ShuffleMaster, Inc., introduced Let It Ride in 1993. ShuffleMaster, Inc., makes the automatic shuffle machines used by dealers while they deal from a second deck. The machines help keep the game moving swiftly and, even more importantly, honest. Some players like them while others don’t for those reasons. Taking into account the product they provide casinos, Let It Ride was probably developed by ShuffleMaster to promote more single-deck, fast-action games.
Three cards are dealt to each player, and two are dealt as community cards. Each player uses the community cards to complete their hand. You want to try and make a pair of 10s or better using your three cards plus the two community cards on the table. The hierarchy for poker hands in Let It Ride is listed in the table below.
Let It Ride allows you to win with a pair of 10s, while video poker usually requires Jacks or better. As the table shows, the hierarchy for Let It Ride isn’t much different from the one for other poker games, except for the provision that you need a pair of 10s or higher to win. You decide, based on your hand, whether to let your bet ride.
|Poker Hands Hierarchy for Let It Ride|
|Royal Flush||A, K, Q, J, 10 in same suit|
|Straight Flush||Five cards in any sequence, all of the same suit|
|Four of a Kind||Four cards of the same rank|
|Full House||Three cards of one rank, and a pair of another rank|
|Flush||Five cards of the same suit in any order|
|Straight||Any five cards in order|
|Three of a Kind||Three cards of the same rank, plus two more cards|
|Two Pair||Two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, plus one more card|
|One Pair||Two cards of the same rank and three more cards|
|10s or Better||A pair of 10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings or Aces|
Playing Let It Ride
Let It Ride offers up more camaraderie than blackjack or poker, because you’re not betting against the dealer or other players. You have the chance to win based on the merits of the cards dealt to you.
Each player places equal bets in each of the three circles in front of them at the start of the game. Only then are the cards dealt. The table may require a $5 minimum bet, which means you’re initially betting $15 in total, but you’ll see as you move along that you’ll have the chance to reduce the amount per hand.
The ShuffleMaster machine slides cards three at a time into the dealing tray once the shuffle is complete. These first three cards go face down in front of the betting circles for the first player. The next three go in front of the second player, and so on, until all players have a stack of the three cards before them, with the final stack being placed face down in front of the dealer. One of the dealer’s cards is placed in the discard tray. The remaining two cards will be the community cards.
Once all 52 cards in the deck have been accounted for, the dealer, in turn, moves each player’s stack of cards next to their betting circles. This is the all-clear signal, and you may now pick up your cards. Once you’ve checked your cards, you have the option of pulling back one of your bets. Each player is asked by the dealer whether they would like to take back their first bet or let it ride. When it’s your turn, and the dealer asks which option you’d like, here’s what you should do:
- If you decide to take back your first bet, scratch the table with your cards, in a motion towards your body. The dealer will then push the bet toward you and out of the first betting circle, indicating it is no longer in play. Never reach for the bet yourself! Casinos absolutely do not like players reaching for bets after cards have been dealt.
- If you’d rather let your bet ride, place your cards face down on table, either sliding them under your first bet or laying them in front of your betting circles.
Once each player has made his or her decision, the dealer will flip over the first community card. Now that you know four out of the five cards for your hand, you’re given the option to take back your second bet, or let it ride. Even if you let your first bet ride, you may still take back your second bet. Let the dealer know your decision in the same manner listed above. Once done, place your three cards face down under your third bet, because you can no longer take back any bets.
After every player has made their respective decisions, the dealer turns up the last community card and then turns over each player’s cards in turn. Winnings for each hand are listed in the following table.
|Payout Schedule for Let It Ride|
|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 10s or Better||1 to 1|
All bets still riding in the betting circles are paid out by the dealer. For example, if you have a full house with two bets riding on it, you’ll receive a payoff of 11 to 1 on both of them. This means a $10 riding on each of two betting circles would give you $220 in winnings, and you get to keep your original bet!
Small fortunes can be made quickly in Let It Ride if luck is on your side. Many casinos impose a $25,000 limit on Let It Ride tables to limit their losses, though. So instead of letting a $15 bet ride in all three betting circles and winning $45,000 on a royal flush, you’ll only be paid $25,000. Not too likely, anyway, since the odds of getting a royal flush are 1 in 649,740. Never to be afraid to ask about the table limits before you start betting!
Your best bet to make sure you get all that’s coming to you in light of the table limit is to take the game’s max payout and divide it by 3 (your number of bets). If the game max is $25,000, then make your three bets no more than $8 each. That way, you can be sure you’ll get the biggest payout available without betting too much.
Some players think they’ll get the maximum payout if they only take back their first bet. This isn’t true! If your hand doesn’t look much better after the fourth card, take back that second bet no matter what you did with the first bet. Your first and third bets will still be in play.
Any bets riding on a hand that turns out to be a loser are collected by the dealer and become the property of the casino.
Riding Your Way to the Top
The strategy arises in this game, as the name suggests, in knowing when to let your bets ride. The game starts with three bets, one in each of the betting circles. As the game progresses, you have two decisions to make:
- Once you look at your three cards, you must choose whether or not to let your first bet ride.
- After the fourth card is turned up, you must choose whether or not to let the second bet ride.
We’ve covered the small fortunes that you can make playing Let It Ride, but the really good hands don’t come around very often. In addition, Let It Ride doesn’t have room for bluffing. But there is a basic strategy for deciding to let your bets ride:
Here’s when to let your bets ride in Let It Ride
|Three Known Cards
(1st Bet Choice)
|Four Cards Known
(2nd Bet Choice)
|A paying hand (10s or better)||A paying hand (10s or better)|
|Three consecutive cards of the same suit (a possible open-ended straight) of 3-4-5 or higher (Don’t let the first bet ride with A-2-3 or 2-3-4 in the same suit – those runs are too low)||A possible flush|
|Three almost consecutive cards of the same suit with one hole and at least one high card (such as 7-8-10 in suit) smaller than 7-8-9-10 or J-Q-K-A.||Four consecutive cards headed by 10, J, Q or K. Don’tlet the second bet ride with a four-card straight unless you also have a possible flush. A, K, Q, J and 10 all of the same suit.|
|Three almost consecutive cards of the same suit with two holes and at least two high cards (example: 7-10-J).|
The Bonus Buck
Once upon a time, you could wager a “bonus” buck when playing Let It Ride, and if your hand happened to win one of the top 100 hands that played in the last tournament, the Let It Ride people would sponsor your participation in the very next tournament. It was definitely attractive because the grand prize from a Let It Ride tournament would turn you into an instant millionaire.
That’s no longer the case, unfortunately; the Let It Ride people no longer sponsor the tournaments. That doesn’t mean it’s a lost dollar if you wager it, though! To compensate for the loss of tournament sponsorship, the bonus payouts have been increased. This is a new game called Let It Ride Bonus.
It only takes an additional $1 bet to play Let It Ride Bonus. Simply place the bet in the red betting circle, located in front of you. That extra dollar can win you even more money on winning hands! Two pairs or better payout bonuses now, instead of requiring a straight or better like they used to. A typical bonus payout table will look something like this (though bonuses do vary from casino to casino):
|Let It Ride Bonus Payout Schedule|
|Four of a Kind||$100|
|Three of a Kind||$9|
Is Let It Ride Worth Playing?
The house edge on Let It Ride is approximately 3.5 percent of a single bet, which amounts to 35 cents even if you have three bets of $10 riding on the hand. On average, a bonus payout will give you back 45 cents for every dollar you wager. Never a smart bet to begin with, it’s even worse now that the potential for winning a million-dollar tournament prize is gone.
Still, some folks think that Let It Ride is a game you might play for the chance at a big score for a small investment. If you’re at the casino just to have fun, you follow a gambler’s No. 1 Rule (never bet more than you can afford to lose), then you might want to check it out.