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Black Jack School

Soft Hand Strategy

BlackJack – Soft Hand Strategy
by Jerald of Predictem.com

There is probably nothing more misunderstood in BlackJack then how to play soft hands. First of all, for the BlackJack beginner, a soft hand is a hand that includes an Ace that is counted as 11. Therefore, if you are dealt (Ace,6) you have a soft 17. These hands are played differently because if you draw a card that puts you over 21 then you can fall back and count your Ace as 1. We have the following 3 options when we are dealt a soft hand:

1. Stand – This is not advised if you have a soft 17 or less.
2. Hit – We will discuss this further.
3. Double Down – This means doubling your bet to receive 1 more card.

The play you make is determined by what the dealer has for an up card. Let’s look at each scenario.

If the dealer has a 5 or a 6 – In these cases you should always double down if you have a soft 13 thru soft 18. The reason for this is that even if you do not get a good card to go with your hand there is a good chance that the dealer will bust.

If the dealer has a 3 or 4 – For these cases we will use what is called the “rule of 9”. This rule states that if the dealer upcard is added to your card (non-Ace) and the total is 9 or more then you should double down. If the total is less than 9 then you should just hit. An example of this is if the dealer has a 3 showing and you have a soft 17 (Ace,6). The total would be 3+6=9 so the correct play would be to double down. The only exceptions to this rule is if you have a soft 19 or 20 (Ace,8 or 9) in which you should stand or if the dealer has a 4 and you have a soft 15 (Ace,4). On this hand you should just hit your soft 15.

If the dealer has a 2 – In this case you should hit all hands that are soft 12 thru soft 18. We don’t want to double down because the chances of the dealer busting are not high.

If the dealer has a 7 – In this case you would hit soft 12 thru soft 17. The reason we hit on soft 17 is that you really are not going to make your hand much worse because it is unlikely you will win with 17. Stand on soft 18 thru soft 20.

If the dealer has an 8 – Hit on everything from soft 12 thru soft 17. If you have a soft 18 then stand and hope for a push. Soft 19 and soft 20 hands should also stand.

If the dealer has a 9, 10 or Ace – In these situations you should hit all hands that are soft 12 thru soft 18 and stand on soft 19 and soft 20.

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Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?