An Oldie but a Goodie

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Mississippi Stud, which is a relatively new game that has been growing quickly in popularity.  Mississippi Stud was based on one of the granddaddy games - Let It Ride.  I have frequently referred to Mississippi Stud as Let It Ride on Speed.  The critical difference between the two games is that in Let It Ride, one wager is mandatory and the other two are optional.  Your choice is to let it ride or to pull it back.  In Mississippi Stud, your choice is to make a wager or to Fold.  The math - and thus the strategy - is vastly different for these two scenarios.


            Let It Ride is a paytable game.  You are not playing against the Dealer.  The only goal is to get a winning hand, which for Let It Ride is a Pair of 10's or Better.  To begin play, each Player makes 3 equal wagers, called '1', '2' and '$'.  As cards are dealt, the Player will have the option to take the '1' and '2' wager back.  This is a unique mechanism, but mathematically and financially, it is no different than the Player making just the '$' wager and then optionally making the '1' and '2' wager as the cards are dealt. 


            After the wagers are made, the Dealer deals three cards to each Player and then 2 cards FACE DOWN in the center of the table.  The Player now has the option to let the '1' wager ride or to pull it back.  The Dealer will then expose the 1st community card.  At this point, the Player has the option to let the '2' wager ride or to pull it back.  The Dealer will then turn over the 2nd community card and pay the Player according to the following paytable for each wager still in play:


                Hand                                  Pays (TO 1)

  • Royal Flush                                 1000

  • Straight Flush                               200

  • Four of a Kind                                 50

  • Full House                                        11

  • Flush                                                  8

  • Straight                                              5

  • Three of a Kind                                3

  • Two Pair                                            2

  • Pair 10's or Better                             1


            So, for each hand, the Player has two decisions:

  •      Should the '1' Wager be pulled down
  •      Should the '2' Wager be pulled down


           Because the wagers are optional, the mathematical equation that is in place is whether the particular wager that is being left in play will make money.  So, we look at every possible draw from each point, add up the coins that would be paid out for that particular wager and if it more than the total amount that would be wagered, the Player should let the wager ride.  Looking at a relatively easy scenario, let's imagine that the first 4 cards that are dealt are as follows:


            Player's Hand:                         7♦        8♥        10♣

            Community Card:                   6♦


            At this point, the Player needs one of 7 cards to win.  Either the 2nd community card must be a 9 to give the Player a Straight, or a 10 to give the Player a Low Pair.  A Straight pays 5 to 1 (or 6 in total).  4 Possible Straights times 6 = 24 coins.  The Pair pays 1 to 1 (or 2 in total).  There are 3 possible 10's so this is 6 coins in total.  Add it up and we get a payout of 30 coins.  There are 48 possible draws.  Since the payout is less than 48, it does NOT pay for the Player to leave this wager up. 


            As always, you don't need to perform any complex (or simple) math computations at the table.  Computer programs were created to run every possible hand and from these programs, a strategy has been developed.  For the '1' wager, the Player should let the wager ride if his 3-card hand is one of the following:

  •  Three of a Kind
  • High Pair (10's or Better)
  • 3-Card Royal Flush
  • 3-Card Straight Flush (Inside or Outside, NOT Double Inside)


            This strategy will result in the Player leaving this wager in play only 7% of the time.  93% of these hands will wind up as a winner, and the expected value of the '1' wager is a whopping 2.4. 


            The '2' wager stays in play about 15% of the time and also has an expected value of about 2.4.  Obviously these two wagers provide the balance for the '$' wager which has a large house advantage.  When all is said and done, the overall payback of Let It Ride is about 97.18%


            The betting structure of Let It Ride makes it far less intimidating than Mississippi Stud.  You can also get by with a much smaller bankroll.  The average wager in Let It Ride is about 1.25 units per hand.  So, if you're at a $5 table, you'll find yourself wagering about $6.25 per hand on average.  This is far less than Mississippi Stud.


            If you'd like to learn more about Let It Ride, you can check out my booklet Expert Strategy for Let It Ride.  If you'd like to order a copy, you can do so by sending a check for $4.95 to Gambatria, P.O. Box 86474, Las Vegas, NV 89133.  The price includes 1st class shipping and handling.