Let It Ride – three card strategy
Now that you understand the basics on how to play Let It Ride, it’s time to begin delving into the various strategies that you can employ to increase your chances of winning. Bear in mind, however, that these strategies will only reduce the house edge to the lowest possible, 3.5%. The player can never achieve an edge over the house, and indeed it is, in the end, a negative expectation game.
To begin with, let’s look at the first part of Let It Ride’s basic strategy, Three-Card strategy.
Strategy before the community cards
The main strategic considerations associated with Let It Ride centre around the first four cards, and the first two betting circles. These circles allow the player to decide whether or not the first four cards are strong enough to let the bets “ride”. In other words, there are two decisions to be made on the first four cards, one for each of the two betting circles where the wager can be removed.
The first decision takes place after you have received your cards from the dealer, and see what your first three cards are. These cards give us a fairly good indication about the strength of our hand, and our chance for success.
Since we can see three of the cards in the hand immediately, we know three-fifths, or 60%, of the possible hand. We can therefore make some pretty good assumptions about the likely outcome for that hand. With these assumptions, we make the decisions concerning our bets.
Sometimes we are dealt what are commonly called “no-brainers”; that is, a hand where the decision is already made for us. For example, if you were dealt three kings, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out we should “let it ride”. This is a winning hand, and has a guaranteed payout of at least three times each bet. With some luck, that hand may even improve to a full house, or four of a kind.
Other times, we’re given hands that have enough potential to win, such as three cards to a royal flush, so we let that hand ride as well. On the other side of the coin, we may be dealt complete junk and know that our chances for success are so limited, that it would be best to take back as many bets as possible! Now let’s take a look at the correct choices for the three card strategy. The following table outlines the proper strategy to follow based on the first three cards dealt.
|Three Card strategy|
|First three cards||Let it ride||Remove bet||rule number|
|Pair of 10’s higher||Yes||No||1|
|Three of a kind||Yes||No||2|
|3 card straight flush||Yes||No||3|
|3 card royal flush||Yes||No||4|
|Flush/straight with two 10 value cards||Yes||No||5|
Rules for playing hands in Let It Ride poker
The following rules explain the decisions found in the above table. Both the playable and non-playable hands will be reviewed. We’ll start by discussing the playable combinations.
1. Pair of tens or higher: This is an obvious play. Since you have already secured at least a 1-1 payout, you let all three bets stay and hope for an improvement.
2. Three of a kind: Once again, this is an automatic win, with a guaranteed payout of 3-1 on all three bets. Let it ride.
3. Three cards to a straight flush: There are numerous possibilities for winning with this hand. You are sitting with a possible straight, flush, straight flush, and if you have any high cards, a possible winning pair. The strategy for this hand is to let all three bets ride.
4. Three cards to a royal flush: As above, there are many chances to win, and you may possibly hit a jackpot. Let this bet ride.
5. Three cards to a flush/possible straight with two 10 value cards: In this game, it’s simply not a strong enough hand to “let it ride” on three cards when you just have a flush or a straight possibility, because the chances for either of those two hands with two cards remaining isn’t great. The combination of all of the above increases the possibility for success greatly.
6. Three-card flush with J, 9, 8, 10, 9, 7 or 10, 8, 7: These hands are not as powerful as the other hands so far listed, but when you take into consideration the possibilities for a flush, straight, straight flush, and high pair, plus the rare two pair and three of a kind possibilities, you have a decent enough chance for a win. Let the first bet ride, and see what develops.
7. K,Q,J or Q,J,10: Both of these hands have the possibility of catching a high pair, or straight, a chance at a two pair or three of a kind with the dealer’s two cards. This is the most marginal of all of the three-card hands, but you should still let the first bet ride.
These seven hands are the strongest hands for the player to open up to, and give the greatest chance for winning. While some of them may seem a little bit risky, these are the statistical decisions that will reduce the casino’s vigorish down to the lowest amount of 3.5%. To ignore these rules is to hand over even more of an edge to the casino.