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Let It Ride

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: I would like to get your opinion of Let It Ride? I do enjoy the game, but how bad are the odds really? I think the 3-card bet gives the best chance to win money. S. C.

Let It Ride is a game based on five-card stud poker in which the player bets on a poker hand that consists of the player's three card hand and the dealer’s two community cards.

Play starts with the player making three equal bets in spots labeled (1), (2) and ($) or sometimes (1), (2) and (3). After everyone has placed their bets, each player is dealt three cards, and the dealer takes two community cards face down. The player then looks at his or her three cards, and decides whether to pull back the first bet, or, as the name of the game implies, saying “Let it Ride.”

The dealer then turns over the first of the two community cards. At this time, each player can choose to remove the second bet or again "let it ride," no matter how he had handled the first card.

Finally, the dealer reveals the second community card and any bets that do not meet the payout criteria are collected. The remaining winning wagers are then paid out according to a posted schedule.

The typical payout schedule is as follows:

Royal Flush pays 1,000 to 1
Straight Flush pays 200 to 1
Four of a Kind pays 50 to 1
Full House pays 11 to 1
Flush pays 8 to 1
Straight pays 5 to 1
Three of a Kind pays 3 to 1
Two pair pays 2 to 1
Pair of 10s or better pays 1 to 1

I also find Let it Ride fun to play, it is slow enough for an inexperienced gambler, and pretty forgiving as it allows the player to pull back two of the three bets. My problem with the game is that even if it is played with perfect strategy, the house advantage is 3.51%, which is well above my rule to “Never make a wager that has a higher than 2% house edge.” That edge is nearly six times higher than blackjack when using perfect basic strategy. By the way, Let It Ride is nicknamed by dealers as ‘Let It Die,’ because the tipping rate on this game is terrible.

Let it Ride also offers a side bet called the "3-Card Bonus Bet." This bet is paid based on the poker value of the player's original three cards, much as the Pair-Plus Wager offered in Three Card Poker. In Let It Ride, the bet has a separate payout for a “Mini Royal,” which is defined as Ace/King/Queen of one suit.

I recommend that you avoid all Let-It-Ride side bets that offer an additional payoff with certain paying hands. These wagers have a whopping double-digit casino edge.

Dear Mark: You recently responsed to a question of mine on Crapless Craps. However, I am still wondering what happens when a "7" is comes up on the come-out roll. Your response listed all numbers from 2-12, with the exception of 7, as 'point' numbers. So, is my assumption that “7” is an immediate winner on the come-out roll? J. F.

I need to apologize to you and all of my other readers for failing to mention the number seven in my original reply to your question. I did state that if the shooter throws an 11 – normally a winner – on the come out, you do NOT win, as in this instance it also becomes 'the point.' You are correct in your thinking that if a “7” was rolled on the come out, it would be a natural winner.

I would also like to remind you that I advise avoiding this particular craps variant because the house edge on the Pass bet in Crapless Craps is 5.382%. On a regular craps game this same bet only has an edge of 1.41%.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Look at that guy – can't run six balls and he's president of the United States.” – Johnny Irish, Pool Hustler on Richard Nixon, McGoorty (1972)