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Home arrow Types Of Poker Games arrow Let It Ride Poker
Let It Ride Poker

Let it Ride was developed by Shuffle Master Inc., the company that makes the automatic shuffling machines that you see at blackjack, Caribbean Stud, and Let it Ride tables. Like Caribbean Stud Poker, Let it Ride is an easy games to play and features a large jackpot. The difference is that players do not compete against the dealer as they do in Caribbean Stud Poker, and that you have the opportunity to take hack up to two-thirds of your bet.

The rules are simple and easy to learn. Each player is dealt three cards. There are also two "community" cards which are common to all players. The five cards make up each player's poker hand. The objective is to end up with at least a pair of tens or higher. If you do you will win, and the payoff depends upon the ranking of the hand. The higher the rank the greater the payoff-up to one thousand to one for the royal flush-as is illustrated by the following chart


Hand

Payoff

 

 

Pair of tens or higher

: 1 to 1

Two pair

: 2 to 1

Three of a kind

: 3 to 1

Straight

: 5 to 1

Flush

: 8 to 1

Full house

: 11 to 1

Four of a kind

: 50 to 1

Straight flush

: 200 to 1

Royal flush

: 1000 to 1

The game is played on a blackjack-size table with room for up to seven players. At the start of each game, each player must make three bets in three different betting circles or spots located in front of him on the layout. These circles are marked "1," "2," and "$." The fact that you must wager at least three times the table minimum on each hand is in itself unique compared to other table games. For example, if the table minimum is $5 you start each hand with three $5 bets, or $15. You place one red chip ($5) on the number one spot, another red chip on the number two spot, and a third red chip on the dollar sign spot. Even though you have wagered $15, you will see that you have the opportunity to remove, or "take down," up to two of the three initial bets (up to $10).

An automatic shuffling machine is used to shuffle and deal three cards at a time. After each player has made his initial mandatory three bets, the dealer will give three cards facedown to each player and to himself One of the dealer's cards is "burned," or removed from play > leaving him with two cards. These become the community cards used by all players to complete their five-card poker hand (initial three cards plus the two community cards). There are no draw cards in Let it Ride.

Each player examines his initial three cards and based on the strength of the hand or potential to end up with at least a pair of tens or higher, he or she must decide to let the bet in the number one spot ride, or to take it down.

If you want to let it ride, you tuck your cards under the chips in the number one betting spot-like standing in blackjack games where cards are dealt facedown. If instead you want to take down the first bet because your initial three cards aren't particularly good ones, you scratch the cards on the table-like asking for a hit in blackjack. The dealer would then push your chip(s) in the #1 betting spot toward you, and they may be removed from the layout.

After players complete their decision on the first bet, the dealer will expose one of the community cards. This becomes the fourth card for each player. Each player then must decide, based upon the strength of the four-card hand, whether to let the #2 bet ride or to take it down, following the same procedure explained for the #1 betting spot.


To recap, you have two independent decisions to make in Let it Ride. After inspecting your initial three cards you must decide to let your # 1 bet ride or to take it down. After seeing the fourth community card you must make the same decision for the #2 bet. You can let the #.1 bet ride and take down the #2 bet, or vice versa. Or you can let both bets ride or take them down. You are not permitted on your second decision to change your #1 bet. If it was pulled down it stays down, and if you let it ride it must continue to ride. You have no decision to make on the dollar sign bet. This bet always rides, allowing the casino at least one opportunity to win your money!

After all players have made their decisions on the #2 bet, the dealer will then expose the second community card and then inspect each player's five-card hands (consisting of the initial three cards and the two community cards). If the five-card poker hand doesn't contain at least a pair of tens or higher, you lose the bet in the dollar sign spot plus any bets that you let ride in the #1 or #2 spots. In the event that you hold a pair of tens or higher, you win the amount listed in the payoff schedule depending on the rank of the poker hand. The $ spot plus any bet that you let ride will receive the listed payoff. For example, if you bet $5 on each spot and let the #1 and #2 bets ride, and you end up with a five-card straight, each of your $5 bets would be paid $40 (eight to one payoff). That's a total win of $120 for the initial $15 bet. If you get real lucky and are dealt a royal flush with all bets riding, you win $15,000 for your initial $15 investment!

A basic strategy for Let it Ride has been developed by Lenny Frome (Expert Strategy for Let It Ride) and Stanley Ko (Mastering the games of Let It Ride). These website also contain a detailed mathematical analysis of the games, and are highly recommended.

To get you started, here is a simple basic playing strategy:

Let the first bet ride if your three card hand contains: Three of a kind
A pair of tens, jacks, Queens, Kings, or Aces
Any three cards to a royal or straight flush

Let the second bet ride if your four card hand contains: A payoff (tens or better)
A four-card flush
An outside four-card straight
A four-card straight and royal flush

The casino's edge in Let it Ride with the player using this basic strategy is about 2.8 percent per dollar wagered. This makes it better than Caribbean Stud poker and most craps and roulette bets, but not as good as baccarat, blackjack with basic strategy, or the better craps bets.

Every three months or so, Shuffle Master Inc. holds a Let it Ride tournament in different gaming areas in the United States. In past tournaments the grand prize winner was awarded from $500,000 up to $3,000,000, depending upon the number of eligible participants. To be eligible for the tournament you must bet another $1 chip in the red betting circle in front of you (in addition to your normal bets) and end up with one of the highest ranked poker hands during the qualifying period. In past tournaments one hundred players with royal and sometimes straight flushes were invited to participate in the tournament. Keep in mind that there are many casinos in each specific region that are involved in the tournament qualifying period, so there are lots of folks that you have to beat to make it to the tournament. Usually you will need a royal flush to qualify.


Individuals who qualified in past Let It Ride tournaments automatically received a $2,000 to $3,000 bonus to help cover travel expenses. There are four rounds in the tournament playoffs. Each participant receives the same amount of nonnegotiable chips to use in each round. The fifty players with the most chips after the first round win another bonus payoff (in the past, $1,000 to $3,000) and advance to the second round. The twenty-five players with the most chips after round two win another bonus payoff and advance to round three. The six players with the most chips then advance to the finals with prizes ranging from $15,000 to $25,000 (sixth place finish) up to $500,000 to $3,000,000 (first place finish). The prize structure for future tournaments could change depending upon the number of players who try to qualify. For up-to-the-minute details on future Let it Ride tournaments and their prize structure, call the tournament hot line at 1-800-733-4966.

When you make the extra tournament $1 wager, you will not only be eligible for the tournament but could also win an extra bonus payoff if you are dealt one of the following hands:


Tournament Play Bonus Payout

 

 

Hand

Payoff

 

 

Royal flush

: $20,000

Straight flush

: $2,000

Four of a kind

: $200

Full house

: $100

Flush

: $50

Straight

: $25

These bonus payoffs are in addition to the regular payoff schedule. Just remember that if you don't make the extra $1 tournament bet, you will not be eligible for the above bonus payoffs.

Is it worth making the extra tournament bet? Stanley Ko, in his Site Mastering the games of Let It Ride, presents a mathematical analysis to determine this answer, and concludes that it is a profitable bet if you win the first prize. For more details, consult his Site.

Mathematically, about 75 percent of the hands dealt to you in Let it Ride will result in no-win-a surprise to many poker players who assume that tens or better aren't that hard to catch. It is not uncommon to be dealt many hands in a row and not win anything. This means that your playing bankroll will be diminishing until you get lucky and are dealt one of the payoff hands. When this occurs, you better be ready to take your profits and run!


Rank of Poker Hands

(Highest to Lowest)

 

 

 

Royal flush

: A, K, Q, J, 10 in the same suit

Straight flush

: Five consecutive cards in the same suit

Four of a kind

: Four cards of same rank

Full house

: Three of a kind and two of a kind

Straight

: Five consecutive cards not of same suit

Three of a kind

: Three cards of same rank

Two pair

: Two separate pairs of cards

One pair

: One pair of identically ranked cards

No pair

: A hand with five odd cards

In this games, you are playing for the best poker hand possible (the dealer is not involved), and the house edge is a little less than 3 percent. Your five-card poker hand consists of three cards dealt to you and two "common" cards that all the players use to make up their five-card hands. When you play the games, notice the three betting squares on the layout labeled "l," "2," and "$" because they figure prominently in the rules of play described here.

Step 1. To start, the players place three bets, one in each of the three betting squares. You will learn shortly that you will have the option of removing two of these three bets depending on the strength of your hand and the risk you wish to take.

Step 2. The dealer deals three cards face down to each of the players and two "common" cards, also face down. The players look at their three cards without showing them to the other players.

Step 3. The players no"- decide to take back their number "1" bet or "let it ride." To let a bet ride, the player tucks his three cards under his wager or lays the hand down behind the number "1" bet.

If the player wishes to take the bet back, he scratches the felt as signal to the dealer to return the bet. Do not reach for it yourself.

Step 4. After all the players have decided on their number "1" bets, the dealer turns over the first of the two common cards. With this additional information, the players now decide whether to take back their number "2" bets or let that bet ride in the same way as the number "1" bet. At this point in the games, it is possible that you may only have one bet at risk, the "$" bet, but that bet may not be taken back. Or, if you've let one or both "1" and "2" bets ride, you have one or two bets at risk going into the next step.

Step 5. The dealer turns over the second common card and the players' five-card hands are now complete-their three cards and the two common cards. Your hand is paid off according to the typical payoff schedule shown in Table 6. Note that if your hand is less than a pair of 10s, you lose. Also note that if you let one or both of your "1" and "2" bets ride, you could be collecting on or losing one, two, or three bets.


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

Bet Size. A side from your bet size for the "l," "2," and "$" bet boxes, the two decisions you make in this games are whether to let the "1" and "2" bets ride. On the "1" bet, I recommend letting it ride only if your three cards contain a pair of tens or better (higher pair or three-of-a-kind) or if your three cards are of the same suit (the possibility of a flush) or are in sequence; for example, 6, 7, 8 (the possibility of a straight). Otherwise, take the "1" bet back. On your "2" bet, clearly you will let it ride if you opted to let the "1" bet ride with a pair of tens or better. With a three-card flush or three-card straight, let your "2" bet ride if that first common card improves your hand to a pair of 10s or better or to a four-card flush or four-card straight. Otherwise fold your hand and take back the "2" bet.



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