Let It Ride – Fourth card strategy

Let It Ride Poker

At this point in Let It Ride poker, we have to make a decision based not only on the three cards we were dealt, but also on the fourth card, the first of the dealer’s exposed cards.

Since at this stage we have already made our first decision, and now know 80 per cent of the hand, our options, and possibilities, become even more limited. Once again, we are faced with the question, should we let our money ride or not? That all depends on what you had from the start, and what has developed with the dealer’s exposed card.

Just as we do during the third card strategy, we will make our choice based on the existing possibilities of the hand. We will play only those hands where we have a positive expectation for winning, and remove the bets from the second circle for those hands where the expectation is negative. In some cases, where we have the no-brainers, that is a guaranteed win (a pair of 10s or better), the decision is already made. We keep the second bet up.

There will also be times when we have hands that, while not guaranteed, still have sufficient strength and potential to warrant letting the second bet stay. Four cards to a royal flush is a good example of this. In that instance you have numerous possibilities, royal flush, straight flush (depending on the needed card), flush, straight or even a high pair. In fact, if the straight flush is open-ended, the odds for drawing it are about 22-1. That’s a big jump from almost 650,000-1, the starting odds for drawing a royal flush. Most of the time, however, this will not be the case and the best course of action will be to remove the second bet, and add it back into our bankroll.

Now let’s look at the rules for playable hands.

Rules for playable hands

Below are listed the various hands where you will let the second bet ride. These are the only hands where it is to your benefit to keep as much money in action as you can. Afterwards, we will look at those hands which people make mistakes on most often, and discuss why playing them works against the player.

1. Four of a kind: This is an easy one for a decision. Since this hand is a guaranteed winner, paying out at 50-1, there is no question that for this hand you should let your bets ride.

1. Three of a kind: Not only is this an excellent hand to be sitting with because you are guaranteed a payout of 3-1 for each of your bets, it also has room to become an even better hand, such as four of a kind, or a full house. Let the second bet ride.

2. Two pair: This hand is also an instant winner, paying out at 2-1, and it, too, can be improved upon to a full house. Do not remove the second bet.

3. Pair of 10s or higher: This is one of the more common hands that you will see, occurring about 20 per cent of the time. It is a classic no-brainer that can even be improved on. Let the bet ride.

5. Four cards to a royal flush: While this bet may not be a guaranteed winner, there are so many possibilities that it is to your advantage to let the second bet ride. You have a hand where you have a possible royal flush, straight flush, flush, straight or high pair, most of which will pay extended amounts.

6. Four cards to a straight flush: While this hand may not have the same extended possibilities as the four to a royal flush, it still can yield some excellent results. You have a possible straight flush, flush, straight, and high pair if you have any high cards.

7. Four to a flush: Since you’ve already beaten the 23-1 odds on filling a flush with three cards, and reduced the odds to about 4½-1 for a hand that will pay 8-1, you’ve got the makings of a good statistical edge. This hand may also be assisted with any high cards that could result in a winning pair, though this is not necessary. The hand should always be played.

8. Four cards to an open-ended straight. This hand also has possibilities and should be played, though without any high cards in the hand there will be no winning pairs possible, and it will eventually balance out in the long run. The odds for drawing the fifth card to an open-ended straight are 5-1, the exact odds that this hand pays out. Neither you, nor the casino has the edge for this hand.

9. Four cards to a high straight: This is the most marginal of all of the hands that we will play. The odds for drawing to an inside straight are 11-1 against you, but that value is buffered by the sheer amount of high cards that comprise your hand, which could yield a winning pair. This bet should ride.

Avoiding non-playable hands

At times in Let It Ride, we are confronted by hands that seem to show promise, but in fact are best discarded, as they hold either too limited a potential, or offer payouts lower than the odds for making the hand. These hands are:

1. Inside or one-way straight: These hands just do not have the mathematical likelihood to be considered a good hand. A straight pays off at 5-1 in this game, and the chances of drawing to an inside straight are 11-1. The casino odds do not justify letting this bet ride, even if there is a high card involved.