The game of blackjack is one of the most popular casino card games around. While there are many variations of the game, some hands require special consideration when playing them. For example, a soft 14 is a total that can be counted as either 17 or 16 depending on how the player manages the hand. Fortunately, the game is not as complicated as it may appear at first glance and following some basic strategy will help players achieve greater success.
A Soft Hand
In blackjack, a soft hand is any total that contains an Ace that can be counted as either 1 or 11. Examples of such hands include (Ace, 3) and (9, 2). It is important to understand that a soft hand does not have to contain an Ace, but only an Ace that can be counted as 1 or 11 without causing the player’s overall total to go over 21.
A soft hand also has the benefit of allowing the player to double against a dealer’s up cards that cause him or her to bust more often. This is a major advantage that can make the difference between winning and losing. Nevertheless, the game does not always work in this way as some dealers will not bust when facing a high upcard such as an 8 or 9. In these cases, doubling on a soft hand would not be advisable.
As such, the best course of action for a soft hand is to hit against small upcards from 2 through 6. Hitting is also an acceptable option when the dealer has a weak small card revealed and he or she is likely to be beat by a higher total.
The dealer’s edge over a blackjack player is low in general, but this advantage increases with certain rules such as the soft 17 rule that allows dealers to hit on a blackjack hand instead of standing. While this rule does not change the overall house edge, it does reduce the player’s net expectation by 0.20%.
While the game is very easy to learn, it can be hard for players to follow the correct strategy when they are dealt certain hands. This is especially true of soft hands which are commonly misplayed. Many rookies will choose to stand on a soft 17 when the dealer has a weak upcard which results in greater bust rates for him or her.
This is a terrible mistake that will result in the player losing more money than he or she wins over the long run. It is recommended that a player consult a blackjack strategy chart before taking any action with a soft hand.