Miscellaneous Frequently Asked Questions

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Page last modified: 1-31-95

Q:M6  How is Let It Ride played?
A:M6  (Steve Brecher)

  Each player puts up three bets of identical size and is dealt three cards;
  two more cards are dealt face-down in front of the dealer.  After
  examining his three cards, the player may elect to have one bet returned
  or to "let it ride."  One of the down cards is then turned over, and then
  the player may again elect to have one bet returned -- this election is
  independent of the prior election.  Up to this point players are not
  allowed to disclose their three-card hands to each other.  Now the second
  down card is turned over; the player's three cards and the two common
  cards in front of the dealer comprise a five-card poker hand.  The player
  is paid on each of his one, two or three remaining bets according to the
  following schedule:

       Pair of 10s or better         1:1
       Two pair                      2:1
       Three of a kind               3:1
       Straight                      5:1
       Flush                         8:1
       Full House                   11:1
       Four of a Kind               50:1
       Straight Flush              200:1
       Royal Flush                1000:1

  Being able to have up to two of the three bets returned by the dealer is
  logically equivalent to starting with one bet and being allowed to put out
  up to two more.  I surmise that the game is structured as it is because it
  would otherwise be too easy for players to covertly press bets -- the bet
  circles on the layout are quite close together.

  The optimal strategy for this game is as follows.  On the first three
  cards, take back a bet unless one holds:

        --a pair of 10s or better, or three of a kind; or
        --three cards to a straight flush, provided:
              --contiguous and 543 or higher, or
              --one "hole" and at least one card is 10 or higher, or
              --two "holes" and at least two cards are 10 or higher.

  On the fourth card, take back a bet unless one has:

        --a pair of 10s or better, two pair, or three or four of a kind; or
        --a four-flush; or
        --an open-ended straight including a 10 or higher.
        The following bets are optional, i.e., expected return = 1.000...
        --an open-ended straight not including a 10 or higher; or
        --all cards 10 or higher (an inside A-to-10 straight).

  Playing this strategy provides an expected return of 0.971352 per unit
  bet.  The average bet per hand is 1.223707 units (where one to three units
  are bet per hand and no optional bets are made), and the average unit cost
  per hand is 0.035057.


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