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Rules & Strategy

Let It Ride

Similar in nature (if not in practice) to Caribbean Stud, Let it Ride is another popular poker variant found in one form or another in most of the major land-based and online casinos. Again, it is exceedingly simple in theory, with only a few actions taken during each round of play. The rules are as follows:

• Play begins after each participant places three bets of equal size in the three wager circles typically marked 1, 2 and $.
• Each player is then dealt three cards face down. Two additional “community cards” are dealt face down in front of the dealer.
• Players next examine their cards and decide whether or not to let the bet #1 remain or remove it from risk.
• The dealer then reveals one of the two community cards.
• Again, each player may then let the remaining two bets ride, or remove bet #2. This action is regardless of the initial decision.
• Finally, the second community card is exposed and all players are paid according to the table’s payout schedule.

Let it Ride Standard Payout Schedule
Hand / Payout
Royal Flush / 1000-1
Straight Flush / 200-1
Four of a Kind / 50-1
Full House / 11-1
Flush / 8-1
Straight / 5-1
Three of a Kind / 3-1
Two Pair / 2-1
Pair of 10s or better / 1-1

Variations on a Theme

As with Caribbean Stud, there have been few changes to the general play structure for the online casino version of Let it Ride. The biggest changes include altered pay structures and, in some cases, the addition of a progressive jackpot feature. Alternative names are also common for online versions of Let it Ride and include Free Ride, Let ‘em Ride, and Let Them Ride.

Alternate payout structures found online include:

Let it Ride: Alternative Pay Structures
Hand / Table 1 / Table 2 / Table 3 / Table 4
Royal Flush / 500-1 / 500-1 / 250-1 / 200-1
Straight Flush / 200-1 / 100-1 / 50-1 / 100-1
Four of a Kind / 50-1 / 25-1 / 25-1 / 40-1
Full House / 11-1 / 15-1 / 12-1 / 15-1
Flush / 8-1 / 10-1 / 10-1 / 9-1
Straight / 5-1 / 5-1 / 8-1 / 5-1
Three of a Kind / 3-1 / 3-1 / 3-1 / 3-1
Two Pair / 2-1 / 2-1 / 2-1 / 2-1
Pair of 10s or better / 1-1 / 1-1 / 1-1 / 1-1

Some casinos also offer as part of the wagering options in Let it Ride a $1 progressive side bet similar to that of Caribbean Stud poker. The typical payout structure for that is:

Let it Ride: $1 Progressive Wager
Hand Payout

Royal Flush / 100%
Straight Flush / 10%
Four of a Kind / $500
Full House / $100
Flush / $50

Winning at Let it Ride

The strategy associated with Let it Ride centers around the first four cards, and the first two betting circles. It is here that the player must decide whether or not the cards are strong enough to warrant the aggressive play to “let it ride.”

The first decision comes after you have received the cards and can see their potential value. Since we know three fifths, or 60% of the possible hand, we can make some pretty good assumptions about the likely outcome for that hand. With these assumptions, we make the decisions concerning our bets.

Sometimes the decision is an easy one. For example, if dealt three kings, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that it’s probably a good idea to “let it ride.” This is a winning hand, and has a guaranteed payout worth at least three times each bet, and with some luck, that hand may even improve to a full house, or better. On the other side of the coin, we may be dealt such a poor hand that it would be best to take back as many bets as possible, and wait for better cards.

Other times, we’re given hands that have yet to guarantee success, but hold enough potential to justify continued wagering—such as three cards to a royal flush. Here is the basic three-card strategy for Let it Ride.

Let it Ride: Three Card Strategy
First Three Cards Let it Ride Remove Bet

Pair of 10’s higher / Yes No
Three of a Kind / Yes No
3 card Straight Flush / Yes No
3 card Royal Flush / Yes No
Flush/Straight with two 10 value cards / Yes No
J,9,8/10,9,7/10,8,7 (suited) / Yes No
K,Q,J/Q,J,10 / Yes No
Pairs 2-9 / No Yes
9,10,J / No Yes
A,K,Q / No Yes
All Others / No Yes

From three-card strategy, we move on to the next stage of the game and another round of decision making: four-card strategy.

Just as with three-card strategy, four-card strategy is based on the potential for completing a winning hand. We play only those hands where 1). We have already made a winning hand or, 2). We have a positive expectation for completing a winning hand. In any other situation the remaining questionable bet is removed. The rules for playable four-card hands are:

• Four of a Kind. Since this hand is a guaranteed winner, paying out at an optimal 50-1, there is no question that for this hand you should let your bets ride.
• Three of a Kind. Not only is this an excellent hand to be sitting with because of a guaranteed a payout of 3-1 for each of your bets, it also has room to become an even better hand, such as four of a kind, or a full house.
• Two Pair. Since this hand is also a definite winner (paying out at 2-1) it should be played.
• Pair of 10’s or Higher. This is one of the more common winning hands that you will see, occurring about 20% of the time. Let the bet ride.
• Four Cards to a Royal Flush. While not be a guaranteed winner, there are so many possibilities that it is best to let the bet ride in this case. Potential completed hands include a royal flush, straight flush, flush, straight or high pair.
• Four Cards to a Straight Flush. While this hand may not have the same extended possibilities as four to a royal flush, it still can yield some excellent results including a straight flush, flush, straight, and high pair, depending on the value of the cards.
• Four to a Flush. Since you’ve already beaten the 23-1 odds on filling a flush with three cards, and reduced the odds to about 4½ -1 for a hand that will pay 8-1, you’ve got the makings of a good statistical edge. This hand may also be assisted with any high cards that could result in a winning pair.
• Four Cards to an Open Ended Straight. This hand also has possibilities and should be played, though without any high cards there will be no winning pairs possible, eventually balance out mathematically in the long run. The odds for drawing the fifth card to an open-ended straight are 5-1, the exact odds that this hand pays out. Neither you, nor the casino has the edge for this hand.
• Four Cards to a High Straight. This is the most marginal of all the playable hands. The odds for drawing to an inside straight are 11-1 against you, but that value is buffered by the amount of high cards that comprise the hand, which could yield a winning pair.

These rules comprise the basic strategy for Let it Ride. Any hands that do not meet these guidelines should never be played, no matter how tempting or “attractive” they look; nor should you play them because of a “hunch.” To do so will send the house edge soaring.

Let It Ride.

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