Let It Ride is a poker-type game inspired by Five-Card Stud. It was first introduced to casinos in 1993 by Shuffle Master, the automatic-shuffling machine manufacturer. Let It Ride offers the potential for high pay outs, and because it is played against the House rather than other players, a great deal of camaraderie is often experienced at the table. At casinos online, a single player version is also widely available.
The Let It Ride table resembles those used for Blackjack or Three-Card Poker. Three circles appear on the layout in front of each player, marked with the symbols 1, 2 and $. To begin the game, the players make three equal wagers, one in each circle. Cards are then dealt out face down, three at a time to each player and a set of “community cards” in front of the Dealer.
Once the cards have been dealt, the Dealer will discard one of the community cards sight unseen, leaving two cards face down. Players are then allowed to look at and evaluate their own three-card hands. One by one, the players are given the option to remove their wagers from circle number 1. Hand signals are commonly used: a brushing motion with one hand to remove the bet or scraping one’s cards on the table to “Let It Ride.”
Once all of the players have indicated their choices, the Dealer turns up the first of the two community cards, which will be used as the forth card for each of the players’ hands. Again, players are given the option to remove a wager, this time from the number 2 position, or to Let It Ride. The second bet may be removed, even if the bet on the number 1 spot was left in place. However, once a bet is removed or left up, it cannot be changed.
Now the Dealer turns over the second and last community card to complete each player’s five-card poker hand. All hands containing less than a Pair lose and any remaining wagers on them are immediately collected by the Dealer. Hands containing a Pair or higher are winners, with payouts made according to House’s posted pay table.
Typically, even money is paid for any pair. Two Pair earns 2-to-1, Three of a Kind pays 3-to-1 and a Straight is worth 5-to-1 or sometimes 8-to-1. A Flush will pay anywhere from 8-to-1 to 10-to-1. House Rules vary even more greatly for higher hands. Typically, a Full House is worth 11-to-1, but sometimes as much as 15-to-1. Four of a Kind is worth from 25-to-1 up to 50-to-1. A Straight Flush will return 50-to-1 to 100-to-1, and a Royal Flush brings in 200-to-1, 500-to-1 or even 1,000-to-1.
Most tables have an established maximum payout, such as a maximum aggregate payout of £75,000 per round. In such cases, players should not wager more than the top payout divided by 3X the highest odds. Betting more only increases the House Edge because the payout would be at less than full odds on a Royal Flush.
Many versions of Let It Ride pay bonuses, too. The Three-Card Bonus is paid on the value of the Player’s three cards alone, ranging from even money for a pair to 50-to-1 for a “Mini Royal,” i.e., A-K-Q of the same suit. The bonus table should be clearly posted if this is available.
Also, an optional side bet is often offered. For an additional one-unit wager, players who are dealt five-card hands valued at Two Pair or higher receive extra payouts of from 3-to-1 up to 2,000-to-1. The House Edge on such a bet varies from 15% to 30%, compared to just 3.5% for the basic game. As is true of most optional wagers, it is a poor bet.