Let It Ride is a casino card game based (loosely) on poker. Instead of having to beat someone else’s hand, you play against a pay table. Your payout is based on the strength of your final hand.
If you get a big hand, like a royal flush, you can win 1000 to 1, depending on the casino where you’re playing.
If you’re new to the concept of casino games in general, it’s probably appropriate to explain what differentiates a poker game from a casino game.
In a real poker game, you’re competing with the other players at the table. You win the pot—which consists of money bet by you and the other players at the table—by having the best hand at the table, or by getting all your opponents to fold.
In a casino game, you and the other players are playing against the casino.
In some casino games, like blackjack, for example, you compete with the dealer to see who has the better hand. The other players at the table are doing the same—as long as they beat the dealer, they win, regardless of how their hands stack up against yours or the other players’ at the table.
Let It Ride falls firmly into the casino game, house-banked game category.
But like I mentioned, it doesn’t involve beating the dealer, because the dealer doesn’t even have a hand in Let It Ride.
How Do You Play Let It Ride Bonus Poker?
In some respects, Let It Ride resembles Texas holdem poker. You get 3 cards, and the dealer gets 2 cards. The 2 dealer cards are community cards that are shared by you and the other players at the table.
You get paid out based on the 5-card poker hand ranking from your 3 cards and the 2 dealer cards.
But if it were as simple as just dealing the cards and comparing them to the pay table, Let It Ride would be a boring game indeed.
Here’s what makes Let It Ride Bonus Poker interesting:
You start by placing 3 bets instead of just one. All 3 bets must be the same size. For the sake of this example, we’ll assume you’re betting $10, so you’d have to put $30 on the table before being dealt a hand.
The 3 cards are dealt face down, usually, but you get to look at them. The 2 dealer cards are also face down, but you don’t get to look at them yet.
After you look at your 3 face down cards, you have the option of taking back one of your 3 bets. After you’ve made this decision, the dealer exposes another of her cards, and you get the same opportunity—you can pull back one of your 3 bets, or you can leave it on the table.
This means that you have 3 possibilities once the dealer exposes her final card:
- You might have all 3 of your original bets in front of you. (In our example, $30.)
- You might only have 2 of your original bets in front of you. (In our example, $20.)
- You might only have 1 of your original bets in front of you. (In our example, $10.)
Once the final card is exposed, you get paid off based on the poker hand ranking of the final 5-card hand. In this respect, Let It Ride resembles video poker.
The Payouts for Let It Ride Poker
If you have anything less than a pair of 10s, you lose. The casino dealer collects your bet and moves on the next hand.
If you have a pair of 10s or better, you get paid off based on the strength of your hand, based on the following pay table:
- A pair of 10s, jacks, queens, or kings pays off at even money. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $30.)
- 2 pairs pay off at 2 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $60.)
- 3 of a kind pays off at 3 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $90.)
- A straight pays off at 5 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $150.)
- A flush pays off at 8 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $240.)
- A full house pays off at 11 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $330.)
- 4 of a kind pays off at 50 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $1500.)
- A straight flush pays off at 200 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $6000.)
- A royal flush pays off at 1000 to 1. (If you have $30 still on the table, you win $30,000.)
One of the reasons Let It Ride retains its popularity among the world of real money gambling is because of the possibility of getting those big payouts when you get a 4 of a kind or better.
How Does the Bonus Bet Work in Let It Ride?
I left something out of the original description of how to play Let It Ride poker. You have one other betting option besides the 3 bets that constitute the main game.
You can also place a bonus bet.
This is an optional bet—you can play without making the bonus bet.
In casinos which off the bonus bet on the final 5-card hand, the payouts vary from casino to casino. For example, in some casinos, the 5-card bonus bet doesn’t pay off for a pair of 10s or better, but in others, they pay off even money on the bonus bet.
On the other end of the pay table, the payoff for a royal flush might be as much as 25,000 to 1, but it might also be as low as 10,000 to 1.
The payouts for flushes and straights are consistent on the bonus bet, though—50 to 1 or 25 to 1, respectively.
The 5-card bonus bet is a sucker bet, because it has a huge house edge compared to other bets in the casino—including the main bets in Let It Ride. Most casinos offering this version of the bonus bet limit your action to $1 per hand on this bet.
The more common version pays off based on the poker hand ranking of your 3-card hand. The payouts for these casinos can also vary, but here’s the most common version of that pay table:
- A pair pays off at even money.
- A 3-card flush pays off at 3 to 1.
- A 3-card straight pays off at 6 to 1.
- 3 of a kind pays off at 30 to 1.
- A 3-card straight flush pays off at 40 to 1.
- A 3-card royal flush pays off at 50 to 1.
You’ll notice the lack of a payoff for 2 pairs. That’s because with 3 cards, it’s impossible to get 2 pairs. (You’d need at least 4 cards to have 2 pairs.)
Some casinos offer higher or lower payoffs for a 3-card flush or straight.
And a 3-card royal flush is strictly limited to a hand consisting of the queen, king, and ace of the same suit.
Is Let It Ride a Good Game to Play?
Yes, Let It Ride IS a good game to play, but only in certain respects. If you’re looking for the casino card game with the best house edge, Let It Ride isn’t it.
The house edge for the main action in Let It Ride is 3.5%.
But Let It Ride is still a better game than American roulette, which has a house edge of 5.26%.
And of course, the 3.5% house edge assumes that you make optimal decisions about pulling your bets back in and letting them ride.
The payouts on Let It Ride are easy enough to understand if you have some familiarity with poker and poker hand rankings.
It’s a good game if you avoid the bonus bet, which is a side bet with a relatively high house edge.