Unlike all of the other games we’ve featured previously, Let It Ride is truly a modern, American creation.
John Breeding, founder of Shuffle Entertainment, invented an automatic deck shuffler for casinos. In order to popularize the device, in 1993 he created Let It Ride, which is a player-friendly variation of Five-Card Stud (poker). Compared to other card games, Let It Ride is played at a relatively relaxed pace, which makes it a good option for newbies and people less interested in pulse-pounding gambles.
The game first appeared in Reno but continued to spread over the course of several years. By 1995, Let It Ride was generating more revenue for Breeding’s company than the actual shuffler! Today, it’s a very common game; naturally, the Riviera’s own 100,000 square foot Las Vegas casino space offers it. According to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas Center for Gaming Research, as of 2010, there were more Let It Ride units on the Strip than pai gow, keno or bingo games.
How To Play Let It Ride
The game combines three player cards and two community cards, and runs roughly like this:
Cards are dealt – three to the players, two to the community (face-down). The players look at their hands and, before any community cards are revealed, are given the chance to withdraw one-third of their initial wagers.
The first community card is revealed (the second is left face-down). The players again have the chance to withdraw one-third of their initial bets. A player “lets it ride” whenever he or she decides not to withdraw part of the wager.
The second community card is revealed, and winners are determined.
Marketing, The Game
Moving Card Shufflers
Shuffle Entertainment produces gambling devices, most notably an automatic card shuffler called the Shuffle Master. Funnily enough, Breeding had no real background in gambling or casinos. He invented his shuffler after reading an article about card counting. But as casinos began using multiple decks for blackjack, Breeding’s single-deck shuffler found itself being squeezed out.
Ever the entrepreneur, he simply invented a brand new, single-deck game: Let It Ride.
So the game wasn’t invented so much to please gamers as to move products; but obviously to spur adoption, it had to be an attractive game. That’s part of the beauty of Let It Ride: it’s designed to appeal to both players and casinos.
For players, it’s simpler than many casino games, so it’s less intimidating and easier to play. You’ll also note that it gives players more control, with multiple opportunities to change their wager, which is reassuring in a gamble.
Casinos also have reason to like Let It Ride. Like other poker-based games, player skill can affect the house advantage, but the game still offers a relatively high house advantage. Depending on how you crunch the numbers, the casino advantage is either 3.51% or 2.86%. (That means, for three $1 base bets, the casino will earn back – on average – 3.5 cents per hand).
As a point of comparison, the house advantage in craps averages 1.4%.
Even though Let It Ride offers a high house advantage, it compensates with some extremely high payouts on winning hands.
No wonder Let It Ride is popular among players and casinos!