Let It Ride (card game)
Let It Ride is a registered trademark owned by SHFL entertainment, Inc. (formerly, Shuffle Master, Inc.) used in connection with a casino variation of poker, where the player wagers on the five-card poker hand formed by their own three cards and two community cards. The Let It Ride game is played at a relaxed pace relative to other casino card games, which has made it attractive to older players and to table game neophytes. Among dealing staff, Let It Ride has been nicknamed 'Let It Die', since the tipping rate is slow. Initially found in many casinos, the popularity of "Let It Ride" has waned over the past 15 years, because of the large percentage edge the house has on this game. The house edge varies on each hand, but is in the 5-20% range.
Let It Ride was invented by John Breeding (US Patent 5,288,081) founder of Shuffle entertainment, which owns the trademark to both the name of the game and the logo.
The Let It Ride game is a variation of five-card stud, based on three player cards and two community cards. The two community cards are initially dealt face down. The most distinguishing feature of Let It Ride is that the player is given two opportunities to withdraw exactly one-third of their initial wager. One chance occurs after the player looks at their hand but before the first community card is revealed, and the second occurs after the first community card is revealed, but before the second is revealed. The player may reduce their wager on either of these occasions, or on both, or neither. If the player decides not to withdraw part of their wager, they are said to "let it ride".
In the event of a winning hand after the second community card is revealed, what remains of the player's wager is paid out according to a payout table such as the one given below. There are small variations in payoffs between casinos, but the lowest paying hand in Let It Ride is typically a pair of 10s; a pair of nines or less is a losing hand, which results in the player forfeiting their remaining wager to the house.
|Royal flush||1,000 to 1|
|Straight flush||200 to 1|
|Four of a kind||50 to 1|
|Full house||11 to 1|
|Flush||8 to 1|
|Straight||5 to 1|
|Three of a kind||3 to 1|
|Two pair||2 to 1|
|Pair of 10s or better||1 to 1|
How to play
In order to ensure that the player's initial wager is divisible by three, each player must distribute their wager between over three betting spots which must all contain the same chip value. On some table layouts these spots are given the symbols (1), (2) and ($), with (1) and (2) indicating the thirds of the wager which the player can withdraw before the first and second community cards respectively are turned up, and ($) representing the third of the wager which there is never a chance to withdraw.
After players have placed their bets, the dealer starts from their left, and deals each player one card, followed by the first face-down community card, followed by a further card to each player, followed by the second community card, followed by a final card to each player. Players are not permitted to show their cards or to see the cards of other players at any point before the end of the deal.
Strategy and house edge
Like blackjack and video poker, player decisions in Let It Ride affect the house edge. The strategy outlined below assumes the standard payout structure shown above. With correct strategy, the casino's edge in Let It Ride is about 3.5% of the final, non-withdrawable third of the initial wager.
The correct strategy for withdrawing parts of the wager depends in general on the exact payout table. The following strategy applies to the example table above:
After the player has seen only their own hand and no community cards, they should withdraw a third of their wager unless they have any of the following:
- A pair of 10's or better, or three of a kind.
- Any suited three cards that are all 10 or higher.
- Any suited three cards in a row, where the lowest card is three or above.
- Any three suited cards with a spread of four and with at least one card 10 or higher.
- Any three suited cards with a spread of five and with at least two cards 10 or higher.
After the player has seen a further community card, they should inspect the four cards which they can see, and withdraw a third of their initial wager unless it contains any of the following:
- A pair of 10's or better, two pairs, or three or four of a kind.
- Four suited cards.
- Four cards in a row whereof the lowest card is a three or higher.
- Four cards with a spread of five, whereof the lowest card is a 10.
Common side bets for Let It Ride include:
- A bet on the poker hand formed by the player's three cards. This is comparable to the "pair plus" side bet in the casino game of Three card poker.
- A fixed payout scheduling based on the five-card hand, typically starting with two pair (typically a 4x payout, but really only 3:1 since the original wager is collected before the hand is dealt) or three of a kind (typically a 8x payout).
- "SHFL entertainment". SHFL entertainment, Inc.
- "United States Patent & Trademark Office - Let It Ride". United States Patent & Trademark Office.
- "United States Patent & Trademark Office - Let It Ride Bonus". United States Patent & Trademark Office.
- "United States Copyright Office - Let It Ride logo". United States Copyright Office.
- "Let It Ride" (PDF). http://oag.ca.gov/. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Let It Ride". BP. Retrieved 3 November 2014.
- "Let It Ride Poker". vegas.com. Retrieved 3 November 2014.