Let It Ride is a fast-paced casino game that combines central elements of traditional poker, blackjack and video poker. It was invented in the ’90s by ShuffleMaster, a renowned manufacturer of shuffling machines, slot machines, table games and other casino products. Today, Let It Ride tables are a common sight on casino floors and at online casinos in regulated states.
The central premise of Let It Ride poker is to secure the highest possible five-card poker hand — one that contains at least a pair of 10s — by using your three cards and two community dealer cards. The stronger the hand, the bigger the payout.
The strength of your hand is the single most important thing in Let It Ride poker — you’re not required to beat the dealer or other players at the table in this game.
This guide will focus on teaching you the fundamentals of Let It Ride poker. You’ll learn what the stages of the game are, betting options and potential payouts for each hand. You’ll also find tips on how to reduce the house edge to its minimum and win more consistently.
You’ll play Let It Ride on a blackjack-type table with a single deck of cards. The game can accommodate up to seven players. In Let It Ride, you don’t compete against other players or the house; the goal is to form a “paying” five-card poker hand.
The biggest twist of this game is that it gives players the option to remove two-thirds of their initial stake if they don’t like their cards. We’ll show you below how this works in practice via a brief rundown that illustrates all the phases of the game.
At the beginning of the round, you make three equal ante bets, in circles marked 1, 2, and $. Each bet must be at least the table minimum, which is $5 to $10 in most casinos.
Once the bets are in, the dealer will distribute three face-down cards to each player and two face-down community cards. At this point, you need to assess your three cards and decide whether you want to pull the first wager back or keep it active. You have two options:
The dealer then flips one of the two community cards face up. Again, you can either cancel the bet from circle 2 or let it ride. Keep in mind that the two betting decisions are completely independent of each other.
After you have made up your mind regarding the wager in circle 2, the betting phase is over because the wager in the third circle always stays in play. The dealer will now complete your five-card poker hand by revealing the second face-down card.
If you have a pair of 10s or better, you’ll get paid according to the pay table and any remaining bets in play. If not, the dealer will collect the $ bet as well as any other active wagers.
Here are the potential five-card winning hand combinations in Let It Ride poker:
|Four of a Kind||624|
|Three of a Kind||54,912|
|Any Pair (only 10s or better pays)||1,098,240|
Depending on the casino you’re playing in, you’ll find one or more side bets. The most common is the three-card bonus, which pays according to the player’s three initially dealt cards. Similar to pair plus in three card poker, you need to have at least one pair to cash in on the three-card bonus.
There are 22,100 hand combinations for your first three cards. A little more than 5,500 will result in a three-card bonus payout. Here are the numbers:
|Three of a Kind||52|
Once the dealer has revealed the second face-down card, you’ll get paid according to your five-card poker ranking and corresponding pay table. But remember — you only win on active bets, which means that if you gave up the wagers from the first two circles, you’ll only get paid for the third one.
To score a payout in Let It Ride poker, you need at least a pair of 10s or better. Here’s the payout structure along with the probabilities of hitting each winning hand:
|Royal Flush||1 in 649,740||1,000:1|
|Straight Flush||1 in 72,193||200:1|
|Four of a Kind||1 in 4,165||50:1|
|Full House||1 in 694||11:1|
|Flush||1 in 509||8:1|
|Straight||1 in 255||5:1|
|Three of a Kind||1 in 47||3:1|
|Two Pair||1 in 21||2:1|
|Any Pair||1 in 2||1:1 for 10s or better|
Here’s the most common payout table for the three-card bonus, along with odds of each paying hand occurring:
|Straight Flush||1 in 460||40:1|
|Three of a Kind||1 in 425||30:1|
|Straight||1 in 31||5:1|
|Flush||1 in 20||4:1|
|Any Pair||1 in 6||1:1|
In some land-based and online casinos, players have the option to place a progressive side bet for only $1, similar to that of Caribbean stud poker. The progressive wager is usually linked across multiple poker variations, including three card poker, Mississippi stud, Let It Ride and Ultimate Texas Hold’em.
The progressive wager pays off for five-card hands with a flush or better. If you’re lucky enough to get a royal flush, you’ll win the entire jackpot prize. Other hands pay a percentage of the pot, as follows:
|Four of a Kind||$500|
|Flush||$50 ($75 or $25 at some tables)|
Keep in mind that the chances of winning the entire jackpot amount are one in 649,704. According to some calculations, the progressive side bet meets its break-even point at $201,245. So, when the jackpot total gets higher than that, the wager becomes worthwhile, theoretically.
Let It Ride stands in the middle of the pack of casino card games in terms of the house edge. With the use of optimal strategy, the game has a house edge of 3.51% for standard bets and 2.14% to 7.10% for three-card bonus side bets. This is on par with three card poker, although much more favorable than three card poker’s pair plus side bet.
You’ll have higher odds of winning in Let It Ride than Caribbean stud and American roulette. However, the game trails behind casino classics like baccarat, blackjack and craps — all of which are more player-friendly than Let It Ride.
The optimal strategy in Let It Ride poker revolves around the first two betting circles. The key is to figure out whether the three cards you’re holding are strong enough to warrant a positive outcome, which is any kind of payout.
The first important decision you need to make is when your first three cards have been dealt. At that point, you already know 60% of your possible five-card hand combination, which means that you can make a solid assumption as to whether you should let your first bet ride.
In some instances, the decision is a no-brainer. For example, if you get a pair of queens, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that it would be a good idea to let your first wager ride. This is a hand that guarantees a payout, which can only get better when combined with the dealer’s two community cards.
Most of the time, however, you’ll be dealt hands that don’t deliver a payoff on their own, but maybe hold enough potential for you to risk the first wager.
The optimal Let It Ride poker strategy is that you should let your first wager ride if your first three cards are:
When the dealer reveals the first face-down card, you should let your second wager ride in the following instances:
In terms of gameplay and general rules, there is no difference between playing Let It Ride poker online and live. However, the two versions differ from each other when it comes to the betting limits, side bet availability and payout structure. Also, the overall atmosphere is much more immersive and authentic in live casinos than at online gambling sites, especially considering the fact that Let It Ride is not available in live dealer mode.
Here’s a brief recap that sums up the pros and cons of playing Let It Ride at a regulated online casino.
Even if you’re living in a region that still hasn’t legalized online gambling, there’s a way for you to enjoy Let It Ride. Choose one of the sweepstakes casinos below, and you can play the game for free or for prizes.
All of the above-mentioned casino sites have a fully loaded roster of bonuses and promotions for their customers. As you’re probably aware, these come with a couple of conditions every player must meet. The most significant item from the terms and conditions page are wagering requirements, which show how much money you need to spend on the site before the casino allows you to get your hands on your bonus funds and any winnings from them.
However, the game weighting is not the same for every game. The percentage of bets that will count toward completing the wagering requirements is much higher in slots than it is in table games. Slots usually have a 100% contribution, while table games like Let It Ride may count up to 20%, on average. So, if you want to get rid of the playthrough requirements faster, you probably shouldn’t play Let It Ride poker with your bonus cash.