The table game that has cornered a significant share of the ?other table-games market? (meaning those games not, or not related to, blackjack, craps, or roulette) is Let It Ride. The game itself was created in order to sell Shuffle Master card-shuffling machines, but it has stayed around and gained many loyal fans. In fact, some players have become as enamored of Let It Ride as slot players are of the one-armed bandits.
The reason for this is that Let It Ride shares many of the characteristics of the slot machine in terms of its patterns and payouts. Like most slot machines, Let It Ride has many downs and very few ups. You lose approximately 75 percent of all hands. That?s correct, three out of every four decisions will more than likely go against you. This is not unlike slot machines where the ?hit frequency? is often 15 percent; that is, you?ll get some money back, not necessarily a win, once every six spins.
So why would anyone play Let It Ride if the prospects for victory are so bleak? Well, why would anyone play a slot machine? The answer is as simple as 1, 2,300!
Let me explain. The reason people play slots is for the opportunity to win some significant change in the blink of an eye and with a seemingly small initial investment. True, you tend to lose the overwhelming majority of your spins, but the spins you do win are often for sizeable sums. So on slots, you lose a little at a time in the hopes of winning a lot all at once.
So, too, with Let It Ride. You might find yourself losing hand after hand for the first half hour, only to come roaring back with a premium hand paying large sums. The many ?downs? merely whet a player?s appetite for a significant ?up.?
And the game easy to play, too.
In front of each player are three betting squares labeled ?1? and ?2? and ?$.? The player places a bet in each square to start.
The object of the game is to make the best poker hand that is a pair of tens or better with your three cards and two community cards. You are not playing to beat the dealer as in Caribbean Stud, blackjack or Three-Card Poker, merely to get a good hand that pays a bonus according to a set payoff schedule. This bonus schedule applies to all hands. If, at the end of play, you have three bets working, you will receive the bonus on all three bets. If you only have one bet working, you will only receive the bonus on that one bet.
The dealer gives each player three cards and puts two cards face down as ?community? cards. The players now look at their three-card hands.
The players can now decide to withdraw their number ?1? bet or let it ride. To let a bet ride, a player must put his three cards face down under his wager or behind his number ?1? bet. To withdraw the number ?1? bet, the player must scratch the felt to indicate to the dealer that the bet is to be returned. Players are not allowed to touch their chips once they are on the layout so the players cannot take back their bets themselves. The dealer will push the bet back if the player so desires.
Once the players have decided what to do with bet number ?1? and the dealer has returned all withdrawals from play, the dealer now turns over the first of the two community cards. Again the players can decide whether to take off their number ?2? bet or let that bet ride.
An important point to note is that the player who allows his number ?1? bet to ride does not have to let his number ?2? bet ride. Each bet is handled separately and there is a distinct strategy for each round of play [see my book Bold Card Play: Best Strategies for Caribbean Stud, Let It Ride and Three Card Poker]. The ?$? bet cannot be taken down.
Finally, the dealer turns over the second community card and the players are paid off according to the payoff schedule or their losing bets are collected, as the case may be. Some casinos have begun to offer a ?Bonus? jackpot for an additional side bet, as is done with Caribbean Stud. You place this bet at the beginning of the round and it is not returnable as are bets number ?1? and number ?2.?
If you use the simplest possible strategy, letting all bets ride when you have a pair of tens or better or a possible straight flush on rounds ?1? and/or ?2,? you can expect to win bet ?1? approximately 93 percent of the time, although the ?1? bet will only be ?in action? about seven percent of the time. On the ?2? bet, you?ll win approximately 90 percent of the time, and the bet will be ?in action? about 16 percent of the time. Many of these wins on bets ?1? and ?2? could be for significant money as well. This will almost, but not quite, make up for the fact that you?ll only win around 24 percent of your ?$? bets -- and that?s how the casino makes its $.
Still, Let It Ride is fun, and with the right strategy, plenty of patience, and a small bet to bankroll ratio, it can give the casino player a hell of a ride!
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