Let It Ride poker – How to play
Let It Ride is a variation of a standard five-card poker game. While it is an easy game to learn, its deceptive simplicity has cost players millions of dollars since its inception in 1993, in large part due to the failure of most players to familiarise themselves with the game’s basic playing strategy. But before we get into strategic considerations, we’ll review the basic components of Let it Ride, including general play, payout schedules and hand ranking.
For most people, the draw of Let It Ride seems to be based on their familiarity with poker and the relative ease by which it is played. If you are familiar with this game, you will agree that with no real opponent and no way for your actions to affect the outcome for other participants, it is one of the least-threatening casino table games.
The table used is similar to that of blackjack, nothing more than an oval with betting areas to accommodate up to seven players. Directly in front of each player is an area with three separate circles which are individually marked in their centres with a 1, 2 and $ symbol.
The game utilises a standard 52-card deck, which is shuffled automatically before the dealing of the cards. Players are initially dealt three cards, which combine with the dealer’s two community cards. These “community” cards are used by every player at the table to make a standard five-card poker hand.
Play begins after each participant places at least the table minimum wager in each of the three betting circles. Most casinos have the minimum set for this game at $5, so the total bet on any single hand will be $15. Even though $15 is bet to begin the game, only a third of the total amount is truly at risk. Players are given the option as the game proceeds to remove up to two of those three bets.
In addition to the standard three betting circles, many casinos offer a $1 bonus game, similar to that of Caribbean Stud Poker. It is an optional bet placed before the start of the game, and yields additional payouts for specified hands. We will go into more detail later, as well as take a look at a sample of a typical pay schedule.
The goal of this game is to draw a hand that is of sufficient strength to qualify for one of the payouts. The payout schedule is written on the felt in front of each player, and has a range from 1-1 for a high pair, to 1000-1 for the royal flush. Typically the lowest hand that will qualify as a winner is a pair of tens, which pays the lowest amount, 1-1.
Common Let It Ride payout schedule
Below is an example of the typical payout schedule for this game, but note that there may be variations depending on where you play.
|Four of a kind||50-1|
|Three of a kind||3-1|
|Pair of 10’s or better||1-1|
While the above payout schedule will be the most common one found, especially in the larger casinos, you might find some tables where the royal flush payout is only 500-1. Granted they are not common, but you should keep an eye out for them, as they do give even more of an edge to the house.
Playing the game
The object of Let It Ride is to draw a hand containing a minimum of a pair of 10s by using your initial three cards plus the two community cards. You are never actually playing against any other player at the table, nor are you playing against the dealer. Your only objective is to have one of the winning hands listed above.
Unlike other poker games, there is no exchange of cards. Your total consists solely of your three cards plus the dealer’s two. You do not draw any other cards. Also, since this is a game where up to 40 per cent of the entire hand is hidden, players are forbidden to communicate with each other as to the contents of their hands. In other words, you are not allowed to know what any other player has, since that would give you an unfair edge over the casino.
As you can tell, it is a simple game, one that is non-threatening and easy to understand. You do not have to be an experienced poker player to win, since there are no opponents, and such nuances as bluffing are unused. However, you must have at least a basic understanding of the ranking of hands and a basic knowledge of strategy. Below is some general information about the rank of each hand.
Let It Ride poker: hand ranks
1. Royal flush: 10, J, Q, K, Ace, all of the same suit, diamond, heart, spade, or club, is termed a royal flush.
2. Straight flush: Any five cards of the same suit that follow a numerical sequence, the highest card being less than an ace, is a straight flush. (If the highest card were an ace, you would then have a royal flush). The ace can be used as the lowest card, such as A, 2, 3, 4, 5.
3. Four of a kind: When you are dealt four out of five cards that are of identical numerical value, such as Q, Q, Q, Q, 2, this is called four of a kind. The fifth card is irrelevant.
4. Full house: A hand that contains three cards of identical numerical value, and two additional cards that have identical numerical value, you have a full house. For example, if you were dealt A, A, A, 3, 3, you have a full house.
5. Flush: The term flush refers to a poker hand where all five cards are of the same suit. For example, if you had a 2, 4, 7, K, and A, all in the suit of diamonds, you would have a flush.
6. Straight: A straight consists of five, non-suited cards in numerical sequence. For example, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, of varying suits, is a straight. When the straight contains an ace, the ace can be considered either a high or low number.
7. Three of a kind: Three identical cards within a hand, in conjunction with two non-identical cards. For example, 7, 7, 7, 2, 9 is read as three sevens.
8. Two pair: Two sets of numerically equal cards, and a fifth, unmatched card is called two pair. An example of this is Q, Q, 6, 6, K. You have a queen-high two pair.
9. One pair: A pair is one set of numerically equal cards, along with three unmatched cards. For example, in the hand K, K 3, 6, 10 you have a pair of kings. Pairs are ranked in order of value, with aces being the highest, and twos being the lowest. In the game of Let It Ride, the minimum strength hand required for a payout is 10s.
10. Any other pair: Any pair that has a value that is less than 10 is considered a non-winning pair, and subsequently will not receive any payment. For example, a hand that consists of 2, 7, 9, 9, K is a pair of nines, and while it is still a pair, it is a loser.