Let It Ride Complete Strategy Guide
Let It Ride is a poker-based table game that gives players opportunities to make multiple decisions about manipulating how much they want to bet on a given hand. The strategies are interesting without being too difficult in terms of complication, which makes it a popular game among a number of players.
Getting Started With Let It Ride
The basic idea behind most casino poker games is that you’ll make a bet and then decide whether to make additional bets given different pieces of information. That same concept is used in Let It Ride with a bit of a twist:
You never have the option to fold and limit your losses in this game with no chance of winning. Instead, you always have a chance to win no matter how you decide to play your hand.
Always having an opportunity to come out ahead combined with the fact that you can win some pretty big payouts for a casino poker title make this an attractive game for many. However, you need to learn the strategies involved if you want to play this game on a high enough level to boost your chances of coming out on top.
Important Rules to Point Out
The rules of this game are pretty straightforward. You make a bet to start with, and you have the options to add additional bets to your hand as you see more cards. Specifically, you can make an additional bet after seeing your first three cards and after seeing your fourth card. These wagers are worth the size of your ante, so you can actually bet up to three times total what you initially did to see the hand.
Important Concept: What this means is that you’ll have to make your betting decisions based primarily on made hands when you have three cards, but draws can be added to that decision when you have four cards if they are strong enough.
From there, you’ll have some pretty strong wins available for higher payouts. For example, a royal flush pays 1,000x in most games, and you can generally get paid for picking up at least a pair of tens.
With that said, it’s the mid-rank hands whose payouts are really important to take note of. A flush gives an 8x payout, and a straight has a payout of 5x, which is significantly lower. What we’re seeing here is that, while flushes and straights are right beside of each other in the rankings, that a flush is worth quite a bit more and is usually easier to hit once you have a draw because more cards will make the hand.
We’ve pointed out some key ideas here that inform the strategies that we’re going to break down and recommend in the following. These concepts form the basis of the suggestions that we have in the next sections, and you really need to understand why they work this way before moving on.
Strategies for Playing Three Cards
There are basically three sets of hands that you can profitably raise with when you have three cards. We’re going to address each of them in the following.
Made Hands: Pairs and Three of a Kind
If you have a pair of tens and up, or if you have three of a kind, then you’re guaranteed to at least get your wagers back if you raise. However, you’ll have chances to improve your hand to pick up even bigger wins, and that’s why you should always raise if you have a made hand of a pair of tens or higher.
There are no exceptions to this rule, and while it’s straightforward, this does not mean you should raise if you have a pair of twos through nines by themselves.
Any three cards that could make a royal flush put together a particularly strong draw for a few reasons. First, they have good chance to make a flush or a royal (or sometimes just a straight or straight flush depending on the specific cards, but this is a bonus).
However, they also have good chances to make a pair that will pay out, and that adds a lot of value to why you would like to see these combinations of cards in the first place. It’s the sort of thing that makes sense once you think about it, but if you don’t make it conscious in your mind, you can often miss this and pass over an easy raise.
One more strong draw you can take is when you have three consecutive cards that are all in the same suit so that the highest of the three is at least a five. Something like 6-7-8 in hearts is an example of this, and this is so strong because of the tremendous chances of hitting both straights and flushes as well as the long-shot chance of picking up an actual straight flush.
There are some weaker draws that can be profitable to raise here, and these are some of the hardest hands to play in the game because they’re a bit tricky to learn.
Essentially, these are straight flush draws that are made weaker by having a gap in them. For example, something like 6-8-9 or 4-6-7 have gaps for the 7 and the 5, respectively. You can even have something with two gaps like 8-J-Q or 6-8-T.
You can play these weaker draws if you have at least one high card (ten or better) in exchange for each gap. With 8-J-Q, for example, there are two gaps for the 9 and T. However, there are also two high cards with the J and Q, so you would be fine to raise.
Strategies for Playing Four Cards
Playing with four cards is a little more straightforward than playing with three because you’ve already seen just about every card that there is to come. On top of that, you’ll also have more clarity on flush and straight draws that may have started on the first betting round.
With that said, we’ll get into the different spots where you can raise with four cards here.
Various Made Hands
As is the case with three cards, if you have a made hand that’s a pair of tens or better, then you always raise here. The same reasoning applies: In the worst case with a single paying pair, you’ll just have your wager returned to you. However, if you make two pair or better, then you’ll turn a profit by at least doubling your raise.
There are a few major draws that you can raise with here. Four-card draws to royal flushes or straight flushes are always acceptable to raise no matter how the cards or gaps are oriented or whether or not you have high cards in the straight flush draw. These are really easy to play because there are no exceptions or individual pieces of information to remember.
The same is actually the case when you have four to a flush. The ranks of the cards do not matter at all: If you have four cards with the same suit, then you should raise because it will always be profitable no matter what.
With straight draws, however, things quickly get more complicated. As we noted further up above when talking about the rules and payouts, straights are harder to hit than flushes once you have a draw, and they pay significantly less (5x compared to 8x). Because of this, you can only play straight draws with four consecutive cards (ie: no gaps), and you can only play them if you have at least one card that’s ten or higher.
Break Even Propositions
Interestingly enough, there are two situations with four cards where you can raise if you want because you’ll break even on it with no win or loss on average. This increases your variance a bit, but that’s something that many players enjoy.
The first situation is when you have four cards to a straight draw with no gaps but also no high cards either. The lack of the high card drops you down to being break even compared to having at least one high card would make the raise profitable.
The second situation is when you have four cards to a straight draw with a gap, but you have four high cards. This can include hands like T-J-K-A or J-Q-K-A. The value of being able to hit all of those high pairs combined with the off chance of hitting a straight makes these hands just good enough to be break even. Note that T-J-Q-K does not fall under this rule because there is not a gap, and it’s actually a very profitable hand to play.
The strategies involved for Let It Ride are detailed, but they’re not too complicated because there’s a fairly limited amount of information to work with. This is because you’re dealing with a pay table and the cards that are in your hand only instead of trying to keep up with a dealer that has a hand that you’re going to shown down with.