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Blackjack strategy for Soft Hand

"Soft hands" are actually the hands that necessarily include an Ace. They are named "soft" because the player is much less likely to go bust with such hand as the value of an Ace is adjusted according to the player's current hand value and is either 1 or 11. Soft hands usually come out more seldom than hard ones, and there are actually only 7 possible hand combinations in this category.

When the value of the hand increases so that the Ace has to be counted as 1, the hand becomes "hard" and is played accordingly to the Hard Hand basic strategy. Thus, soft hands are actually seen as hands where an Ace is counted 11. For example, you may get a "Soft 15" hand if you have an Ace and a 4.

Soft Hand strategy in use

If a player applies a correct basic strategy for playing "Soft hands", he or she may be able to reduce house edge significantly and eventually win the game.

It is crucial that the player always takes into consideration the dealer's face-up card. The strategy for the whole game should be based on this card, and the player's decisions must be made accordingly.

  • If a player gets an Ace and a 2 or a 3, according to the Soft Totals blackjack strategy chart he or she should always hit or, if the dealer's face-up card is 5 or 6, double the bet and draw another card.
  • The player with an Ace and 4 or 5 is to double in case the dealer has 4, 5 or 6 and hit in the rest of cases.
  • With an Ace and a six, the player is supposed to double with the dealer's 3 to 6 and hit in other cases.
  • If the player gets and Ace and 7, it is better to stand if the dealer has 2, 7 and 8, double with the dealer's 3 to 6 and hit in other cases.
  • The player should always stand if he or she gets an Ace and 8 or 9.

Dealer hits on "Soft 17"

Some casinos make use of the rule according to which the dealer must hit if he or she gets a "Soft 17". This rule is rather profitable for a casino as it increases the house edge by approximately 0.2%. The dealer applying this rule is able to improve the house odds by getting a stronger hand, and the fact that no player can act after the dealer only increases the winning chances of the dealer and the house.

Split Aces

Another tip for applying "Soft Hand" strategy is always split the pair of aces. First of all, casinos usually allow drawing only one extra card to each of the split pairs, that's why it becomes impossible to bust with this combination. Besides, in a single-deck game the player gets better odds of getting a 10-valued card and consequently reaching "blackjack".