How to Let It Ride Poker Was Invented

Let It Ride is a table game manufactured by Shuffle Master, Inc., the company that introduced the Shuffle Master shuffling machines to casinos worldwide. For those of you not familiar with this machine, it is simply a mechanical device that shuffles decks of cards.

The machines can now shuffle from one to six decks and are used in many table games such as blackjack, Let It Ride, and Caribbean Stud, as well as in many Pai Gow Poker games. In games like Let It Ride and Caribbean Stud, the machine spits out shuffled hands in preconfigured amounts of cards per player hand.

The story behind this game is the stuff Hollywood movies are made of. As the myth goes, this tale of success began one rainy day at a truck stop somewhere on the long-haul truck routes in the midwestern United States. A trucker from Minnesota, by the name of John Breeding, was mulling over an article he read in the Wall Street Journal, at least that’s what it says in the Shuffle Master PR kit (it should already be obvious that John Breeding was no ordinary truck driver since he was reading the Wall Street Journal rather than some of the other, more popular, men’s publications). Anyhow, so the story goes, this particular article was about the problems many Atlantic City casinos were having with card counters at their blackjack tables.

A card counter is a professional blackjack player who has mastered a system of tracking the cards and thus is able to beat the game in most sessions. This is not illegal, but casinos don’t like card counters because they win so much. This fateful truck stop and cogitation took place in 1982. John Breeding became convinced that he could invent the machine that would shuffle cards.

Such a machine, he thought, would provide more random shuffles and eliminate “clumping,” dealer cheating, and other such “human” situations, and therefore would be very desirable for the casinos. So, he set out to invent one. It took him ten years, but by 1992, he succeeded and his company “Shuffle Master, Inc. launched their first series of card-shuffling machines.

At that stage, these machines could only shuffle one deck at a time. This wasn’t very useful for most of the casinos, since by that time casino blackjack games, for which this shuffling machine was originally designed, were played with two-deck or multi-deck shoes. So, John had to do a little more thinking, and invented Let It Ride.

Let It Ride is ideally suited to the single-deck shuffling machine, and by inventing it, John Breeding also invented the market for his machine. Not only did he now have a new game he could sell, but one specifically designed to use his shuffling machine. And so the legend was born. By 1993, the Let It Ride game was launched. It quickly became a huge hit, and the rest, as they say, is history.


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