  4. Now, You decide to pull back your first bet or “Let It Ride.”
  5. The dealer flips the first community card (to be used by all players).
  6. In the second round, where the first community card is already revealed, you must let it ride if you hold:
    • At least a pair of 10s
    • Any four cards are the same
    • You have four consecutive cards of any suit with at least a card that is ten or higher.
    • You have four cards missing one number in the middle to make a straight hand.
  7. You may pull back your second bet or “Let It Ride.”
  8. The dealer flips the second community card, again used by all players.
  9. You’re paid according to the poker value of the five cards (your three and the dealer’s two).

Common Payouts

Expected payouts for various winning Let It Ride poker hands are as follows:

  • Royal Flush: 1,000 to 1
  • Straight Flush: 200 to 1
  • Four of a Kind: 5 to 1
  • Full House: 11 to 1
  • Flush: 8 to 1
  • Straight: 5 to 1
  • Three of a Kind: 3 to 1
  • Two Pair: 2 to 1
  • Pair (10s or better): 1 to 1
  • Losing Hand: 0

If There Is One Strategy to Be Aware Of, “Letting it ride on a low pair (9’s or less) is a bad bet. The house edge on a low pair with three cards is 6.37%. With four cards, the house edge jumps to 45.83%. So don’t be tempted to let it ride on low pairs.”

Michael Shackelford

Let It Ride as a Home Poker Game Version

OBJECT OF THE GAME

You can use this game as a home poker game with three or more players. The player’s goal is to win the pot, which contains all the players’ bets in any deal. A player makes a bet hoping to have the best hand or to give the impression that they do. In most Poker versions, the top combination of five cards is the best hand.

  1. THE DEAL – The dealer gives three cards to each player, face down, one at a time. Next, the dealer places face down in front of the dealer, who does not receive a hand of three cards.
  2. THE PLAY – The players do not play against the dealer. Their objective is merely to get a good poker hand by using their three cards plus the dealer’s two facedown cards. At no time may a player show his hand to any other players.
  3. After looking at the three facedown cards, the player may ask for their first bet back or elect to “let it ride.” One of the dealer’s facedown cards is turned up. The player may then ask for their bet back or, again, may “let it ride.” The dealer’s second facedown card is now turned up, and the players expose their cards. The dealer then pays out all winning hands.

Practice “Let it Ride” for Free.

Wizard of Odds offers an online casino as well as free games. This website also offers a free tutor to correct your play according to Michael Shackelford’s own Let It Ride strategy. And it’s all for free! In case you haven’t played this game, practice first by clicking on the link above.

An Ultimate Guide to Let It Ride
The Let It Ride Tutor at the Wizard of Odds

“It plays just like the real thing. The casinos use a shuffling machine, which I understand to be very good. My program shuffles the deck after every hand too.”

Michael Shackelford, concerning his Let It Ride Tutor

Summary

It’s like the Eveready Bunny – it just keeps on going. It seems to have a cult following with those gamblers who have played it for decades. Come to think of it; it might just be fun to try.

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