Are You Ready to Let It Ride? A Guide to Playing This Popular Casino Table Game
The more casino games you play, the more similarities or overlap you can spot between them.
That’s certainly the case here with let it ride. We see elements of Caribbean stud, 3-card poker, and casino hold-em.
Or maybe those games have elements of let it ride?
Who knows? The point is that there are similarities. And chances are that if you like one of those games or think that you would, you’ll probably like let it ride, too.
Our game guide will help you out. Below, we’ll tell you where let it ride comes from, how to play it online and offline – because it’s slightly different – and the proper strategy for beating the house.
Let’s get into it, then.
Let It Ride’s Short History
Let it ride is a poker game slightly based on five-card poker games that use community cards.
It’s owned by Shuffle Master (who’s owned by Bally Technologies). It was invented by Shuffle Master founder John Breeding in 1993.
Let it ride used to be an extremely popular game. But experts say it’s died down some due to the relatively high 3.51% house edge.
It’s still a fun game to play, and it’s slow paced, which is great for older players or table game enthusiasts.
It’s easy to learn, too.
How to Play Let It Ride
Let it ride is played two different ways. Sort of.
There are two core let it ride games: the legit option – which is owned by Bally – and the version that everyone else who can’t get permission for the real game offers.
The difference between the two is in how and when the bets are placed.
In let it ride, all three bets are made at once. You place them on the 1, 2, and $ marker. The $ bet is mandatory. That’s your ante, your table stakes.
Then during each betting round, you’ll have the option to withdraw your bet or “let it ride.” Once the hand’s over, you’ll be paid according to the pay table, based on your hand and what bets you still have on the table.
Let’em ride is the online version. Everything about it is the same, other than how the betting is handled. It’ll make more sense once we walk you through a hand.
Your objective is simple. You want to use the five community cards to make a pair of 10s or better.
The first thing you’ll do is make your ante bet. This is the (only) mandatory bet. You can also make the optional $1 progressive bet.
Once you make the bet, five cards are dealt. Three cards – your cards – are dealt face up.
Offline, your cards are dealt face down. You aren’t allowed to show them to or talk about them with anyone else.
Then two more cards are dealt face down. These are the community cards.
At this point, you’ll have two choices:
You raise. You like your hand, or the potential your hand has. The raise bet has to match your ante bet.
You continue. You think your hand needs improvement. You’re not willing to bet more on it.
Once you decide, one of the two cards is flipped over (face up). Again, you’ll have the following decisions:
You raise. Your bet has to match your ante bet.
You continue. You don’t bet.
Now the last card is flipped over. Here’s what happens based on the strength of your hand:
Pair of 9s or worse – You lose.
Pair of 10s or better – You win and are paid according to the pay table.
Here’s an example (Bovada) payout table:
Royal flush – 1,000:1
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
10s or better – 1:1
And that’s for each bet you make.
For example, if you have a pair of 10s and only one bet left on the table, you’ll receive $20 – $10 for winning and your original bet back. But if you make two bets (your ante plus a bet during one of the betting rounds), you’ll receive $40 – your original $20 back and the $20 you won.
You’ll also be paid if you made the progressive bet. Here’s one example of a progressive payout table:
Royal flush – 100%
Straight flush – 10%
Four of a kind – $500
Full house – $100
Flush – $75
Keep in mind that payout tables will differ from casino to casino.
And that’s all there is to playing let it ride or let’em ride.
Let It Ride Variations
There aren’t nearly as many variations or side bets when compared to other games. Here’s what we managed to dig up, though:
5-Card Bonus Bet – This is a $1 side bet. This pays on the value of the final five-card hand. The house edge varies from 13.77% to 36.52%, depending on where you play it.
3-Card Bonus – This is similar to the five-card bonus, but only on the value of your three cards. It’s also similar to the pairs plus bet in blackjack. This pays out as much as 50:1 for a mini royal down to 1:1 for a pair.
6-Card Bonus – This is found in lots of games from Scientific Games (formally Bally Gaming and Shuffle Master). You’re dealt one additional (6th) dummy card.
Let It Ride Optimal Strategy
The optimal strategy is pretty straightforward. Here’s what experts recommend you do:
Let it ride if you have:
Any paying hand (tens or better).
Any three to a royal flush.
Three suited cards in a row (except 2-3-4 and A-2-3).
Three to a straight flush, spread four, with at least one card of 10 or better.
Three to a straight flush, spread five, with at least two high cards.
With four cards, you should only let it ride when you have:
Any paying hand (tens or better).
Any four cards of the same suit.
Any four to an outside straight with at least one high card.
Any four to an outside straight with no high cards (zero house edge).
Any four to an inside straight with four high cards (zero house edge).
Spread four or five means the cards span four to five ranks. For example, 5,6,8 (four-spread) or 5,7,9 (five-spread).
Though you’re not supposed to, another strategy is to talk about or share your cards with the other players. According to the book Beyond Counting by James Grosjean, if you saw every player card in a seven-player game and made perfect use of the information, you’d lower the house edge from 3.51% to 2.34%.
Playing Let’Em Ride Online
You won’t find let it ride at many casinos online. It’s a trademarked game, and not every casino has the permission to offer it.
What you’ll find instead is a near-identical game called let’em ride. The betting is different, as mentioned earlier in the how-to-play section. Otherwise, it’s the same game.
You might also want to look for these titles:
Let It Ride
Let Them Ride
Keep ‘Em Going
They’re all the same.
The most important thing to note about playing this online, other than the name change, is how casinos treat poker in regard to casino perks and promotions.
Most casinos will prohibit poker or card games from participating in their bonuses or cash-back schemes. Others will make it harder for you to earn them.
For example, slots players may receive a bonus with a 30x playthrough. But let it ride players will never get that.
Instead, let it ride players may get the same (or, more often, a smaller) bonus, which they’ll have to earn by rolling it over 50x, 100x, or even 300x.
It’s a big difference. You’ll want to make sure you’re up for that (wagering tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars for a small $500 to $4,000 deposit bonus or cash back) before you make your first deposit. Otherwise, cashing out may be difficult.
That’s about it. Almost everything else outside of promotions will be the same for let it ride players as it is for blackjack, craps, video poker, and – even in most cases – slots players.
Let it ride’s a fun game where you can take away or “let it ride” based on how strong you think your hand is…and how much better you think it’ll get by the time you see the fifth community card.
The house edge is a bit high, though it still pales in comparison to total games of chance like keno or slots. And with optimal strategy and a bit of luck, you can get the house edge down even further.
It depends on the blackjack game you play. But it will vary from .03% to as high as 2.45%. The ideal blackjack game will have fewer decks, dealer stands on 17, the player can split aces, double on any two cards, can hit split aces, surrender (early), and will receive 3:2 on blackjacks.
In a game like that, you can get the house edge to .25%-.50% on a single-deck game.
Here are how other games’ (lowest) odds compare to let it ride’s 3.51% house edge:
Baccarat – 1.06%
Caribbean Stud Poker – 5.22%
Casino War – 2.88%
Craps – 1.41% or 1.36% (pass/come or don’t pass/come)
Keno – 25%
Pai Gow – 1.50%
Red Dog -2.8%
Roulette – 2.7%
Slots – 2-15%
Video Poker – .46%
Have a question about let it ride that you want answered? Let us know!