Blackjack is the favorite game of many players all over the world. Its ever-growing popularity has undoubtedly contributed to its simple rules and low house edge, one of the lowest casino games. However, knowing the game well and using a proper strategy is vital to take advantage of that low house edge, and here is how to play soft hands in blackjack.
- Double Down With 13 Soft and 14 Soft
- Ask For Paper With 13 Soft and 14 Soft
- Double Down With 15 soft and 16 Soft
- Ask for Paper with 15 Soft and 16 Soft
- Double Down with Soft 17
- Ask for Paper With 17 Soft
- Double Down With 18 Soft
- Ask for Paper With 18 Soft
- Stand with Soft 18
- Stand With 19 Soft, 20 Soft, and 21 Soft
To determine the type and total of your hand, you must first familiarize yourself with how cards are counted. The card system in blackjack is straightforward to remember and understand. In short, all cards are worth their numerical value, except for all queens, kings, jacks, and aces. The latter can be counted as one or eleven. All figures receive ten points each. Continue below to understand how to play soft hands in blackjack.
What are Soft Hands
Soft hands are those that contain an ace, which can be counted as 11 without exceeding 21. These hands are considered very advantageous as you can adjust their total, depending on your current situation. If you have a soft hand, this means you can’t bust by hitting because you can always change the value of the ace at any time, choosing between 1 or 11.
Suppose we have a “soft” hand consisting of an ace, which counts as an 11, and a 6 (this hand is also called a “soft 17”). Suppose the dealer has a strong card and you decide to improve your hand by hitting. If you now draw a card that brings your total count higher than 21, say a 7, you would lose. However, in the soft hand, the ace will count as 1, and you won’t bust. This is one of the reasons why the ace is considered the most powerful card in the deck: it gives you great flexibility and is important to understand how to play soft hands in blackjack.
How to Play Soft Hands in Blackjack
Interested to know how to play soft hands in blackjack? Sooner or later, you will inevitably be dealt one of the possible combinations of cards that make up a soft hand during your blackjack game. Soft hands are so common that the basic strategy chart contains an entire section devoted to them.
The general strategy here is to stay with all hands above 18 and always hit any soft hand that is 17 points or less. So:
- If you have A2, A3, A4, A5, double if the dealer has 4, 5, or 6.
- If you have A6 or A7, double if the dealer has 3, 4, 5, or 6.
- Don’t double down on any other soft total. Stand or hit depending on the total and the dealers up card.
Note that you are doubling your bet when the dealer is holding his worst possible cards. In the case of A2, A3, A4, and A5, you put in more money when you hope the house will go high. With the A6 and A7, you have a good enough total to have two decent chances yourself; you may receive a 10, which will keep your hand value, or a very low card, which will improve your hand. Whatever happens, as the dealer shows a low card, you still have a chance of getting high.
Double Down With 13 Soft and 14 Soft
You double down in this case because the dealer has a 5 or a 6, which are the two worst cards the dealer can have. Understanding how to play soft hands in blackjack, the basic blackjack strategy, the dealer is more likely to hit and get a 15 or a 16. The dealer must stand with 17 but must hit if he has anything lower, so there is an excellent chance that the desk gets high.
Ask For Paper With 13 Soft and 14 Soft
If the dealer does not have 5 or 6 cards face up, the best strategy is to hit. If you roll a 10 in this case, your soft hand becomes a hard hand. The dealer is likely to overtake you if no 5 or 6 cards face up according to the long-term basic strategy, so this is the best move to make.
Double Down With 15 soft and 16 Soft
The basic strategy here is to make the dealer fail. If the dealer holds an up card 4, 5, or 6, a 10 and then another 10 will likely be drawn due to the higher density of these cards in blackjack. In this case, the dealer has a higher chance of busting, but that probability decreases as the shown card goes down because more cards are available to prevent the high—this is what to know to understand how to play soft hands in blackjack. However, it’s safer to have a soft 15 or a soft 16, so it doesn’t hurt to double down and hope for a better hand.
Ask for Paper with 15 Soft and 16 Soft
If the dealer does not have an up card 4, 5, or 6, it becomes more difficult for you, and the dealer is not as likely to bust. So, the strategy is to try to get something better. It doesn’t hurt to ask for paper as the soft hand will keep you from busting, and you have nothing to lose here. This is mathematically the correct blackjack move to make even in the long run.
Double Down with Soft 17
17 soft isn’t a bad hand, but it’s not a good hand either. Basic blackjack strategy assumes that there are more cards worth 10 in the deck, so you are likely to double up and get another 10, making this hand a difficult 17. It would be best if you doubled down here becomes evident when the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This combination would likely bust the dealer if plus ten were drawn.
Ask for Paper With 17 Soft
When the dealer shows another card, the dealer’s chances of busting decrease because he needs to stay on a 17; with a soft 17, it doesn’t hurt to hit because you can’t bust. The basic strategy in blackjack says that the best move is to hit to get a better hand when the dealer has something else.
Double Down With 18 Soft
The strategy for a soft 18 is more complicated. When the dealer has a 3, 4, 5, or 6, the odds are that he will eventually bust anyway. The 18soft is also a decent enough hand to hold, so you have two advantages working for you, so it’s ideal for doubling down. The basic strategy is that there are more 10s in the blackjack deck than any other card, so always remember this fact as it is important in understanding how to play soft hands in blackjack.
Ask for Paper With 18 Soft
You’ll want to hit a card when the dealer’s up card is 9, 10, or 11 (ace). Since there are more 10s in the deck, the dealer will have an excellent chance of beating an 18 in this case. Thanks to the ace in play, remember that a soft 18 won’t bust, so you have a better chance of making a better hand.
Stand with Soft 18
This strategy is not that obvious, but it is mainly based on the long-term mathematical advantage and basic blackjack strategy, which says the dealer will likely get a 12, 17, or 18. The 12 would probably bust, the 17 would be beaten, and the 18 would be a draw. The most important fact is that you would not lose your bet in this case, and to understand how to play soft hands in blackjack.
Stand With 19 Soft, 20 Soft, and 21 Soft
The rationale behind this strategy is that 19, 20, and 21 are mighty hands, so there is no need to risk hitting with a soft hand like this. There are only two cards that can improve a 19 and one card that can improve a 20. It is harder for the dealer to beat these hands or even tie them. The goal of blackjack is to get a twenty-one. So, if you hit a soft 21, the only thing the dealer could do is tie this score.
Do you have any other tips on how to play soft hands in blackjack? We’ll be happy to have your opinion.