Many gamblers know the origin story of Let It Ride, the quirky table game that seems to play out in reverse.
But just in case, here’s the Cliffs Notes version…
Back in 1983, former truck driver John Breeding found himself increasingly intrigued by news stories about blackjack card counters beating the casinos. Breeding wasn’t like most of us though, as his interests didn’t lie in joining the legions of aspiring card counters. No, he wanted to invent an automatic card shuffling machine to help casinos protect their bottom line from card counters – while lining his own pockets in the process.
Thus, Breeding spent the better part of a decade toying around with various prototypes until he perfected his Holy Grail – an automatic card shuffling machine that could be installed underneath any casino game table.
At the time, however, casinos were already getting ahead of the card counting curve by utilizing six- and eight-deck “shoes.” These multiple-deck shoes served their intended effect quite well, adding so many cards to the equation that counting became practically impossible in the casino setting.
Unfortunately, because his automatic shuffler was designed to randomize only one deck at a time, the multiple-deck shoes threatened to put Breeding’s new company Shuffle Master out of business before it even got off the ground.
After consulting his wife, who challenged Breeding to create a single-deck table game that would make his shuffling machines more attractive to casino operators, the inventor put together his masterpiece – Let It Ride.
Breaking Down Let It Ride’s Pay Table
The game proved to be an immediate hit with both casino managers and players alike. Casinos liked the fast pace of play, all the better to get more bets put in play, while players loved the multiple decision points and escalating pay table shown below:
Let It Ride Hands and Payouts
|Royal Flush||1,000 to 1|
|Straight Flush||200 to 1|
|Four of a Kind||50 to 1|
|Full House||11 to 1|
|Flush||8 to 1|
|Straight||5 to 1|
|Three of a Kind||3 to 1|
|Two Pair||2 to 1|
|Tens or Better||1 to 1|
With the potential to turn a $15 minimum bet – really a $5 minimum, but with all three Ante bets allowed to “ride” – into $15,000 when the elusive Royal Flush shows its face, Let It Ride offers a distinct jackpot element that gamblers crave.
Table game enthusiasts also enjoyed the reverse engineered gameplay. By requiring players to start out with three Ante bets, before deciding whether or not to let two of those wagers remain in play before showdown, Let It Ride flipped the script from traditional table game betting.
Seemingly overnight, Let It Ride spread throughout Sin City casinos like a bona fide phenomenon. But this game was no fad, and nearly 25 years after making its debut, Let It Ride remains one of the more prevalent offerings in Las Vegas.
Speaking of the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, table game players who specialize in the standards like blackjack, roulette, and craps have long known to steer clear of this potential tourist trap. Whereas the independent casino operators who made Sin City famous used to treat regular players right – with single-zero roulette wheels and 3 to 2 payouts on blackjack the norm – the tables have turned for table game enthusiasts.
Nowadays, you’ll largely find inferior versions of your favorite table games. Picture double- and even triple-zero roulette that double and triple the house edge, or 6 to 5 payouts on blackjack along with harsh rules that benefit the house.
That’s a shame, of course, but Let It Ride fans are in luck. The game’s house edge rate of 3.50 percent is already right in the casino’s preferred “sweet spot,” so they never bothered tinkering with Let It Ride to further their inherent advantage.
Sure, you’ll find a few optional side wagers that are true sucker bets, but those are always optional in Let It Ride. By sticking to the base game, even visitors to the Las Vegas Strip can enjoy Let It Ride as Breeding intended.
On that note, settle in for a full tour of the world’s gambling capital with the five best places to play Let It Ride on the Las Vegas Strip.
1 – Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
The Strip is all about excess, and in Las Vegas, more is definitely more.
That’s why Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino takes top billing on this list, what with twice as many Let It Ride tables on the floor as any other casino in town.
You’ll find four Let It Ride games running around the clock at Harrah’s, while no other gambling hall in the city has more than two.
And on all four games, players enjoy a comfortable $10 minimum bet, which will actually come to $30 given the three mandatory Ante bets. But don’t worry about that, as you’ll be pulling two of the three bets back from the brink right around 75 percent of the time when using basic strategy guidelines.
As for the high rollers out there, Harrah’s maximum wager limit on Let It Ride stands at $300, which means your $900 three-way bet plus a Royal Flush deal would be good for $900,000 at 1,000 to 1 payout odds.
That’s not the only way to win a life-changing jackpot sum though, thanks to the “Millionaire Maker” progressive jackpot program organized by Harrah’s parent company Caesars Entertainment.
Jay Bean – who serves as Vice President of Table Games for Caesars Entertainment – ushered in the new era of million-dollar progressive jackpots at properties like Harrah’s in December of 2018.
In a post published to the Caesars Blog, Bean explained why he adapted the wide area progressive jackpots famously paid by slot machines for table games like Let It Ride:
“By linking them citywide it only increases all our jackpots faster, resulting in millions of additional prize money awarded in Las Vegas.”
For an additional bet of only $5 on the Progressive side bet, landing any Royal Flush on the five-card deal is worth at least $1 million for the lucky winner.
Of course, a Royal Flush will only be dealt on 1 in 649,740 deals according to statistical probability, but like lightning, longshots have to strike somewhere right?
2 – The Venetian and Palazzo
Lightning struck recently at the Venetian, a golden palace devoted to the canals of Venice which shares a sister casino in the Palazzo right next door.
While playing Three Card Poker, a lucky visitor to the Venetian spiked a perfect Royal Flush to trigger a progressive jackpot of just over $1 million. And while Sean Barry of Ohio wasn’t playing Let It Ride, he very well could’ve won the same jackpot on the Venetian’s lone $5 minimum / $500 maximum table. The odds remain the same at 1 in 649,740 for a Royal Flush on all poker-based table games in which five-card Royal Flushes are required to trigger the reward.
Lance Gautreaux – who serves as Senior Vice President for Venetian parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp. – told the Las Vegas Review Journal that the Venetian and Palazzo have minted five new millionaires thanks to their progressive jackpot promotion on table games like Let It Ride:
“The Millionaire Progressive has paid out more than $5 million this year. That’s five millionaires, made each from a $5 side bet. A huge congratulations goes out to all of our winners so far.”
Canadian tourist Kevin Ripski was another beneficiary of the Venetian/Palazzo progressive jackpot back in February of 2019. He was playing Caribbean Stud Poker, but as he told KTNV-13 News while celebrating his $1,114,079 jackpot for a Royal Flush, folks who enjoy Let It Ride would be well-served to put that extra $5 chip on the side bet before every hand they play:
“I always play the bonus bet for the very reason if you hit it and are not playing the bonus, you will regret it for the rest of your life. I let the dealer flip over my cards, so it’s a surprise at the end of the hand.”
3 – Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino
Circling back to the Caesars property family, Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino has two Let It Ride tables connected to the company’s Millionaire Maker progressive jackpot.
This pair of games also uses the lowest minimum bet around of just $5, so recreational players can enjoy the action without worrying about exhausting their bankroll in a hurry. High rollers are in luck too, as the $500 maximum bet is second only to the $2,000 big bet table found at the Palazzo.
4 – Paris Las Vegas
One more extravagant Caesars property where progressive jackpot hunters can grind Let It Ride in style, Paris has a pair of tables using the $5 / $500 limits – plus the Millionaire Maker opportunity.
5 – MGM Grand
The MGM Resorts family of casinos along The Strip might not have a progressive jackpot attached to their table games, but at MGM Grand, the minimum bet on Let It Ride is $25.
The maximum limit tops out at $500, so this game definitely isn’t for everybody, but if you want to press your luck and go for major base game scores for non-Royal Flush hands, the Let It Ride table at MGM Grand is for you.
Let It Ride is beloved by both casinos and players for one simple reason – it straddles the middle ground perfectly. The house edge of 3.50 percent is high enough to warrant prominent placement on the gaming floor, while players have the option to reduce their risk (twice no less) whenever the cards fail to cooperate.
And with massive progressive jackpots now tied to the game at many of the major casino resorts, playing Let It Ride on the Las Vegas Strip is always a winning proposition.