Pai Gow Poker
Let It Ride
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Rules and Strategies for
Let It Ride
This game, introduced
in Nevada casinos in 1993, has become such a favorite that it can now be played in more
than 200 casinos throughout the world. What makes Let It Ride unique is that you can
actually take back some of your money as the cards are being dealt. Invented by a company
called Shuffle Master, Let It Ride is based on poker. And there's a special twist - for an
extra $1, you are eligible for a side jackpot, which amounts to $20,000 for a royal flush.
It also gives you a chance to win million-dollar grand prizes in the Let It Ride
tournament. More about that later, but first let's look at how Let It Ride is played.
Each player makes three equal bets, one in each of three betting circles at each seat at
the table. The dealer then deals three cards to each player face down. He also deals two
" community" cards face down in front of himself.
Now, as the brochure says, it's time to have some fun. Take a look at your three cards. If
you think you have the beginnings of a good hand, or if you're just feeling lucky, then
Let It Ride! If you're not pleased, signal the dealer and you can take back your first
The dealer then turns over the first community card, which becomes the fourth card in your
hand. Again, if you think you have a good hand, Let It Ride! If not, signal the dealer and
take back your second bet. I told you this game was different.
Finally, the dealer turns over the second community card, completing your hand. If you've
pulled back your first two bets, the third bet has to play. If your five-card hand
contains a pair of 10s or better, you win. And you can win big bucks, as you can see by
the payout table:
- pair of 10s or better pays
- two pair pays 2 to 1
- three-of-a-kind pays 3 to 1
- straight pays 5 to 1
- flush pays 8 to 1
- full house pays 11 to 1
- four-of-a-kind pays 50 to 1
- straight flush pays 200 to 1
- royal flush pays 1,000 to 1
Payouts on the royal flush are aggregate (if two or more players win on the same hand, the
jackpot is divided proportionately).
The specially designed Let It Ride layouts feature illuminated betting spots, which allow
you to participate in special payoffs when you make a straight or better. This is called
the tournament spot, and it costs you an extra $1 per hand to play. All payouts are in
addition to the regular Let It Ride awards, and are paid immediately.
- straight pays $20
- flush pays $50
- full house pays $75
- four-of-a-kind pays $200
- straight flush pays $2,000
- royal flush pays $20,000
The shot at the big payoff makes it tempting to bet that extra dollar, and to make it even
more enticing there's an additional incentive. With any royal flush or straight flush, you
earn an entry into the Let It Ride playoffs at a Nevada host casino, where you have a
chance to make some really big money.
All playoff participants receive a round-one buy-in of $2,000 in non-negotiable chips. At
the end of this round, the six finalists get the following cash awards:
Sixth place............. $25,000
Fifth place.............. $50,000
Fourth place........... $75,000
Grand Prize......... $1 million.
The house edge at Let It Ride is 3.5%. Ninety-three percent of the time you will be taking
back your first bet, and 85% of the time you will be taking back your second bet. Your
third bet is locked in. Expect to stay in the game with all three bets only about once
every 16 hands.
When you take down one of your bets, wait for your turn to do so, then signal the dealer
by scratching your cards on the felt like you do to take a hit in blackjack. (Never touch
your money.) If you decide to Let It Ride, tuck your cards face down underneath one of
Staying in the game with all three bets is not advisable if you don't have at least a pair
of 10s. Having three high cards isn't much better, unless you can use them in a straight
flush or a royal.
One big reason for Let It Ride's soaring popularity is the fact that you can win a lot of
money off a small bet. I recently saw a player bet $10 in each of the three betting
circles, along with another $1 in the tournament circle. He was dealt two 9s, and let all
three bets ride (contrary to the proper strategy). The first community card was another 9.
Naturally, the player let all his bets ride again. The second community card was another
9! The player won $1,500 for his four-of-a-kind, plus another $200 for his tournament bet.
So for an investment of $31 the player received a staggering $1,700. Not bad (but, of
course, it doesn't happen very often).
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