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Let It Ride Redux

10 December 2020

QUESTION: You never write about Let It Ride. Do you have any strategy tips?

ANSWER: I don't see Let It Ride much anymore. Its popularity peak was nearly 20 years ago, when it and Caribbean Stud Poker were the main alternatives to the older games of blackjack, craps, roulette and baccarat. Nowadays, you'll more often see Three Card Poker, Mississippi Stud and Ultimate Texas Hold'em.

Some Let It Ride tables remain, and since you asked, let's look in more detail.

You start play by making three bets, three bets, two of which may be pulled back. If you're betting the minimum at a $5 table, you'll have $15 in action to start, but if you don't like your cards only one $5 bet needs to stay at risk.

There is no dealer's hand to beat. The player is just betting that his or her final hand will make it to a pay table that starts at even money for a pair of 10s or better and rises to 1,000-1 for a royal flush.

You're dealt three cards, and two community cards are dealt face down in the center of the table.
There are two strategy decisions to make. After seeing three cards, you may choose to pull back the first bet or let it ride. After the first community card is turned up, you may choose to pull back the second bet. Bet No. 3 must stay in action, and all remaining bets are decided after players see their fifth cards.

Basic strategy leaves a house edge of 3.5 percent of one bet. On average you'll leave 1.23 bets on action. That leaves a house edge on total action, also called the element of risk, of 2.85 percent.
After seeing the first three cards, leave the first bet in action with the following hands:

  • Any paying hand--a pair of 10s or better.

  • Three consecutive cards of the same suit, ranking 3-4-5 or higher. That gives us potential flushes, straights or straight flushes.

  • Three cards of the same suit with one gap, provided they include at least one card that is a 10 or higher. For example, we hold 7-8-10 of the same suit, but not 6-7-9, because along with the potential straights and flushes, the 10 gives us the possibility of finishing with a high pair payoff.

  • Three cards of the same suit with two gaps, provided they include at least two cards that are 10 or higher. We keep 8-Jack-Queen, but not 8-9-Queen.

After you see the first community card, leave the second bet in action if you have any of the following:

  • A paying hand with a pair of 10s or better, two pairs, three of a kind or four of a kind.

  • Four cards of the same suit.

  • Four parts of an open-ended straight.

  • Four parts of an inside straight with four high cards.

There are some fine lines being cut. Four to an open-ended straight with at least one high card gives the player an edge. The inside straight draw and open straight draws with no high cards are zero-edge situations.


QUESTION: Recent mentions of Joker's Wild video poker left me wondering. I never see wild cards being used at casino poker games. Are there other casino games that use wilds?

ANSWER: A number of video poker games use wilds, including Double Joker's Wild, Deuces Wild, Joker and Deuces Wild, and One-Eyed Jacks Wild. At the tables, Pai-Gow Poker uses a wild card that can be used as an Ace or to complete a flush, straight or straight flush. And many slot machines used wild symbols.
John Grochowski

John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski