Let It Ride: Strategy and RulesFirst introduced to the public back in 1993, Let It Ride is a casino game based on poker, whereby players wager on a five card poker hand formed from three cards of their own, plus two community cards. In this article, we take a look at the basic rules of Let It Ride, as well as the correct strategy for playing this popular casino game.

Let It Ride – History

Let It Ride was invented by John Breeding of Shuffle Master Inc. – the company that brought us automatic card shufflers – and was introduced to casinos almost 20 years ago, in 1993. The game is usually fairly slow paced, making it more popular with older casino regulars and more relaxed gamblers. This means – especially when considering the fact that all of the players are trying to beat the dealer – the atmosphere at a Let It Ride table can be great fun, as the camaraderie and table banter quickly develops.

Let It Ride – How To Play

The layout of the Let It Ride table is not too dissimilar to that of a blackjack felt. The players will find three circles in front of them, marked “1″, “2″ and either the word “ante”, or a currency symbol, such as “£” or “$”.

To play Let It Ride, the players must place three equal sized bets in the three circles, before being dealt three cards each. The dealer also receives three cards, but will discard one, to leave just two cards face down. Players then look at their hands and choose whether to take back their ante (a third of the total wager), or “Let It Ride” by playing on.

After the first community card is revealed, the playes will be given another option to take back a third of their total wager. You may take back a portion of your total wager even if you chose to let your initial ante ride, but you may not replace any bets that have been removed from the table.

Once the second community card has been revealed, all remaining bets on the Let It Ride felt will be paid out by the dealer at the following rate:

Hand – Payout
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 may be slight variations in this pay table, but it is the most commonly found Let It Ride pay table. Any hand lower than the lowest rank on the pay table (in this case, anything lower than a pair of tens) is a losing hand, which results in the remaining portion of the bet going to the house.

A variation sometimes found at the Let It Ride table allows a side bet, similar to the “Pair Plus” bet found in three card poker, where the player is allowed to wager against the final rank of his or her hand. As a general rule, these types of bets only add to the house edge and should be avoided.

Let It Ride – Strategy

When adopting optimal Let It Ride strategy, the house edge is 3.50%. Here is the correct strategy for Let It Ride:

Bet 1 - Let It Ride if:
You hold a winning hand, that is a pair of tens or better;
You hold a draw to straight flush (or royal flush).

If you have any other type of hand at this stage, you should withdraw the one-third of your bet.

Bet 2 - Let It Ride if:
You hold a winning hand, that is a pair of tens or better;
You hold a draw to straight flush (or royal flush);
You hold a draw to flush;
You hold an open ended draw to straight;
You hold four different cards ranked ten or greater.

Again, if your hand is none of the above, you should take back the one-third of your bet.

Let It Ride – Summary

Hopefully you should now have a good idea of how to play Let It Ride effectively. As the game is much slower than other casino table games such as blackjack, you can expect to be dealt somewhere in the region of 30 to 40 hands per hour. This should serve to protect your bankroll, as fewer hands gives the house edge less time to eat away at your money. By correctly applying optimal Let It Ride strategy, this edge should not be any higher than 3.5%.

Good luck, and enjoy playing Let It Ride!