Let it Ride Progressives
Let It Ride is a casino card game based on the standard card ranks of poker. The dealers deal 3 cards to a player, who then forms a hand with those three cards and 2 community cards. Let It Ride poker was invented and trademarked in 1995 by the card shuffling machine manufacturer, Shuffle Master, as a means of marketing its shuffling machines. Years later, the game Let It Ride has made Shuffle Master a great deal more money than the casino game aids ever did.
Progressive Let It Ride uses the side bet rule to give players a chance at a huge progressive jackpot. The player must wager $1 on a bet to activate this opportunity. Once the bet is on, five hands result in payouts: a flush, a full house, a four of a kind, a straight flush, and a royal flush. The 4 of a kind, full house, and flush result in fixed payouts of $500, $100, and $75 respectively. The straight flush results in you winning 10% of the progressive jackpot amount, while the royal flush results in a 100% payout of the progressive. Each time the progressive jackpot doesn't hit by a straight flush or royal flush not appearing, then the progressive jackpot increases by a small amount.
Carousel Progressive Jackpots
Let It Ride jackpots increase at differing speeds, depending on how big of a network of machines feed the same jackpot. If a series of similar progressive Let It Ride games at a particular casino feed the jackpot, this is called a carousel progressive jackpot, because a bank or carousel of machines each feed the prize until one of them hits. This makes the progressive jackpot rise at a steady, respectable rate, though it's nowhere near the rate the networked Let It Ride games increase.
Networked Progressive Jackpot
Networked progressives links the gaming machines over a wider area, going beyond the confines of one single land-based casino or Let It Ride games in an online casino. This network of linked games increases the number of games feeding the prize amount at any one time, so the progressive jackpot naturally increases much quicker than it would otherwise. If you can find this form of Let It Ride, play the progressive network variant.
Realtime Gaming Let It Ride Progressives
The progressive Let It Ride games on certain Real Time Gaming casinos has a jackpot of nearly $46,000 right now. RTG casinos accept US players and use a slick, well-known casino software to power their games. These casinos are almost always licensed in the Netherlands Antilles or Kahnawake and tend to be based in Curacao or other portions of the Netherlands Antilles or, less frequently, in Costa Rica. American gamblers can use standard payment methods like VISA, Mastercard, NETELLER, and Moneybookers, so this is a legitmate casino network with a high jackpot amount.
Progressive Side Bets
Keep in mind that the house edge on side bets are almost always higher than they are on the standard game. Whether you're playing Let It Ride, Caribbean stud, or one of the blackjack variants, players pay in odds to have a chance at a bigger payout. This means players need to be patient, because they will face longer losing streaks. Don't take that advice the wrong way and assume my strategy suggestion is to keep feeding cash into a game you expect to lose most of the time. If you're a player who wants to play only the highest expectation games, you'll want to steer clear of just about any side bet.
Let It Ride Strategy
Like blackjack and video poker, Let It Ride is a game in which better strategy means better odds of winning. So many of the games which offer a progressive jackpot (like slots) depend only on luck. Strategy tips to consider include raising your bet when you have 2 cards to a straight or when you have a pair. The payouts on hitting a straight are enough that it pays to increase your bets, even if you still have a decent chance of losing. Though a low pair is still going to lose, you're hoping for a three of a kind when raising when you have a pair lower than a pair of 10s.
Fixed Jackpot Let It Ride Jackpots
Many casinos in Las Vegas offer a Let It Ride jackpot with the flat-top amount of 20,000 to 1 or 25,000 to 1. All of these payouts are sucker bets which have a house edge between 13.8% and 36.5%. Lady Luck Casino has the best odds, but all of these are atrocious. You'll find worse variations of the non-progressive Let It Ride side bet at casinos like Circus Circus, Bally's, Freemont, Main Street Station, The Hilton, Grand Biloxi, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay, Four Queens, Paris, Excalibur, The Venetian, the Golden Nugget, Harrah's, Golden Gate, New York New York, and the MGM Grand. In all cases, avoid the non-progressive side bet on Let It Ride, because the vast majority of gamblers will be sucked dry by this bet. Find better progressives to play.
Let It Ride Progressive Jackpot
In the end, you pay for the shot at a progressive jackpot. People who play the lottery do so (hopefully) knowing the game only has a 60% expected return, a rate that would get live casino owners and online casino owners arrested if they offered such low odds. Still, people flock to the lotto drawings, because they know someone is going to get lucky. Playing the Let It Ride progressive doesn't have nearly those long odds, but the same concept applies. You give away better odds for a shot at a jackpot prize most gamblers can only dream about.
Letting Bets Ride
When you make a bet, you place three equal sets of chips in three different circles, marked 1, 2, and $. The "$" bet is set in stone: this stake cannot be taken back. The "1" and "2" bets can be taken back at various times of the hand. Before you see the community cards (dealt face down), you can choose to pull back the 1-bet or let it ride. After seeing the first community card, you can choose to pull back the 2-bet or let it ride, too. After seeing the second community card, it's a matter of the dealer determining whether your hand is good enough to warrant a payout. This is how the original game is played. In Let It Ride Progressive, an additional side bet happens.
To win the progressive jackpot, you'll need to collect a royal flush. The progressive jackpot starts at $10,000, while the break-even point is $220,000. The average payout on this bet is around $100,000. If you get a straight flush, this qualifies you to win 10% of the progressive jackpot. While it's not as huge of a payout, the jackpot is still a substantial amount. The four of a kind, full house, and flush also win payouts, though they are a fixed amount, not a percentage.
Progressive Jackpot Warning
All of this might sound great, but the progressive jackpot is what's known as a sucker bet in the gambling industry. The house edge fluctuates, since it's based on a progressive jackpot. If the jackpot is only $10,000, then the house edge is around 60%. If the jackpot is $100,000, then the house edge drops to "only" 34%. If the jackpot climbs to $200,000, then the house edge on the side bet is still around 5%--more than the main wager. Only when the jackpot rises to $220,000 is the side bet an even-money wager. In the history of the game, the jackpot only reached that range one time.
In any other circumstance, you'd tell yourself a 30% house edge is crazy and you'd walk away from the table. Players put up with a lot for their chance at a progressive jackpot, since a couple of hundred grand could solve a lot of money problems for most people. Make the decision for yourself, but full disclosure means you should understand you're betting on one of the worst propositions in the casino, from an odds perspective. The good news is you have the discretion to make this wager. I've seen online casinos which make the progressive side bet mandatory. If you have the choice, it's probably best to avoid the bet altogether, though that spoils the fun of Let It Ride Progressive.
3 Card Bet
The three-card bet is also optional. In this game, you receive bonus payouts if you make the wager and the cards you're dealt include at least a pair. This game allows payments for a pair (1:1), a flush (3:1), a straight (6:1), a three of a kind (30:1), a straight flush (40:1), and a "mini royal" (50:1). The mini royal is a suited ace, king, and queen. The house edge on this game sits at just over 7%, which is comparable to many slot machines house edges, but is worse than most other games in the casino. As always, the side bets offer worse odds than the main wager.