The game of Let It Ride has been around for a very long time. It, along with Caribbean Stud Poker is generally acknowledged as the original table game.
While it’s prime years are behind it, there are still quite a few tables out there and there are many lessons to be learned from this game. Let It Ride is one of a handful of games out there that are paytable games. This means you are not playing against the dealer or anyone else. You are playing against a paytable, more akin to video poker
To begin play, the player makes three equal wagers called “$,” “1” and “2.” In reality, these three wagers are completely independent of each other, meaning what you decide to do with one has no impact on the other two. The $ wager is the easiest. There are no decisions made regarding this wager. You make it at the beginning. It stays until the end. If you have a Pair of 10’s or Better in your eventual five-card hand, you win. If you have less than that, you lose. It’s that simple.
This wager is also where the entire house advantage comes from. The hit frequency is merely about 24% with a payback of only about 60%. If the game ended here, it would be worse than playing Lotto! Fortunately, the other two wagers are what balances the game out.
The 1 wager comes into play after the player is dealt his three cards. After reviewing these cards, he may do one of two things. He can pull the wager back, which takes it completely out of play. Or, he may “let it ride” and let the wager stay out there. In Let It Ride, all wagers that are out there at the end of the hand are paid according to the paytable in use. So, this wager has the opportunity to win significantly.
If you give it some thought, you may realize what is really happening is no different than making a single wager at the beginning (the $ wager) and then after three cards you have the option to check or to make another wager equal to the $ wager, which is called the 1 wager. The ability to pull your money back is just a gimmick that doesn’t impact the math at all. It does fit very nicely into the name of the game because you are allowing the wager to stay, as opposed to making another wager. But, mathematically, there is no difference.
Any wager that is a choice of “check” or “play” is one that favors the player. This is in contrast to one in which the decision is to “fold” or “play.” In the check/play situation, the player is only going to make the wager if the expectation (i.e. expected value) is greater than 1.0. This means the player expects to WIN in the long run. After all, why would you make an additional wager you can expect in the long run to lose money on?
So, this wager is an excellent one for the player. You only make it when you expect to win. In fact, in Let It Ride it turns out you will WIN on this wager 93% of the time you leave it out there. The bad news is you will leave it out there only about 7% of the time! The payback on the 1 wager is about 240%.
The 2 wager is very similar to the 1. For the 2, you wait until the dealer turns over one of the two community cards. Now, you have the same type of choice to check or play, which again means it is a wager in the player’s favor. Again, if your long-term expectation is you will win money, you keep the wager in play. If your long-term expectation is you will lose money, you pull it down.
You’ll leave the 2 wager up about 16% of the time and it will win 90% of the time you leave it in play. The payback of the 2 wager is also around 240%, so it significantly offsets the awful payback of the $ wager.
As stated earlier, these wagers are independent. What you do on the 1 wager doesn’t impact what you do on the 2 wager.
For more information on Let It Ride, we have a booklet called Expert Strategy for Let It Ride, which for a limited time we will be selling to GamingToday readers for $4, which includes postage and handling. The 12 pages will tell you all you need to know to play like an expert.
If you are interested in ordering, please send a check or money order to Gambatria, P.O. Box 36474, Las Vegas, NV 89133. Alternatively, if you want to pay by credit card, you can send me an e-mail to get that process started.
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