Let It Ride poker is a lot like Caribbean Stud Poker. It’s a new casino game inspired by traditional poker, but you don’t play against the other players. Let It Ride poker was invented by ShuffleMaster, a company that manufactures automatic shuffling machines for casinos.
Like blackjack or Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride is played at a semi-circular table with a dealer on one side and up to seven players on the other side.
Unlike Caribbean Stud Poker, Let It Ride doesn’t require you to beat the dealer, either. It’s similar to video poker in that respect. Let It Ride poker players are just hoping to create a winning combination of cards which then pays out based on the strength of the hand.
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How to Play Let It Ride Poker
The dealer uses a standard deck of 52 cards and an automatic shuffling machine.
The player has three betting circles:
The player places a bet in each of the three circles, and this bet must be the same for each of the three circles. Most casinos have a minimum of $5 or $10. If you bet $10 in the $ circle, you also must bet $10 in the 2 circle and in the 3 circle.
After the bets are posted, the dealer gives each player three face down cards. The dealer also deals two cards face down in the center of the table–these are the community card which will be shared by all the players at the table.
The players get to look at their cards and decide, based on the strength of those three cards and the payouts for the standard poker hands, whether or not to pull back one of their bets. (The one in the “1” circle.)
To pull back the bet, you scrape your cards lightly on the table, and the dealer returns that bet to you.
If you want to “let it ride,” you place your three cards underneath the bet in circle “1.”
Then the dealer exposes one of the two community cards.
Now the players get to make the same decision they made with the bet in circle “1.” They can pull back the bet, or let the bet ride.
One point of confusion for some players new to the game is whether or not they can pull back the bet in spot #2 if they let their bet in spot #1 ride.
The two decisions are completely independent of each other. If you pulled back your bet on #1, you can still pull back your bet on #2.
If you “let it ride” on bet #1, you can also still pull your bet back on #2.
And of course, whether you let it ride on bet #1, you can always choose to let your bet ride on #2.
After this decision has been made by each of the players, the final community card is revealed, and winners are paid off.
You do NOT get to decide whether or not to pull back the bet on the $ spot. You’re always stuck with that one.
To win anything at Let It Ride poker, you need at least a pair of 10’s or better. The payout structure looks like this:
|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 pairs||2 to 1|
|Pair of 10’s or better||1 to 1|
The player receives this payout for EACH of the bets she still has on the table. So if you’re dealt a royal flush, and you have $10 on each of the three betting spots, you’d receive $30,000 in winnings.
If you removed either or both of the bets from betting spot 1 or 2, you receive NO payout for the removed bet.
Let It Ride Poker House Edge
The house edge for Let It Ride poker, if you play with correct strategy, is about 3.5%.
Let It Ride Poker Strategy
Correct Strategy for the First Bet
The correct strategy for whether or not to let the first bet ride is as follows:
- If you have a winning hand in your three cards, you should let it ride.
- If you have three cards to a straight flush that are higher than 2-3-4, you should let it ride.
- If you have three cards to a straight flush with a gap, and one of the cards is 10 or higher, you should let it ride.
- If you have three cards to a straight flush with two gaps, and two of the cards are 10 or higher, you should let it ride.
- Otherwise, pull back your bet.
One point of clarification is that a gap means that a card is missing from a sequence. For example, a 6-8-10 has two gaps–the 7 and the 9. On the other hand, a 6-7-8 has no gaps.
This strategy probably seems conservative. That’s because the correct strategy for Let It Ride poker IS conservative. Most of the time, you’ll be pulling that first bet back.
Correct Strategy for the Second Bet
The correct strategy for whether or not to let the second bet ride is as follows:
- If you have any kind of winning hand, let it ride.
- If you have four cards to a straight flush, let it ride.
- If you have four cards to a flush, let it ride.
- If you have four cards to an outside straight, and at least one of those cards is a 10 or higher, let it ride.
- Otherwise, pull back your bet.
Another clarification for people who aren’t familiar with the concept of an inside straight as compared to an outside straight. Drawing to an outside straight means that you have two possible cards that can complete your straight.
For example, if you’re holding 3-4-5-6, two cards could complete your straight–a 2 or a 7. That’s an outside straight draw, and you’re twice as likely to hit your straight with an outside straight draw.
On the other hand, if you’re holding 3-4-6-7, only one card could complete your straight–the 5. That’s an inside straight draw, and you’re half as likely to hit your straight with an inside straight draw.
Let It Ride versus Other Casino Games
Let It Ride poker can be an entertaining way to switch from slot machines to a table game. There’s no competition between the players at the table, and the house edge is better than roulette or Caribbean Stud. On the other hand, if you’re willing to learn basic strategy, you can get a much better house edge playing blackjack.
“Let It Ride Poker” is a trademark owned by the ShuffleMaster corporation, so you’ll sometimes see very similar games called “Let ’em Ride Poker” or “Let Them Ride Poker” available at Internet casinos. You’re not allowed to copyright the rules for a game, but you can copyright what the game is called, so Internet casinos get around the trademark issues by using a similar, but different, name for their version of the game.