Online Let It Ride
Let It Ride is a variation of casino poker that first came on the scene in 1995. It was created by gaming equipment manufacturer Bally Technologies as a way to drum up more business for its Shuffle Master division, which makes shuffling machines used in casinos.
Bally also makes casino tables as well and this was the proprietary end of things, as casinos would have to purchase Let It Ride tables to be able to offer the game, in addition to their selling more shuffling machines, as this is a card game.
Let It Ride was also fashioned to offer casino patrons a more relaxed gaming experience than other casino card games such as blackjack and other forms of poker, thereby looking to appeal to a more casual clientele, like those who are accustomed to playing slots.
More casual casino gamblers don’t tend to be as sharp as far as paying attention to looking to play with a lower house edge, as blackjack players sometimes are for instance. The house edge under optimal play is a fair bit higher than blackjack, at 3.51% versus blackjack’s less than 1%, and if optimal strategies aren’t used, the house edge for Let It Ride goes up even more of course.
Casino gambling really isn’t about looking for edges though, and there aren’t any anyway, other than card counting in blackjack, and people instead play at casinos for the sheer enjoyment of it, and the hope has been that enough people will enjoy Let It Ride to make it a popular enough game to justify its space on the casino floor.
It did start out with some momentum but interest has waned a fair bit in the game in recent years, however it’s still offered by both land based and some online casinos as well.
How To Play Let It Ride
Let It Ride has 3 spots on the table for each player to place bets on prior to a hand, which are labeled 1, 2, and $. Players must place an equal amount on each spot. Each player Is dealt three cards face down, which they are not allowed to disclose to other players.
Two community cards are also dealt face down, which players will use along with their own three cards to put together 5 card poker hands. Players need at least a pair of 10’s to win, and beyond that, the better the hand the bigger the payout.
Prior to the first community card being revealed, players have the option of returning one of their three bets, should they feel that their hand or the potential of their hand is not strong enough to justify the larger bets that are sitting on the table.
Players also have the option of having the bet in the second slot returned to them if they choose, after the first community card is turned up. When players do not choose to have a bet returned, they are said to be “letting it ride,” which is where the game gets its name.
Playing Let It Ride Correctly
The format of this game is identical to players increasing the size of their bets based upon having better hands, doubling down and tripling down the original bet as the hand progresses, but by having them retract the bets, the thinking behind this is that players will have a tendency to retract less often than they would bet.
This is because the fact that they need a strong hand to bet is more transparent than needing as strong a hand just to let it ride, and the casino profits more when players let it ride with hands they should not. This often happens at the game in fact.
The majority of the time, it is correct for players not to let anything ride, in other words to have both bets returned to them. It takes a good hand indeed to justify doubling or tripling the bet, like for instance you wouldn’t double down with a count of 7 in blackjack, but you may with 10 or 11.
The correct strategy with Let it Ride is to only let it ride with 3 cards if you have a pair of 10’s or better, any 3 suited cards in a row except A23 and 234, any 3 to a royal flush, three to a straight flush with your three cards spreading over 4 cards, with at least 1 being a 10 or higher, or three to a straight flush spreading over 5 cards with 2 of them being a 10 or higher.
With 4 cards, you need a pair of 10’s or higher, 4 cards of the same suit, a four card open straight, or a 4 card inside straight with all 4 being 10 or higher.
As you might expect, players play looser than this and often quite a bit looser, but this just makes the casino’s edge bigger than it needs to be. The same is the case with side bets, which just increase the casino’s edge as well, and therefore aren’t a good idea.
The house odds for this game aren’t really that bad if you play correctly, and are significantly better than some games, like American Roulette. You do want to make sure that you play at least fairly correctly though to keep these odds in line, close to the optimal anyway, and therefore get more bang for your buck at the Let It Ride tables.
Let It Ride is indeed a nice, relaxing game and is one that people still enjoy playing in spite of it not being anywhere near as popular as more traditional casino games.