Let It Ride is a poker-style casino game. It is a variation of 5-card Stud but differs in that players don’t have to beat a dealer’s hand or other players. The goal is merely to compile a winning poker hand, with a minimum of a pair of tens.
The objective of Let It Ride is to compile the highest 5-card poker hand (containing at least a pair of tens) from three dealt cards and two community cards while keeping the maximum bet on the table.
The player opens a round by placing three identical bets on the betting circles. The player is dealt three cards and the dealer places two community cards in the center of the table, face down. Based on the favorability of the three hole cards, the player can withdraw the first bet or “let it ride” and leave it on the table. The dealer then reveals the first community card. Now the player decides whether to withdraw the second bet. The second community card is then revealed and the hand is scored. Note that the third bet stays on the table with no option to withdraw. Also note that withdrawing the second bet is independent of what was done with the first.
Payoff and the True Odds
If the player qualifies with at least a pair of tens, the payoff is determined by the quality of the hand. The skill of the player is in knowing when to stay and when to withdraw based on the cards known.
Let it Ride
Four of a kind
Three of a kind
While the odds are marginally better for the player than in Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride still carries about a three point edge for the casino even with optimal play.
Betting variations include games where players can win a bonus on top of their payout if they opt to place the additional $1 Bonus or Side bet and draw Three-of-a-Kind or better. These are sucker bets and though the specific odds vary from house to house they’re all bad and I say forget the bonus.
Optimal play in Let It Ride is a matter of deciding if you are going to “stay” at the two decision points in the hand. Let’s break down the decisions, keeping in mind that 10-J-Q-K-A are “high” cards and a “skip” is a card missing from a Straight:
Three cards up:
“Let It Ride” on the first bet if you have:
- a paying hand: High-Card Pair or Three-of-a-Kind
- three consecutive, same-suit cards valued 3-4-5 or better
- three of a Straight Flush with one skip and at least one high card (eg. 8-9-J but not 7-8-J)
- three of a Straight Flush with two skips and at least two high cards (eg. 8-J-Q but not 7-9-J)
Four cards up:
“Let It Ride” on the second bet if you have:
- a paying hand: High-Card Pair, Three-of-a-Kind or Two Pair
- four of any Flush
- four of a Straight, no skips
- four high cards