let it rip

Let It Ride (card game)

Let It Ride is a casino variation of poker, played against the casino rather than against the other players. The game's relatively slow pace and the chance to pull back two of the three bets has made Let It Ride popular with older players and table game neophytes. At the same time, the game's slow pace has resulted in some casino dealers nicknaming the game Let It Die. (A slow-paced game results in fewer tips for the dealer, hence the derogatory nickname.)

"Let It Ride" was invented by Shuffle Master, who owns the trademark to both the name of the game and the logo.

Basic rules

Let It Ride is a variation of five-card stud where the player wagers on a poker hand consisting of three cards in the player's hand and two community cards in the dealer's hand. Like in video poker, the payout is determined by the ranking of the player's hand and the payout schedule.

Payout schedule
Hand Payout
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 10's or better 1 to 1

Please note that this is the standard payout schedule used at most casinos. Other payout schedules exist at the option of individual casinos, and appropriate strategy changes with different payout schedules.

How to Play


Each player places three equal bets in three spaces labeled (1),(2) and ($).

Optional side bets

Most casinos offer a bonus $1 bet. This bet is keyed to the final result of combining the player's three cards and the dealer's two cards. A winning pair is usually a push (you get your money back). To actually win money on this bet, you will need at least two pairs or better.

Most casinos offer a side $5 bet. This bet is keyed to the player's three cards. It's like a three card poker game. It generally pays even money for a pair. And, higher amounts for a trips (three of a kind), three card straight, three card flush, three card straight flush, and a three card royal flush of Ace King Queen.

One interesting aspect is that players who have a winner in the three card side bet are more likely to "let it ride" in the regular game. This is due to the perception that they have "nothing to lose". (An attitude fostered by many of the dealers.) It's left to some other reader to work out the math and post the results. One would logically expect that the casino's advantage is huge in these two optional bets.

ORIGINAL TEXT on Optional Side Bets:

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Some casinos offer an optional $1 side bet. This side bet offers an additional payout if the player's first three cards contains a winning hand. The house edge on this bet is generally over 13%, making it one of the worst bets for a player in a casino. A more common $1 side bet is against a fixed payout scheduling typically starting with two pair (typically a $4 payout, but really only 3:1 since the original dollar is collected before the hand is dealt) or three of a kind (typically a $8 payout).

  • end quote ***

The deal

Each player receives three face down cards. The dealer receives two cards face down.

The play

Let It Ride compares the player's poker hand with a payout chart, rather than comparing it with the other players' hands or the dealer's hand. The player's hand consists of the player's three cards and the dealer's two cards.

Each player is required to keep the three cards in full view of the dealer at all times.

Winners are paid according to the payout schedule (pair of 10's or better, two pair, etc.).

After looking at his three cards, each player has the option of pulling back the first bet or leaving the wager there. To leave the bet live is to "let it ride".

The dealer then exposes one community card. The players then each have the option of pulling back the second bet or letting it ride.(they can't add their first bet back on if they get a better hand, however.) After each player decides whether to pull back the second bet, the cards are placed face down on the designated area of the layout and may not be touched again.

The dealer then turns up the second community card and in a counterclockwise direction, turns the three cards of each player face up.

All losing wagers are then collected, and then all winning hands are paid by the dealer according to the payout schedule.

Regardless of the decision made concerning the first or second bets, a player may not take back the third bet.

Players are not allowed to show their hands to the other players, as this gives them an advantage by increasing their chances of knowing what cards the dealer is likely to turn up. In many casinos this is often not enforced at all or very sparingly. At a full table, it is sometimes difficult not to see the cards of a player on either side of you.

Strategy and house edge

Like blackjack and video poker, player decisions in this game affect the house edge. The strategy outlined below assumes the standard payout structure shown above. With correct strategy, the casino's edge in Let It Ride is about 3.5%.

When deciding whether to let bet (1) ride, you should pull your bet back unless you have one of the following:

  • Any paying hand. (A pair of tens or better.)
  • Any three cards to a royal flush.
  • Any three suited connectors where the lowest card is three or above.
  • Three to a straight flush, spread four, with at least one card that's ten or higher.
  • Three to a straight flush, spread five, with at least two cards ten or higher.

When deciding whether to let bet (2) ride, you should pull your bet back unless you have one of the following:

  • Any paying hand. (A pair of tens or better.)
  • Any four to a flush.
  • Any four to an outside straight.
  • Any four to an inside straight, if the four cards are ten or higher.

An outside straight is a draw to a straight that can be completed by two different cards, like 4-5-6-7. Any 3 and any 8 will complete the straight. There are eight cards in the deck that will complete an outside straight draw.

An inside straight is a draw to a straight that can only be completed by one specific card, like 4-5-6-8. Any 7 will complete the straight. There are only four cards in the deck that will complete an inside straight draw.

External links

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