I bet you have needed a break from a blackjack dealer on a hot streak a time
or two, right? We’ve all been there; we think to ourselves, “It’s time to switch
it up and find a new table game.” It’s been hours, and several rotations of
dealers have all coincidently been very good at pulling 21 after 21.
What if I told you there is this fun game where you get to play with the
dealer and not against them?
Yep, you read that right. At the Let It Ride poker table you get three cards,
and then you play with the dealer’s two community cards to form the best five
card poker hand.
Gambling is supposed to be entertaining! Winning is awesome, but when
searching for a game to play I at least want my money to last a while. Win or
lose, I just want to have fun, and I bet you do too!
Ultimately the object of the game is to finish with a winning hand and get a
pile of chips! This game began in the late nineties, and it can still be found
in the carnival games pit of most major land casinos and online.
The game is easy to learn, and after a few rounds, you will hopefully have in
your cup holder an ice-cold drink from the pretty cocktail server, and a few
extra chips piled up in front of you.
Let’s start with some fun facts about Let It Ride:
The dealer plays with you and not against you.
It’s totally fine if you don’t know how to play poker, or what hand beats what.
Let It Ride is the perfect opportunity to learn!
You get to take back two-thirds of your original bet if you don’t like your cards.
The entire table can win.
Let It Ride is a blast to play with a group of friends.
Step 1 – Get Chips for Betting
Your awesome dealer will help you! Just place your money on the table, and
they will do the conversion from paper money to gaming chips for you.
Chips have values of $1, $5, $25, $100 and $500 at most tables. Get a few
“whites” from the dealer. These are $1 chips, and you will most likely use
these for the side bet (more on side bets later) or to take care of the dealer.
Step 2 – Place Your Bets
The table layout will have three circles with the symbols 1, 2 and $ on them.
This is where you will place your bets. With Let It Ride poker, you are making
three separate bets, but you get to take two of your three bets back if you
The 1 and 2 bets will be optional after you see your first three cards and
again after the dealer’s community card is revealed. You will only be required
to leave your money on the $ circle bet.
The table will have a minimum bet requirement. There is always a sign that
states the minimum bet (usually in the left corner of the table), and most of
the time it will be between $5 and $25.
If the table minimum is $10, then you will place $30 total on the table. You
put $10 on each of the 1, 2, and $ circles in front of you. Decide to keep (Let
It Ride) or take back your bet on the number 1 circle after you view your first
three cards. Choose to keep or take back the bet on the number 2 circle after
the dealer flips over the first community card.
Step 3 – The Game Begins
The dealer starts dealing from their left, and every player gets three cards
in front of them. You leave the cards on the table until everyone has received
three cards and the dealer has two cards in front of them.
The two cards the dealer placed in front of them will be community cards.
This means that all players at the table will use these cards to make the best
five-card poker hand.
All cards will be face down when dealt, and once the dealer has two cards and
puts the remaining cards in the discard rack, you may look at your cards. Some
casinos have a rule about using one hand to view your cards and others allow you
to use both hands.
It’s a good thing you are here to learn these basic rules about how to play
Let It Ride. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on winning big! The casino has the
authority to not pay out jackpots for breaking the rules, so make sure you know
and understand how the game is played.
Step 4 – Check Out Your Three Cards
View your cards, but remember to protect your hands! Just like in poker at
any casino table, you want to be the only one seeing your cards. Be smart, and
be sure to follow the rules of the casino. If you don’t know the rules or have a
question about the game, you can always just ask the dealer.
Did you get a winning hand on your first three cards?
Well, if you have a pair of 10’s or better, then you did, and you will want
to tuck. Tucking is marvelous, because you win on all three of your bets
automatically, and you don’t have to do any more thinking. It’s time just to sit
back and hopefully watch your hand get better with the dealer’s two community
playing cards. I’ve seen many tucked pairs turn into a 4-of-a-kind!
It’s okay if you didn’t get a gift from the card gods with your first three
cards, because you get two more chances to make a winning hand with the dealer’s
two community cards.
Step 5 – Let’s Play Let It Ride
You must choose your hand after seeing the first three cards. The good news
is there are mathematically calculated probabilities you can use to help you
make smart decisions regarding your poker hand. Math wizards have tested,
recorded and concluded the best move to make 100% of the time.
You have options for those two community cards. You might want to see another
card and then decide to stay (leave your bet) or take it back (receive your
original bet). I have seen gut instinct, dumb luck, and a “feeling” win more
times than I can count.
Take the following recommendations as your guide and up your chances of
winning at your next Let It Ride poker table. Oh, and if your cards stink, you
can still win if the dealer shows a winning hand with those two community cards!
Stay or Let It Ride on your first (1) bet of the table if you have the
Pair of 10’s or better (10-J-Q-K-A)
Three of a kind
Three cards to a straight flush (cards
should be 3-4-5 or better)
Three cards to a straight flush with at
least one high card (10-J-Q-K-A) and one gap
Three cards to a straight flush with at
least two high cards (10-J-Q-K-A) and two gaps
Let It Ride on your second (2) bet of the table if you have the following:
Pair of 10’s or better (10-J-Q-K-A)
Three of a kind
Any four cards of the same suit (flush
Any four cards in a row (open-ended
straight) with at least one high card (10-J-Q-K-A)
Any four high cards (10-J-Q-K-A)
Deciding between taking back a bet or keeping a bet on the table will
ultimately come down to the next card or cards drawn. Keep your bet on the table
until you reach a winning hand or a good draw.
One of the best bonuses in Let It Ride is when the dealer has a pocket pair
of 10’s or better. When this occurs, everyone WINS! Cheers, chips, and smiles
all around for everyone.
Step 6 – Pay the Winners and Play Another Round
The cards are all shown, and you are paid on the highest 5-card poker hand
you make. The dealer will again start on their left and turn over each players
hand. Below are the most common payouts for Let It Ride poker. The payout for
the game you are playing will always be posted up at the table.
Each player will be paid out according to the payout schedule. If you don’t
make a hand with a pair of 10’s or better, then you will be donating your
remaining chips on the table to the house. The dealer finally collects all
cards, shuffles up the deck and deals the next hand.
A maximum payout per player, per hand, may limit your total winnings on the
basic payout schedule. Be sure to take note of this when you are betting more
than the minimum table requirement.
Most casinos will offer players a side bet or two. Specific rules of each
side bet featured will be dependent upon the casino you are at, so make sure to
check out your table and ask the dealer for guidance if needed.
There are two commonly played side bets. The most common is an additional bet
(usually $1) that players place on the outcome of the 5-card hand. A progressive
jackpot is commonly tied to this side bet. Rewards are given out to the top
hands, and these bets are made at the same time you place your other three table
The second bonus bet you will likely find at the Let It Ride table is a
3-card bonus bet. With this side bonus bet, you get rewarded for making a 3-card
poker hand on your first dealt cards. This bet will pay for any pair, flush,
straight, 3-of-a-kind, straight flush or mini royal (Q-K-A of the same suit).
Side bets give the house a greater advantage. So
“technically” the side bets are not the best bets, but you will never win that
progressive prize jackpot if you never play.
Side bets make the game more
entertaining and fun, so feel free to gamble a few bucks for a chance at winning
big and having a great casino story for the grandkids!
Play with the Dealer
Tipping is never required, but it’s always appreciated. There are a few ways
you can take care of a good dealer, and you can even play for them with a tip if
Traditionally, when you win on a big hand or hit that jackpot, you tip out
the dealer. The gratuity amount is completely up to you, and honestly, I tip all
kinds of different ways when playing.
You might not know that you can also place a bet for the dealer. A tip bet
can be placed on the side of your bet or alongside the side bet of yours or the
Standard practice is a few dollars here and there if you are on a winning
streak. I prefer a combo of playing a few for the dealer on my original bets or
a side bet. The dealer “being in the game” adds extra entertainment value!
The Changing of the Cards
Cards are handled by players in Let It Ride; they will be changed out every
two or so hours. This means that the pit boss or floor person in charge of the
game will set up the dealer with brand new cards several times daily.
Casino gift shops have these cards for sale. Cards make great souvenirs to
take home. Reminisce later about your Vegas adventures, usually available for
Some might say that a new deck is a perfect opportunity to hit a winning hand
since the cards are new and they were just in chronological order. It’s not the
case since the dealers scatter the deck all over the table, hand shuffle and
then put those new cards into the auto shuffler that does a really good job of
This is not to say that magic matching of the cards doesn’t occur with new
cards, because it can! Odds-wise though, each hand independently has the same
likelihood of winning. New cards, hot cards or old cards make no difference.
Playing Let It Ride Online
Practice makes perfect, right?
It’s no big secret that the more you play a
game, the better you will become. The same logic also applies to Let It Ride,
and you can play online before hitting up the land-based casino.
I even found a great practice site for you to play on. Check out this online Let It Ride game and
you will be a pro player in no time. Remember to check the “enable advice” box to
learn how to best play according to standard strategy.
It’s been a great journey with you through the basic rules and strategies of
Let It Ride poker, and I hope you learned some great tips along the way. It was
a pleasure being your guide, and I wish you luck in all your future Let It Ride
poker game adventures!
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