Let It Ride Poker


Let It Ride Poker, also know as Let Them Ride poker, is a very popular variation of poker, played by many both on land and online. It is based on the game of Five Card Stud Poker, so if you are familiar with Five Stud you will easily understand the rules of Let It de.

The game was originally developed by The Shuffle Master Gaming Company for the purpose of selling more automatic shuffling machines to casino houses. The game was first played in Reno, Nevada, in 1993.

A hand in Let It Ride is compiled of five cards: three which are given to the player and two which are dealer cards. As the dealer cards are revealed, a poker player needs to decide whether to stay in and “let it ride” to the next card, or whether to fold. A hand ranking from a pair of tens or higher is a winning hand. The amount of money won depends on the bets which the player makes. The game is not played against competitors or the house, but rather each player tries to make the correct bets.

One reason that people like playing Let It Ride is that it’s less risky: once you have a pair of tens or better you can simply “let it ride” by placing more bets thus increasing your winning, without jeopardizing your money.

How to play the game

On a poker Table of Let It Ride, each player has three circles located at his seating position. They are marked “$”, “1” and “2”, and there the bets are placed.

The bet in the “$” circle is the minimum bet foe the game. It cannot be withdrawn and will not be given back even if the player decided to fold his hand. The bets in “1” and “2” might be returned according to the moment of folding.

The game begins by putting an equal sum on each circle. Following this, the dealer gives each player three cards.

After that bet was made the dealer gives out three cards, faced down. He deals three cards to himself, discards one immediately, and is left with two face down cards. These two cards will make up the hand of the other players.

The players all look at their cards. If a player thinks his hand is too weak and does not have a high chance of winning, he can ask to take back his “1” bet. That bet is out of the game, and even if that player eventually wins it will not be counted. To take the bet back a player will drag his cards on the poker table (same movement as when taking a hit in a game of Black Jack).

If a player thinks his hand is strong and has a chance of winning, he will want to “let it ride”. This means that he stays in the game with all three of his bets. A player who lets it ride simply slides his cards face down under his bet.

After all the players have made their action the dealer reveals one of his cards. Now a player has four cards, and needs to act again. He can choose to take his “2” bet back or to let it ride. (This action is not dependent on the first action. A player may choose, for example, to take his “1” bet back but for the second round he lets it ride.)

After all the players made their second action, the dealer reveals his second and final card. Each player now has a full hand. A hand ranking of a pair of 10 and higher is a winning hand. The amount won depends on the bets which were left in the circle or taken out of them. There is a clear system of what the pay-out should be.


The ranking of the hands are the same as in regular Poker.

  1. Pair of Tens or better / 1:1
  2. Two Pair / 2:1
  3. Three of a Kind / 3:1
  4. Straight / 5:1
  5. Flush / 8:1
  6. Full House / 11:1
  7. Four of a Kind / 50:1
  8. Straight Flush / 200:1
  9. Royal Flush / 1000:1


Recommended Let it Ride Strategy

LET FIRST CIRCLE BET RIDE if your dealt cards are:

  • A pair of tens or better
  • Three card straight flush
  • Three card inside straight flush
  • Three card double inside straight flush with two tens or better
  • Ten, jack, and queen
  • Any three cards to a ROYAL FLUSH

LET 2nd CIRCLE BET RIDE if your first four cards are:

  • A pair of tens or better
  • Any four cards of the same suit
  • Open ended straight
  • Four high cards that are tens or better

Strategy 2

On this page we will discuss an optimal let it ride poker strategy. The house edge for Let It Ride is 3.5%, assuming the player is playing optimal strategy, and taking into account rare hands like a Royal Flush or a Straight Flush. Optimal strategy involves knowing when to let your bets ride. You have two decisions to make, i.e. whether to let the first bet ride or not, and whether to let the second bet ride or not. Each decision is governed by a different set of rules, which we will discuss shortly.

Optimal strategy for letting your first bet ride

Let the first bet ride if you have:

  • A winning hand: a Pair of tens or better (high Pair or Three of a Kind).
  • A three card Royal Flush.
  • A three card open ended Straight Flush, with the lowest card being a 3 or higher (don’t let the first bet ride with A/2/3 suited or 2/3/4 suited)
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush, with one hole, and at least one high card (ten or greater), e.g. 7, 8, 10.
  • Three cards to a Straight Flush, with two holes, and at least two high cards (ten or greater), e.g. 7, 10, J.

Optimal strategy for letting your second bet ride

Let the second bet ride if you have:

  • A winning hand: a Pair of tens or better (high Pair, Three of a Kind, two Pairs, Four of a Kind).
  • A four card Royal Flush, Straight Flush, or Flush.
  • A four card open ended Straight.
  • Four cards to a Straight, with one hole, and four high cards.

Never take the bonus bet

In Let It Ride poker you are offered to place a $1 side bet, to be eligible for bonus payouts. Do *not* take this bet, because, depending on the payout table, the house edge can vary from 15% to as much as 30%.

Beware of payout limits

Sometimes a casino imposes a maximum payout limit on each game of Let It Ride. You will never win more than the payout limit, even if you get a Royal Flush. If the maximum payout limit is $60,000, there is no reason to bet more than $20 per bet. If you bet more, let all 3 bets ride, and receive a Royal Flush, you winnings will exceed the maximum payout limit. You can determine your optimal bet size by dividing the payout limit by 3000. If the optimal bet size is lower than the minimum bet size the casino is offering, then go find another casino!


LET IT RIDE POKER TIPS: After looking at your three initial cards and the community cards are still hidden, let it ride when you have a pair of 10’s or better. Pull your bet if not. If you have four parts of a flush after the first common card is turned also let it ride. Do not chase after 4 card straights.

Game Example:

EXAMPLE OF A LET IT RIDE POKER GAME: Player has three $10 bets in the circles and is dealt 2 fives and a jack. He pulls his Circle 1 bet back. The first card the dealer turns up is a five. Now the player has three fives (a sure winner) so he lets his Circle 2 bet ride. The dealer’s other card turns out to be a nine. Player didn’t improve his hand but still has a winning “Three of a Kind”. At the 3-1 payout for this hand, the dealer pays him $30 for his $ Circle bet and $30 for his Circle 2 bet. Player wins $60.

Let It Ride Poker Hand Rankings

Hand Description
Royal Flush A hand with A, K, Q, J and 10 all of the same suite
Straight Flush A hand with all five cards in sequence and of the same suit
Four of a Kind A hand with four cards of the same rank
Full House A hand with three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
Flush A hand with all five cards in the same suit but not all in a sequence
Straight A hand with all five cards in sequence but not all in one suit
Three of a Kind A hand with three cards of the same rank
Two Pair A hand with two cards of one rank and two cards of another rank
Pair of Jacks or Better A hand with two cards of the same rank

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