Let It Ride
Let It Ride is one of the most popular poker-based casino table games. It offers a sort of blending of concepts from casino poker and video poker with the way the payouts work, and this is the source of the involved strategies and action that the game can offer. Learn all about playing Let It Ride online in this tutorial and compare top casinos that offer the game.
Introduction to Let It Ride
There’s an interesting mix of different levels of complication when it comes to the casino poker genre. You have some games that are too simple to stay popular, and on the other end of the spectrum, you have titles that are extremely complicated and that lose out on popular, long-term play because of that.
Let It Ride is a casino poker game that falls in the middle of the spectrum along these lines. It offers multiple betting decisions, but those decisions aren’t incredibly difficult or unbalanced. Instead, they all have to do with changing how much your total wager on the game is instead of changing cards, and you can actually bet more or less on a hand as it unfolds.
As a result, you get a style of play that is decidedly different from the norm, and that’s something that makes it stand out as well.
The History of Let It Ride
The company Shuffle Master was founded by John Breeding, and he is the man who invented Let It Ride. His motivation was to try to create a game that would increase the demand for their card shuffling machine. This company would go on to become Bally Gaming, one of the most popular casino gaming companies in the entire world.
This game would go on to become pretty popular in land-based casinos for quite some time, and it did help to drive sales of their card shuffling machine. However, it would later start to fall out of favor in the land-based arena as more games were invented and its popularity grew in online casinos. Today, it’s still fairly popular among online casino fans.
Differences in Play Style
As Let It Ride gained more popularity online, there became two separate play styles with the game. While the fundamentals of how it works stayed the same, a certain degree of functionality of the betting changed to better suit the online environment.
This game originally involved making an initial set of bets on the table and then having the option to pull some of those bets back as the game progressed. However, this doesn’t translate as well to the online environment, so things were switched up online. Instead of pulling bets back that were already made, when you play online Let It Ride, you’ll be adding bets instead.
The end result of the hands are exactly the same, but this slight change in functionality is worth pointing out since it fundamentally changed how the game is played. In fact, a number of land-based casinos have started using this approach with Let It Ride as well.
Rules and Gameplay Procedure for Let It Ride
We mentioned above that there are two different ways of presenting the game. We’re going to present the version of how it evolved. Functionally, they both get the same result, but it can be confusing to try to explain both at the same time.
As such, we’re going to use the version where players are adding bets to the table instead of taking them away.
How a Single Hand is Played
Using this style of play, here is how a single hand of Let It Ride is played online:
- The player makes an initial bet called an ante. Three cards are dealt to the player.
- The player has the option to make an additional wager equal to the size of the ante or not. Either way, the player is dealt a fourth card.
- Once again, the player has an option to make another wager that’s the same size of the ante. Whether the player decides to or not, a fifth card is dealt.
- After the dealing of the fifth card, the player will have a chance to receive a payout if he or she was able to get a good enough poker hand based on the pay table accompanying the game.
- Any win is based on a multiple of all of the combined bets put in play during the course of the hand.
As you can see, this isn’t a particularly complicated game with a lot of different ways a hand can play out. However, there is a fair depth to the amount of strategy involved because of the two different places in the game where you can manipulate the total size of the amount at stake.
Five-card Poker Hand Rankings and Payout Tables
Let It Ride is a casino poker game that relies on standard, five-card poker hands. We recommend becoming familiar with them before you play, but you can use the following reference as a refresher.
We’re also going to list out the amounts most commonly found for each hand for the pay table for this game. These amounts listed are multiplied by the total amount wagered on the hand if you win.
The following list goes in order of strength, and it starts from the strongest and works its way down to the weakest hands:
- Royal Flush (1,000x) – The cards A, K, Q, J and T all with a matching suit
- Straight Flush (200x) – Five cards in consecutive order with a matching suit
- Four of a Kind (50x) – Four cards with a matching rank
- Full House (11x) – Three cards with a matching rank combined with two other cards with a different matching rank
- Flush (8x) – Five cards with a suit that matches
- Straight (5x) – Five cards in consecutive order without having a matching suit
- Three of a Kind (3x) – Three cards with a matching rank
- Two Pair (2x) – Two cards with a matching rank combined with two other cards with a different matching rank
- One Pair (1x for tens or higher*) – Two cards with a matching rank
- High Card (No Payout) – Five cards that do not make any of the made hands listed here
* For the one pair payouts, this means that you will only be paid if your one pair is in tens, jacks, queens, kings or aces.
Because the better hands get better payouts, strategy is then all about trying to put more money in when you have better chances of getting those stronger hands.
Let It Ride Strategy and Tips
There are two different decisions to be made in a full hand of Let It Ride, no matter if you’re playing with the online “adding bets” style or the land-based “removing bets” style. The basic idea is the same, but the strategy for each of the two decisions is different.
The reason for this difference is that you have different amounts of information given to you (three cards vs. four cards) and different numbers of cards left to come (two cards vs. one card, respectively). As such, you have to use this information differently to make an informed decision.
Along these lines, we’re going to break the strategies and tips we have for this game up into two sections based on how many cards have been dealt so far in the hand.
Strategy for Three Cards
For your betting decision with three cards, you have a combination of less given information and more cards to come than the betting decision with four cards. With that having been said, you should only make the wager here (ie: not pull back your bet) if you have one of the following cases:
- You were dealt three of a kind.
- You were dealt a pair of tens, jacks, queens, kings or aces.
- You have three cards that could combine to make a royal flush.
- You have three consecutive suited cards 3-4-5 or higher.
- You have three to a straight flush with a single “gap” and at least one card that’s ten or above.*
- You have three to a straight flush with two “gaps” and two cards that are ten or above.
* A “gap” as described here is a space between consecutive cards. For example, 5-6-8 would have a “gap” where the seven would normally be.
You’ll notice that you need a made hand or a pretty strong draw to put in the bet at this stage, so you’ll actually avoid doing so for the overwhelming majority of the hands that you play.
Strategy for Four Cards
With four cards in front of you and only one to come, you have a bit more information to work with. You also get access to full flush and straight draws, which heavily influence the relevant strategies for whether or not you should make this bet in Let It Ride. Like the way we listed things above, if you have one of these situations, then you should go ahead and make the extra bet with four cards shown:
- Any made hand that’s a pair of tens or higher (includes two pair, three of a kind, four of a kind)
- Any flush draw (four cards that have a matching suit) regardless of the ranks of those cards
- Any four cards to an outside straight draw* with at least one high card**
* An outside straight draw is a draw to a straight that eight cards can complete.
** A high card in this game is a ten or higher.
This covers all made hands, all flush draws and a lot of open-ended (ie: outside) straight draws. However, there are two other situations where you can optionally put the bet in with four cards because doing so will actually have a house advantage of zero:
- Any four cards to an outside straight draw when there are no high cards in the draw
- Any four cards to an inside straight draw* when there are four high cards in the hand
* An inside straight draw is a draw to a straight that four cards can complete.
You can choose to play with these two scenarios or not. It will not affect your bottom line or your average payout rate in any way, shape or form.
Live Dealer Let It Ride
You’ll find that there are some software companies that offer live dealer Let It Ride games. However, they almost never use the older style of betting where you put up wagers and then pull them back on each betting round. Instead, you’ll do the usual online thing of putting the bets forward as you go.
A big part of the reasoning behind this is that there is a timer on each betting round before the game naturally progresses to the next one. If you don’t make a decision in that time, then there has to be a default action that it has you take. The default action should never have you wager more money on a hand, so it’s only natural that it would need you to always manually add to the size of your wager.
One thing you’ll notice is that Let It Ride isn’t usually ran by the bigger names in live dealer games, but you’ll still find it occasionally on some of the competitors’ sites. Its lack of popularity compared to more commonly ran live dealer games like blackjack and roulette are a major part of why that’s the case.
Let It Ride is one of those games that may not have the overwhelming popularity of certain other titles, but it definitely has a following among fans of the casino poker genre. It has enough strategy involved to be a little bit of a challenge, but the strategic needs aren’t so overwhelming that they take away the fun of the game.
If you are the type of player who likes different types of strategy-driven titles, then it’s definitely a game that you will want to check out and learn to play on a high level.