By Henry Tamburin

Objective: The objective is to make a winning poker hand (at least a pair of tens or higher) from the combination of three player cards and two community cards.

Payout Table: The basic payout table offered by most casinos is summarized in Table 1. In includes a royal flush payout of 1,000 to 1. Some casinos (for example in North and South Dakota and Colorado) use an alternate payout table that includes a 500 to 1 royal flush payoff.

Playing Rules: A Let It Ride table is similar in size to a blackjack table with enough room for 7 players. The dealer uses a single deck of playing cards that is shuffled with an automatic card shuffler (which, by the way, is manufactured by the developers of Let it Ride).  The game begins with each player placing three separate bets of equal size in three betting areas located in front of each player on the layout. These betting spaces are labeled “1”, “2”, and “$”.

Once the mandatory three bets are made, the dealer will deal three cards face down to each player and two community cards will be dealt in front of the dealer. Unlike video poker or draw poker, there are no draw cards in Let It Ride.

After the cards are dealt, each player examines their three-card hand and decides based on the strength of the hand whether to let bet number 1 ride or to take it down. Each player in turn will signal his decision to the dealer in the following way. If you want to let the bet ride, slide your three cards face down under your chips in the number 1 betting circle. If instead you want to remove your bet, indicate this to the dealer by scratching your cards on the felt surface toward you (like you do when you signal a blackjack dealer you want a card in a single- deck game). The dealer will then push the chips you bet in the number 1 betting circle toward you (do not remove the chips while they are inside the betting circle, let the dealer push them toward you).

After all the players have made their decisions, the dealer will face one of the community cards. This card represents every player’s fourth card. Based on the strength of their four-card hand, players must decide again on whether to let their bet in the number 2 betting circle ride or to take it down. You signal the dealer when it’s your turn in the same way as described above. After this decision is made, tuck your three cards face down under your chips in the third betting circle (labeled with a dollar sign). There are no more decisions to make.

After all the players have made their second decision, the dealer will face the second community card representing every player’s fifth card. The dealer will then face each player’s hand and compare the five-card poker hand to the pay table (the five-card hand is the initial three-card hand dealt to the player plus the two community cards). If the player ends up with at least a pair of tens or higher, the player will receive a payoff (see Table 1 for payoff schedule). The payoff schedule is also clearly labeled on the layout.

A typical three card poker table layout

You are not permitted on your second decision to change your number 1 bet. If it was pulled down, it stays down, and if you let it ride, it stays as a live bet. You can take down the first bet and let the second bet ride or vice versa (each decision is independent). You can never remove the third bet (the one in the $ betting circle) and you are not permitted to show your hand to your fellow players.

Payout Limit: Many casinos limit their payouts on winning hands. Some have $10,000 limits and others $25,000, $50,000, $70,000 and some even higher.  For example if the casino had a $50,000 payout limit and you were to let ride three $25 bets and get a royal flush, you would only be paid $50,000 rather than the $75,000 that you were entitled to. Therefore, always ask about table payout limits before you play. A simple rule to remember to be certain you don’t get short changed on a big win is to never bet more than 1/3000 of the table limit.  For a $50,000 table limit, for example, your maximum bet in each of the three betting circles should be $16.

Basic Playing Strategy: The following basic playing strategy will reduce the casino’s edge and improve your chances of winning.

You would let your first bet ride if your first three cards contain any of the hands listed below; otherwise you should remove your bet. Generally to let your bet ride you want a paying hand, or three cards to a royal or straight flush with the exceptions noted below

First Three Cards-Let It Ride

  • Any paying hand (high pair, three-of-a-kind)
  • Any three cards to a royal flush (e.g. 10, J, K or clubs)
  • Three consecutive cards to a straight flush (e.g. 4,5,6 of spades) with the lowest card a 3 or higher (i.e. do not let the first bet ride with A, 2, 3 or 2, 3, 4 suited)
  • Three almost consecutive cards to a straight flush where there is a 4 card spread with at least one high card (e.g. 7, 8, 10 of clubs)
  • Three almost consecutive cards to straight flush where there is a 5 card spread with at least two high cards (e.g. 7,10, J of hearts).

The four card playing strategy is straightforward. You generally need to have either a winning hand or close to a winning hand to let your second bet ride.

First Four Cards-Let It Ride

  • Four cards to a royal flush
  • Four cards to a straight flush
  • Four cards to a flush
  • Four-of-a-kind
  • Three-of-a-kind
  • Two pair
  • A pair of 10’s, J’s, Q’s, K’s, or A’s
  • Four consecutive cards to a straight with at least one high card.

Expected Return: The house edge in Let it Ride with the above playing strategy is 3.5% (based on the ante bet). 

A typical let it ride pay table as shown on the table layout

Let It Ride Payout Table

Let It Ride Hand


Royal Flush (A, K, Q, J, 10 of same suit)

1,000 to 1

Straight Flush (Five consecutive cards of the same suit)

200 to 1

Four -of-a-Kind (Four cards of the same rank)

50 to 1

Full House (Three-of-a-kind plus a pair)

11 to 1

Flush (Five cards of the same suit) 

8 to 1

Straight (Five consecutive cards but not of the same rank)

5 to 1

Three-of-a-Kind (Three cards of the same rank)

3 to 1

Two pair (Two separate pairs of identically ranked cards)  

2 to 1

Pair of tens, jacks, queens, kings, aces

1 to 1 

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