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.

From the rec.gambling FAQ

I got the horse right here
The name is Paul Revere
And here's a guy that says that the weather's clear
Can do, can do, this guy says the horse can do
If he says the horse can do, can do, can do.

-Nicely, Fugue for the Tinhorns, from Guys and Dolls

Have you ever wished you knew, in advance, what a day's stock changes would be? Or what a day's lottery numbers would be? Have you ever wondered what you'd do if someone handed you a slip of paper and whispered "This is a sure thing. But you got to bet it all"?

I think most people have wondered at some point or other what their life would be like. Richer, for sure. But there's something that many folks forget - it's not just having the information. You have to be willing to take the risk.

Would you?

Let It Ride is the story of an average man. He lives in Florida. His name is Jay Trotter. He has a wife, and a job, and bills to pay. And a slight problem with gambling - in his case, the ponies. Then one day, his friend Looney (who also has a gambling problem, albeit one much more catholic in its scope) comes to him with a Sure Thing. No, really. A Sure Thing. See, Looney's a cabbie, and he likes to tape record people in his cab for grins. And on his tape, he hears some gents discussing fixing a horse race. So, he reasons, why not follow on?

And thus begins Trotter's day. It's a weird day. It is, as he tells us, a Very Good Day.

Because that one sure thing starts something. Trotter is Touched By The Gods of Odds. He has it. He can't lose.

So what does he do?

He lets it ride.

Throughout the movie, he learns things. He learns about the people he calls his friends. He learns about the people who work the track. He learns about people he otherwise would never have rubbed elbows with. He gets arrested. He gets away. He makes up with his wife, to whom he promised he would be home for their anniversary, without (good heavens, no) stopping by the track. He takes it in the chops when she figures out where he is. And, of course, he learns about himself.

This isn't a serious movie. It's not serious about itself, either. It's a lark, in the true sense of the term. It's lighthearted. It's got humor, both explicit and subtle. And it has some decent actors who, for a change, all seem to know exactly what movie they're in together - and it all just works. Despite that, it seems to have been a severe flop, grossing less than 1/4 of its budget at the box office.

What happens in the end? I'm not gonna tell you that.

Give it a shot. You'll end up singing the round, too.

For Paul Revere I'll bite
I hear his foot's all right
Of course it all depends if it rained last night...

Let It Ride
Released 1989 by Paramount Pictures
(thanks to IMDB)

For Halspal, who has fine taste in films.

Iron Noder 2010

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