Let it Ride
Compared to many of the more traditional casino games such as blackjack and roulette, Let it Ride poker is something of a newcomer. In this casino variation of poker, which is played against the house rather than other players, you form a five-card hand using three of your own cards and two community cards.
The unique aspect of Let it Ride, largely what makes it so popular, is that you make three bets to start but can retract two if you don't like the cards. Another reason it's well liked by many players is the possibility of winning big money relative to your stake, particularly if you are lucky enough to hit a royal flush.
The game was introduced in the early 1990s by John Breeding, who invented the game primarily to help sell more of his automatic shuffling machines to casinos: it was ultimately successful. Both Let it Ride poker and automatic shufflers can be found in many casinos around the world. Below we provide more information on this game, including the best places to play.
Let it Ride Rules
To begin, each player must place three equal bets at their chosen stake. The minimum and maximum stake will vary depending on the house rules. The dealer then deals three face down cards to each player, and also two face down community cards. Once the dealing is complete, players can look at their cards and decide how to proceed.
Players have two options: they can remove one of their bets if they don't like their cards, or they can leave all three in place. Leaving them in place is known as letting it ride, where the game gets its name. The dealer then turns over one of the community cards, and players can again decide whether to remove a bet or not: regardless of their action on the previous round.
Finally, the dealer turns over the second community card and each player uses their three cards combined with the two community cards to form a five-card poker hand. Players are then paid out if their hand is strong enough according to the relevant payout schedule. This schedule can vary between casinos, but typically at least a pair of tens is required and the following odds are used.
- Royal Flush – 1000 to 1
- Straight Flush – 200 to 1
- Four of A Kind – 50 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
- 10s or Better – 1 to 1
Many casinos offer optional side bets. The exact rules will depend on where you are playing, but there are two that are particularly common. The first is a bet on the hand for the three cards dealt to a player. This will generally pay out if a player has a pair or better in those three cards.
The second is an additional bet on the strength of the five-card hand. This side bet will usually pay out based on a fixed schedule if the player makes a straight or better. At many casinos, there will be a progressive jackpot for this type of side bet, with a player winning if they make a royal flush, and a percentage of that if they make a straight flush.
Let it Ride poker strategy focuses on knowing when to withdraw a bet and when to let it ride. With the correct strategy, the house edge is around 3.5%, so it's a good idea to know the optimal moves for any situation to keep the edge as low as possible. We have listed the correct decisions to make below.
After you have seen your three cards, but not the community cards, you should withdraw one of your bets unless you have the following:
- A pair of 10s or higher
- Any three of a kind
- Any three-suited cards that are 10 or above
- Any three suited cards in a row, provided the lowest card is at least a three
- Any three-suited cards with a gap of one, provided at least one card is a 10 or higher
- Any three-suited cards with a gap of two, provided at least two cards are a 10 or higher
After you have seen the first community card, you should withdraw one of your bets unless your four cards contain any of the following:
- A pair of 10s or higher
- Any three of a kind
- Any four of a kind
- Any four suited cards
- Four cards in a row, provided the lowest card is at least a three
- Four cards with a gap of one, provided the lowest card is a 10
When considering optimal strategy, bear in mind that playing side bets usually increases the house edge. That isn't to say that you absolutely shouldn't play them, because they can be fun and can possibly give you the chance of winning a huge prize. However, they are technically bad bets. You should also check the maximum payout of most Let it Ride tables, and you shouldn't place bets that are high enough to cause a payout to exceed this amount since this increases the house edge.
Playing Let it Ride Poker Online
Although you'll find Let it Ride poker at most online casinos, there are a few particularly good places for playing the game. We recommend the following casinos as the best places to play Let it Ride poker.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: March 2015
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