Let It Ride Poker

It seems like every couple of years, some new variant on poker becomes a must-play at casinos, and Let It Ride is one such iteration. It’s popular for a number of reasons. For starters, players don’t have an opponent — instead, they’re paid out based merely on the achievement of their own hand, which creates a nice community feel. It’s also much easier to understand than many other pokers, and makes for a nice entry point into the poker world for novice players. On top of that, online players can find tables with some tiny house edges so they can play for hours.

Let It Ride Online

One of the main advantages to Let It Ride vs. other poker games is that it’s played at a much more relaxed pace, and that’s particularly true with Let It Ride poker online. The other big advantage is that you can compare payout odds across different casinos without traveling from joint to joint. Or, you can trust me to do the work for you. Below, you’ll find a list of some of my favorite casinos that feature Let It Ride poker games with particularly kind payout structures — you’re looking at a house edge around 3 percent if you play it right at most of these places.

How to Play Let It Ride

The easiest way for me to teach you how to play Let It Ride poker is this: The basic setup of the game is very similar to that of Texas Hold ‘em, with players receiving hole cards that they then combine with community cards in an attempt to build the best possible five-card hand. One key difference is that there are only two community cards, and players use three of their own hole cards.

The community cards are initially dealt face down. Players buy in initially, but then get two chances to withdraw one-third of that wager:

  • First chance: Players are dealt a three-card hand face down, and after looking at those cards, they have the option to withdraw one-third of their initial wager.
  • Second chance: After the first community card is revealed, players can withdraw another one-third of their wager.

Players can slim their wager on one or both of these opportunities — leaving your entire initial wager on the table is called “letting it ride.”

Players aren’t competing against each other or a dealer. Instead, like many video pokers, gamblers get payouts based on the hands they complete. Payouts can vary a little from table to table, but here’s an example of an average Let It Ride poker payout table:

  • Hand, Pays
  • Royal Flush, 1000-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 King, 3-to-1
  • Two Pair, 2-to-1
  • Tens or better, 1-to-1

There are also two forms of bonus bets players can and should utilize. The first is the three-card bonus, which I mentioned above. This is a wager placed solely on the outcome of the player’s three-card hole hand. Gamblers can make money off combinations like three-card straights and flushes and earn a quality payout. Here’s a breakdown of the rewards for hitting on a three-card bonus bet:

  • Hand, Pays
  • Mini Royal, 50-to-1
  • Straight Flush, 40-to-1
  • Three of a King, 30-to-1
  • Straight, 6-to-1
  • Flush, 3-to-1
  • Pair, 1-to-1

Lastly, there’s the five-card bonus. This is an extra wager on the outcome of your final five-card hand in addition to your initial wager. You make this bet up front, and don’t have the opportunity to withdraw it as the game advances. Payouts here are much higher than for the regular bet, though, and look like this:

  • Hand, Pays
  • Royal Flush, 20,000-to-1
  • Straight Flush, 1,000-to-1
  • Four of a Kind, 100-to-1
  • Full House, 75-to-1
  • Flush, 50-to-1
  • Straight, 25-to-1
  • Three of a Kind, 4-to-1
  • Two Pair, 3-to-1
  • Tens or better, 1-to-1

Let It Ride Strategy

Let It Ride poker strategy here is actually fairly simple to memorize. Players essentially have two options — pull or let it ride after seeing their three-card hand, then pull or let it ride after seeing the first community card.

Players should let it ride after seeing their three-card hand if they have any of the following:

  • 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 ace-2-3
  • Three to a straight flush, spread 4, with at least one high card (ten or greater)
  • Three to a straight flush, spread 5, with at least two high cards

And players should only let it ride after seeing the first community card if they have:

  • 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 with at least one high card
  • Any four to an outside straight with no high cards*
  • Any four to an inside straight with 4 high cards*

*Last two technically have no house edge, so those are a coin flip bet. Up to you how aggressive you want to be there.

The other key choice is deciding how much to bet on the standard wager, three-card bonus and five-card bonus. The house edge on the five-card bonus is usually the worst on the table, so I advise avoiding that entirely — if you are going to play it, keep your bet size minimal.

From there, players should expect the house edge on their standard wager to hover around 3.5 percent, while the three-card bonus can vary from 2-to-7 percent, depending on the payout structure. Compare your casino’s pay table to the example above — if your casino’s payouts seem kinder than what I wrote above, then you should consider loading up on the three-card bonus bets. Otherwise, keep your focus on the standard wager.