Let It Ride has an intriguing history in that it was invented by one of the biggest casino table game suppliers, Shuffle Master, as a tool to promote the use of its shuffling machine! Such was the popularity of this poker-based casino game at land-based clubs, that it generated a demand amongst players on the Internet too, and so it now can often be found amongst the ‘table games’ offered at the best online casinos.
The game itself is different from traditional stud pokers by virtue of being played against the house, rather than other players, and also the player only has to construct a ranking hand to win rather than explicitly beating a hand played by the casino’s dealer. In this respect it is comparable to video poker games, and often appeals to players who’ve already made friends with those casino favourites – which is quite a community of Canadian players we can assure you.
Let it ride online
As good as the real thing – Since Let It Ride poker is a less common game to find at land-based clubs when compared to the ubiquitous Blackjack, Roulette and Baccarat tables, fans of the game love how the Internet has enabled them easy access to play Let It Ride online. The online game plays and pays like its real-world equivalent, and so not only does it gift players an easy way to indulge their passion for the game, but also recreates the authentic buzz of sitting playing in a classy real-world club.
Perfect for beginners – Another distinct advantage of Let It Ride online is that it offers an easy, free and relaxed environment to learn the game and its strategy if you’ve never played before. Demo modes of the game at online casinos let you play free Let It Ride sessions to build up your knowledge of the game, with the convenience to switch into real-money play once you’re ready to do so. Try doing that in a real-world club without winding up other experienced players and casino staff!
We’ll get into the detail of Let It Ride poker’s rules and strategy for novice players shortly, but if you already know the ropes and want to fast-track to some online tables, the table above has some recommended online casinos to play.
How to play
Basic rules – The basic aim when you play Let It Ride poker is to build the best five-card poker hand you can from five cards dealt from a standard deck of playing cards. If you know what those rankings are, all fine and dandy (and you can skip down a little on this section) but, if not, here’s a quick primer of those poker rankings from strongest to weakest:
- Royal Flush: A, K, Q, J, 10 of the same suit.
- Straight Flush: Five cards in straight sequence of the same suit.
- Four of a Kind: All four cards of the same rank, e.g 4 Queens.
- Full House: Three of a Kind with a Pair.
- Flush: Any five cards of the same suit, but not in continuous sequence.
- Straight: Five cards in continuous sequence, but not of the same suit.
- Three of a Kind: Three cards of the same rank.
- Two Pairs: Two different Pairs.
- Pair: Two cards of the same rank.
- High Card: The highest-ranking card if no higher ranking hand possible.
Placing bets – Ahead of any cards being dealt in a game, the player must stake their bet, which must be split three ways to form three identical value wagers. With betting complete, the player then receives three personal cards (their ‘Hole’ cards) and will see a further two Community cards dealt face down.
With all cards dealt, the player must now evaluate their visible three-card hand strategically to decide whether to modify their bet before the first Community card is revealed to them. They may choose to pull one of their bets back, or ‘Let it Ride’.
With one Community card revealed, the player now has a second and final opportunity to modify their bet before the last Community card is shown to them. Again they may opt to pull one of their remaining bets or Let it Ride.
Once all the Community cards are known, the player’s final five-card hand is evaluated and winning results paid as a multiplier of the bet they have left on the table. The standard paytable for Let it Ride poker games is as follows:
- Royal Flush – pays 1000x stake
- Straight Flush – pays 200x stake
- Four of a Kind – pays 50x stake
- Full House – pays 11x stake
- Flush – pays 8x stake
- Straight – pays 5x stake
- Three of a Kind – pays 3x stake
- Two Pair – pays 2x stake
- (Pair) Tens or better – pays 1x stake
Most Let It Ride online games also have at least one of two popular side bets, as a way to add some optional extra wagers to the primary three-part bet described above. These are:
3-Card Bonus Bet – This optional bonus bet can be placed ahead of any cards being dealt, predicting that the players three hole cards will from a three-card poker ranking. The paytable for achieving an eligible hand is:
- Mini Royal (A, K, Q of same suit) – pays 50x stake
- Straight Flush – pays 40x stake
- Three of a Kind – pays 30x stake
- Straight – pays 6x stake
- Flush – pays 3x stake
- Any Pair – pays 1x stake
5-Card Bonus Bet – This optional bonus bet can be placed ahead of any cards being dealt, predicting that the players final result will be an eligible five-card poker ranking. The paytable for winning this bet offers higher payouts than possible from the main bet. A typical paytable is:
- Royal Flush – pays 20,000x stake
- Straight Flush – pays 1000x stake
- Four of a Kind – pays 100x stake
- Full House – pays 75x stake
- Flush – pays 50x stake
- Straight – pays 25x stake
- Three of a Kind – pays 4x stake
- Two Pair – pays 3x stake
- (Pair) Tens or better – pays 1x stake
Whilst many players enjoy having a few side bets to play, in our opinion the 3-Card Bonus and 5-Card Bonus bets do not offer players a good deal. They can pay very attractive wins if your luck is in, but mathematically they do not offer good value for money in the long term, and our preference with Let it Ride poker is to stick to playing just the main bet.
Let it ride strategy
To achieve optimal play with Let it Ride poker, and hence the lowest House Edge possible (around 3.5%) the following is recognised as a good basic strategy for the common paytable shown above.
Before the first Community Card is revealed, you should keep all your bets on the table if you have any of the following hands:
- Any paying hand (tens or better, three of a kind)
- 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, with only one missing card inside the three, and at least one high card (ten or greater)
- Three to a straight flush, with both missing cards inside the three and at least two high cards
With the first Community card revealed you should keep all remaining bets on the table if you have any of the following hands:
- Any paying hand (tens or better, two pair, three of a kind)
- Any four cards of the same suit
- Any four to an outside straight (i.e the missing card is not between any of the held values) with at least one high card
- Any four to an outside straight with no high cards
- Any four to an inside straight (i.e the missing card is between two of the held values) with 4 high cards
Although the above strategy may seem a lot to take in, it soon becomes second nature if you spend a little time playing, plus you can always have it to hand as a crib sheet when playing online. It’s certainly a must if you want to get the best out of playing Let It Ride poker, so investing a little time to learn it (and you can always do that playing free Let it Ride games) will literally pay off with better odds in the long-term.