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Are You Ready to Let It Ride? A Guide to Playing This Popular Casino Table Game

It’s funny…

The more casino games you play, the more similarities or overlap you can spot between them.

That’s certainly the case here with let it ride. We see elements of Caribbean stud, 3-card poker and casino holdem.

Or, maybe those games have elements of let it ride?

Who knows. The point is there are similarities. And chances are that, if you like one of those games, or think you would, you’ll probably like let it ride, too.

Our game guide will help you out. Below we’ll tell you where let it ride comes from, how to play it online and offline – because it’s slightly different – and the proper strategy for beating the house.

Sound good?

Let’s get into it then.

Let It Ride’s Short History

Let It Ride is a poker game slightly based on 5-card poker games that use community cards.

It’s owned by Shuffle Master (who’s owned by Bally Technologies). It was invented by Shuffle Master founder John Breeding in 1993.

Let it ride used to be an extremely popular game. But experts say its died down some due to the relatively high 3.51% house edge.

It’s still a fun game to play. And slow paced, which is great for older players or table game enthusiasts.

It’s easy to learn, too.

How to Play Let It Ride

Let it ride is played two different ways. Sort of.

There are two core let it ride games. The legit option – which is owned by Bally – and the version everyone else who can’t get permission for the real game offers.

The difference between the two is in how and when the bets are placed.

In let it ride, all 3 bets are made at once. You place them on the 1, 2 and $ marker. The $ bet is mandatory. That’s your ante, your table stakes.

Then during each betting round you’ll have the option to withdraw your bet or “let it ride.” Once the hand’s over you’ll be paid according to the pay table; based on your hand and what bets you still have on the table.

Let’em ride is the online version. Everything about it is the same other than how the betting is handled. It’ll make more sense once we walk you through a hand.

Let’em Ride

Your objective is simple. You want to use the 5 community cards to make a pair of 10s or better.

The first thing you’ll do is make your ante bet. This is the (only) mandatory bet. You can also make the optional $1 progressive bet.

Once you make the bet, 5 cards are dealt. 3 cards – your cards – are dealt face up.

Note: Offline your cards are dealt face down. You aren’t allowed to show or talk about them with anyone else.

Then two more cards are dealt faced down. These are the community cards.

At this point you’ll have 2 choices:

  • You raise. You like your hand, or the potential your hand has. The raise bet has to match your ante bet.
  • You continue. You think your hand needs improvement. You’re not willing to bet more on it.

Once you decide, one of the two cards are flipped over (face up). Again, you’ll have the following decisions:

  • You raise. Your bet has to match your ante bet.
  • You continue. You don’t bet.

Now the last card’s flipped over. Here’s what happens based on the strength of your hand:

  • Pair of 99s or worse – You lose.
  • Pair of 10s or better – You win and are paid according to the pay table.

Here’s an example (Bovada) payout table:

  • Royal flush – 1,000:1
  • Straight flush – 200:1
  • 4 of a kind – 50:1
  • Full house – 11:1
  • Flush – 8:1
  • Straight – 5:1
  • 3 of a kind – 3:1
  • 2 pair – 2:1
  • 10s or better – 1:1

And that’s for each bet you make.

For example, if you have a pair of 10s and only 1 bet left on the table, you’ll receive $20 — $10 for winning and your original bet back. But if you make two bets (your ante plus a bet during one of the betting rounds), you’ll receive $40 – your original $20 back and the $20 you won.

You’ll also be paid if you made the progressive bet. Here’s one example of a progressive payout table:

  • Royal flush – 100%
  • Straight flush – 10%
  • 4 of a kind – $500
  • Full house – $100
  • Flush – $75

Keep in mind payout tables will differ from casino to casino.

And that’s all there is to playing let it ride or let’em ride.

Let It Ride Variations

There aren’t nearly as many variations or side bets compared to other games. Here’s what we managed to dig up, though:

5-Card Bonus Bet – This is a $1 side bet. This pays on the value of the final five card hand. The house edge varies from 13.77% to 36.52% depending on where you play it.

3-Card Bonus – This is similar to the 5-card bonus, but only on the value of your 3 cards. It’s also similar to the pairs plus bet in blackjack. This pays out as much as 50:1 for a mini royal down to 1:1 for a pair.

6-Card Bonus – This is found in lots of games from Scientific Games (formally Bally Gaming and Shuffle Master). You’re dealt one additional (6th) dummy card.

Let It Ride Optimal Strategy

The optimal strategy’s pretty straightforward. Here’s what experts recommend you do:

Let it ride if you have:

  • Any paying hand (tens or better).
  • Any three to a royal flush.
  • Three suited cards in a row (except 2-3-4 and A-2-3).
  • Three to a straight flush, spread 4, with at least one card of 10 or better.
  • Three to a straight flush, spread 5, with at least two high cards.

With four cards you should only let it ride when you have:

  • Any paying hand (tens or better).
  • Any four cards of the same suit.
  • Any four to an outside straight with at least one high card.
  • Any four to an outside straight with no high cards (zero house edge).
  • Any four to an inside straight with 4 high cards (zero house edge).


Please Note:

Spread 4 or 5 means the cards span 4-5 ranks. For example, 5,6,8 (4-spread) or 5,7,9 (5-spread).


Though you’re not supposed to, another strategy is to talk about or share your cards with the other players. According to the book Beyond Counting by James Grosjean, if you saw every player card in a 7-player game, and made perfect use of the information, you’d lower the house edge from 3.51% to 2.34%.

Playing Let’Em Ride Online

You won’t find let it ride at many casinos online. It’s a trademarked game, and not every casino has the permission to offer it.

What you’ll find instead is a near-identical game called, let’em ride. The betting’s different, as mentioned earlier in the how to play section. Otherwise it’s the same game.

You might also want to look for these titles:

  • Let It Ride
  • Let’Em Ride
  • Let Them Ride
  • Keep ‘Em Going
  • Free Ride
They’re all the same.

The most important thing to note about playing this online, other than the name change, is how casinos treat poker players in regards to casino perks and promotions.

Most casinos will prohibit poker or card game players from participating in their bonuses or cash back schemes. Others will make it harder for you to earn them.

For example, slots players may receive a bonus with a 30x play through. But let it ride players will never get that.

Instead, let it ride players may get the same (or, more often, a smaller) bonus, which they’ll have to earn by rolling it over 50, 100 or even 300x.

It’s a big difference. You’ll want to make sure you’re up for that (wagering tens, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars for a small $500 to $4,000 deposit bonus or cash back) before you make your first deposit. Otherwise cashing out may be difficult.

That’s about it. Most everything else outside of promotions will be the same for let it ride players as it is for blackjack, craps, video poker – and even in most cases – slots players.

Conclusion

Let it ride’s a fun game where you can take away or ‘let it ride’ based on how strong you think your hand is …and how much better you think it’ll get by the time you see the 5th community card.

The house edge’s a bit high, though it still pales in comparison to total games of chance, like keno or slots. And with optimal strategy and a bit of luck, you can get the house edge down even further.

Other players have nothing but nice things to say about it, too. In fact, , players love this game because:

  • The playing rules and playing strategy are not complicated.
  • You can remove up to two thirds of your bets if you feel your chance of winning are not good.
  • You can win a large amount of money for a relatively small bet.
  • There is no frustrating dealer-qualifying rule like there is with Caribbean Stud Poker.
  • The game returns more than slots.
  • You can sometimes recoup your losses quickly.

So it’s sort of surprising to hear let it ride’s popularity has gone down some because it’s house edge is a tad higher compared to other table games.

Especially since a couple percent points is not going to be noticed by most players in the short run, playing $1, $3, $5 or even $10 per hand.

What we’re trying to say is we don’t think the house edge is bad enough to advise not playing it. So give it a shot and let us know what you think.

FAQ

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers about let it ride.

Are there any let it ride apps?

We found a couple.

  • – This is a free app for Android.
  • – This is a free app for iOS.

Keep in mind that with apps and other non-casino game apps or websites, you won’t be able to play for real money.

Is there a Let It Ride film?

Yes. It’s a 1989 comedy that stared Richard Dreyfuss, David Johansen, Teri Garr, (poker player) Jennifer Tilly, Cynthia Nixon and Robbie Coltrane.

It’s not about a poker or card game, though it is about gambling. You can .

What’s the house advantage for let it ride?

The house edge is 3.51%. But between strategy, chatty players and finding casinos with better payouts, you might be able to get reduce it.

Is let it ride also a golf game?

Yes, there’s a game golfers play called let it ride. It’s played over 18 holes. At the end of the hole each player has the option to bank the points he won on that hole, or let them ride.

If he lets them ride, any points he earns on the next hole will be doubled. A bogey becomes 10 points, par becomes 30 points, and so on.

But if he lets the points ride and doesn’t score any points, he loses all the points he left riding. Which means scoring a double bogey loses them all.

You can find a description of the game or on .

How does let it ride’s odds compare to blackjack?

It depends on the blackjack game you play. But it will vary from .03 to as high as 2.45%. The ideal blackjack game will have fewer decks, dealer stands on 17, the player can split aces, double on any two cards, can hit split aces, surrender (early) and will receive 3:2 on blackjacks.

In a game like that, you can get the house edge to .25-.50% on a single deck game.

Here are how other games’ (lowest) odds compare to let it ride’s 3.51% house edge:

  • Baccarat – 1.06%
  • Caribbean Stud Poker – 5.22%
  • Casino War – 2.88%
  • Craps – 1.41% or 1.36% (pass/come or don’t pass/come)
  • Keno – 25%
  • Pai Gow – 1.50%
  • Red Dog -2.8%
  • Roulette – 2.7%
  • Slots – 2-15%
  • Video Poker – .46%

Have a question about let it ride you want answered? Let us know!