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Best of Alan Krigman

Gaming Guru

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Is there a “best” way to play Let It Ride?

10 June 2013

Question: Is it true there are rules to decide when to take your first and second bets down at Let It Ride? If so, what are they?

Answer: Your first decision is made on three cards. The optimum strategy is to keep bet #1 alive with any winning pair (10s or higher), three of a kind, or three-card possible straight flush.

Your second decision is made on four cards. Let bet #2 ride with any winning pair, two pairs, three of a kind, or four of a kind. Also keep it in action with a possible straight flush or flush, or with a possible straight comprising 10s through aces.

In each such instance, the "expected value" or "average return" for the associated bet is over 100 percent. That is, the bet is actually – or statistically – worth more in action than taken down. On other hands, expectation is less than 100 percent, so you're better off recovering the money than taking the risk.

Following these rules, you have an edge on the first two bets. The casino has the advantage on the third bet, where you have no choice. Accounting for the edges on each bet and the chances of getting hands on which you stay in action, the overall house advantage is about 2.8 percent. If you play your hunches, for instance letting your first bet ride on three unsuited high cards, you'll think you're a gambling genius when you get lucky with a high pair, two pairs, straight, or three of a kind. But you're giving the house more edge than it's willing to take, and playing this way costs bettors money over extended periods.
Alan Krigman

Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.
Alan Krigman
Alan Krigman was a weekly syndicated newspaper gaming columnist and Editor & Publisher of Winning Ways, a monthly newsletter for casino aficionados. His columns focused on gambling probability and statistics. He passed away in October, 2013.