July 13, 2024

One of the biggest questions in blackjack is what to do when dealt a hand of soft 17 (also called s17). Many players are confused about whether they should stand, hit or double. This article will help clarify the rules about this hand and explain how it relates to basic strategy.

What is a soft hand in blackjack? A soft hand is any blackjack hand that contains an Ace and therefore counts the ace as either 1 or 11. Some examples of a soft hand are aces with a four or five. This is an important rule in blackjack because it gives the dealer more options than other hands. In fact, a s17 is considered the best hand for the dealer to have because it can improve into a 21, while other dealers’ hands can only push against a pat dealer’s 17.

The reason why a soft hand is so important for the dealer to have is that it will often improve into a better hand than the player’s pat hand when taking additional cards. This is why the house edge against a basic strategy player when the dealer hits a soft 17 is two-tenths of a percent higher than when the dealer stands on it.

There are a few exceptions to this rule though. Some casinos require that dealers stand on all 17’s while others have adopted the “Dealer Hits on Soft 17” rule or h17. The casino that you are playing at will indicate which rule it has by the wording on the table layout. If the wording states that the dealer must stand on all 17’s, then the casino has not implemented h17 and you should play at a different casino.

When a dealer is dealing a soft 17, you should always hit it, no matter the dealer’s upcard. This is because doubling down on this hand increases your average profits significantly and will usually beat the dealer. On the other hand, hitting a hard 17 will never improve to a winner and is almost always a poor decision.

Some players also get confused about the best way to deal with a soft 17 when it comes to doubling down or splitting. This is because the best move depends on the dealer’s upcard and the dealer’s overall position. For example, a soft 17 with an Ace and a 5 should be doubled when the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5, or 6. This hand can only bust if a bunch of tens are drawn, which is unlikely.

In contrast, a soft 17 with an Ace and an 8 should be split when the dealer is showing a 9, 10, or Ace. In these situations, the dealer will not be able to improve their hand and you will be more likely to beat them with a double than with a stand.