What Is Let It Ride?
Let It Ride is a variant of five-card stud poker. It has two main differences from other forms of poker. First, players are not competing against each other or the dealer, and second, instead of starting with a small bet and raising it, Let It Ride players start with a large bet and are given the option to withdraw parts of it if the cards don’t go their way.
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How Does Let It Ride Work?
To start a hand of Let It Ride, each player makes a bet, which must be evenly divisible by three. Each bet is split into three groups, usually marked by circles on the game table.
Players are then dealt three cards each, and the dealer also places two community cards facedown. Players then examine their three cards, and at this point a player may choose to withdraw the first part of his or her bet.
The dealer then turns up the first community card, and the players may again choose to withdraw a third of their bets. Once that decision has been made, the dealer turns up the second community card and players determine the strength of the poker hand their cards form with the community card.
Let It Ride Payoffs
There’s no competition in Let It Ride. The only goal is to make the highest-ranking poker hand possible. The house pays off based on the amount of the initial bet remaining and the strength of the final hand.
Usually, anything above a pair of 10s is a winner, earning the player even money. Payoffs for stronger hands range from 2:1 for two pair all the way up to 1000:1 for a royal flush.
Some casinos allow side bets on the quality of the hand made by the player’s first three cards, or for an extra payout on higher-ranking hands. These bets are made before the cards are dealt.
How to Win at Let It Ride
Because of the house edge built into the pay table, there’s no sure way to win at Let It Ride, but there are some strategies you can try to cut the edge and ensure you get the most for your money.
After the first deal, you should withdraw your bet unless your three cards can make a royal flush; a straight flush with at least one ten or higher; three suited connectors; or a winning hand, that is at least a pair of tens.
Once the first community card has been shown, withdraw your bet unless you see four cards that can make a flush or open-ended straight, or an inside straight if all four cards are ten or higher. Of course, if you have a winning hand by this point you’ll want to keep your bet on the table.
Never take the side bets, since they only increase the house’s edge. Also, players aren’t supposed to show each other their cards, but many casinos don’t enforce that rule. If you can share information with other players, it can increase your ability to calculate the odds and decide whether to pull out or “let it ride.”