Gambling Tips > Video Poker

How to Play Let It Ride

By Henry Tamburin


Let it Ride is a poker-based table game that uses a standard deck of 52 cards. Players don’t compete against the dealer or other players. The objective is for the player to try to make at least of pair of 10s or better from an initial three card hand and two subsequent community cards. The player must start with three wagers of equal size but the twist in the game is that each player has the option to take down (or remove) two of the three bets.

 

After each player makes three bets of equal size, they will receive three cards and the dealer will have two cards (face down). After examining their three card hand, each player has the option to take down one of the three bets or “let it ride,” meaning keeping all three bets active. The dealer will then expose one of his two cards, which acts as a fourth community card for all player hands. Each player then decides again whether to take down one of their bets or let all the remaining bets ride. The dealer then exposes the second community card, giving each player a five card poker hand (consisting of the initial three cards and the two community cards).  Players win money if their five card hand contains at least a pair of 10s or better. The pay table used by most casinos is as follows.

 

HAND

PAYOFF

Royal Flush

1,000 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

Pair of Tens or Better

1 to 1

 

There is an optimum strategy for when to “let it ride” after seeing the initial three- and subsequent four-card hand. You can obtain this strategy on the Let it Ride page on www.wizardofodds.com, or on the strategy cards developed by James Grosjean for poker-based table games (go to my web store at smartgaming.com for details on the strategy cards). If you follow the optimum strategy, the house edge is 3.5% per hand.

 

The issue with Let it Ride is its high volatility because only a relatively small amount of hands (24% or only one out of every four hands) wind up winning. This means players tend to lose a lot of money before they win. If you have a short bankroll, you often run the risk of going broke in this game.

There are two side bets in this game. One is the Three Card Bonus, and the other is the Five Card Bonus.

 

The Three Card Bonus side bet is based on the player’s initial three card hand. If your first three cards are a pair or better, you will win money on the side bet. Based on the pay table for the side bet (there are several) the house edge can be as low as 2.1% or as high as 7.1% The best pay table (2.1% house edge) is as follows:

 

Three Card Hand

PAYOUT

Mini Royal

50 to 1

Straight Flush

40 to 1

Three-of-a-Kind

30 to 1

Straight

6 to 1

Flush

4 to 1

Pair

1 to 1

 
(You can find a listing of pay tables for this side bet and the corresponding house edges at www.wizardofodds.com.)

 

One of the advantages of the Three Card Bonus side bet is that it lowers the overall volatility because it increases the win frequency from 24% to 42%.

 

There is not much to say about the Five Card Bonus side bet because it has a relatively high house edge (7.%) other than to recommend not to make this bet.

 

Bottom line: If you play Let it Ride, make sure you use the optimum playing strategy. (You can take the Grosjean strategy card for Let it Ride to the table when you play.) Only make the Three Card Bonus side bet if the pay table justifies it. (Look for a 6 to 1 payout on the straight and 4 to 1 for the flush. Avoid making the side bet if the flush only pays 3 to 1.)