It’s the kind of hand all gamblers dream about…
On February 14th at New Jersey’s Betfair Casino, a high-rolling patron won an astounding $1.52 million dollars on a single hand. The player is a man from Union County, whose name has not been released.
Here is how he did it…
The man was playing Let It Ride, a table game that Betfair offers at three different bet levels. You can choose to play $1 to $5, $10 to $50, or $100 to $500.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Let It Ride is different from a game like blackjack in one important way, because you must actually make three matching bets to start each hand.
(My screenshots are at the other end of the financial spectrum, when I was betting only $1 to test out the games in early 2014! 🙂 )
That means he put up $1500 in total on the “1”, “2”, and “$” bets, which must all match.
But Mr “Union County” wasn’t done yet. He also placed an optional bonus bet, called “3 Card Bonus”. He wagered the max of $500 on that spot as well, so he has $2000 riding on the upcoming hand.
If you are not familiar with Let It Ride, here is how the game is played:
You make all three bets initially, and the dealer reveals the first three cards of your hand. There is no dealer hand in this game. Instead, your eventual five-card hand is compared to the paytable, and any poker hand of a pair of tens or better wins.
Now you have an option of what to do with bet #1. If you like what you see in the first three cards, you can “Let It Ride”, meaning bet #1 stays in play. Or, if you think the hand looks like a loser, you can pull back bet #1.
The fourth card of the hand is dealt, and you make the same decision for bet #2. Leave it in play, or pull it back.
Bet #3 must stay in play, so at this point the fifth and final card is revealed. If you have a winner, all bets still in play are paid according to the paytable. That’s it. Pretty simple.
You can see that although our player has $1500 in action on the main game, only one of his $500 bets must stay in play.
The bonus bet is a side bet that only is affected by the first three cards. If the first three cards are a pair or better, the bonus bet is a winner, and paid immediately. If not, the bet is a loser, and collected immediately. The top payout on the bonus bet is 200:1 for a “Mini Royal”, which is AKQ suited.
So, what happened on the actual dream hand?
With $1500 wagered on the main bets plus $500 on the bonus bet, the first three dealer cards revealed were all diamonds, and they were either (Ten, Jack, Queen), or (Jack, Queen, King). It’s not a Mini Royal, but it IS a straight flush. That’s already a pretty amazing win…
A Straight Flush on the Bonus Bet wins 40:1, so the $500 wager on the bonus just won $20,000!
But of course, the real excitement comes when you realize that the Royal Flush is still a possibility on the main game, even though it is over a 1000:1 shot with two cards left to draw.
With the possibility of a monster win on the line, our gambler lets the first bet ride. The next card dealt continues the royal flush!
Of course he lets the next bet ride as well. As you know, the fifth and final card completed his Royal Flush in diamonds.
The game pays 1000:1 for a royal, on each of the $500 bets.
That is $500,000 (cha-ching!) plus $500,000 (cha-ching!) plus $500,000 (cha-ching!).
Add in the $20,000 win on the bonus bet plus the return of the original $2000 wagered, and the total payout on the hand is an amazing $1,522,000.
Can you imagine what it must have felt like to see the cards fall into place like that?
Wow, just wow!
Congrats Mr “Union County”! You’re a lucky man. Way to “Let It Ride”!
Interestingly, at many casinos this would have been a much smaller win. Most land-based casinos and online casinos that offer this game also post a maximum aggregate payout of $50,000 or $100,000 on this game to prevent just this kind of monster payout.
Kudos to Betfair for their willingness to gamble on this game. This player sure made them pay for it though! 🙂
Want to try your hand at Let It Ride? Here’s the best strategy:
Of course, you should let all remaining bets ride once you have a certain winner, which is a pair of tens or higher.
After that obvious rule, here are the trickier hands:
On the three card hands, you should let it ride if you have:
1) A three card straight flush with no gaps, except A23 and 234.
2) Three cards toward a straight flush, but having one gap, as long as one or more cards are a ten or higher. Example: 78T suited.
3) Three cards toward a straight flush, but having two gaps, as long as at least two cards are a ten or higher. Example: 8JQ suited.
A common mistake is for players to let the first bet ride when they have a small pair (lower than tens.) Don’t do it.
Quick tip: You will notice that all of the above hands require that all three cards be suited. If you don’t have a high pair, and your cards aren’t suited, pull the first bet. If the three cards are suited, refer to the list.
On the four card hands, you should let the next bet ride if you have:
1) Four cards to a flush.
2) Four cards to a outside straight, as long as at least one card is ten or higher: 789T, 89TJ, 9TJQ, and TJQK.
(I’m leaving out a couple of other straight draws where your expected return is the same whether you let it ride or pull back the next bet. In other words, those hands are an even shot. I say pull the bet.)
The strategy is pretty easy, and the house edge on the game is reasonable at around 3.5% of the amount of one bet.
Even the side bet is reasonably priced at a 4.3% house edge. (I would carefully compare pay tables if you choose to play this game elsewhere. Betfair deals the game with pretty generous paytables. Not every casino does that.)