How to Play a Soft 17 in Blackjack?

Last modified: August 12, 2019

When dealt a blackjack soft 17, do you hit, stand, or use the blackjack double down?

Pretty confusing, right? What would be the most plausible option to make? There are many options in which all seem to come with exciting benefits if you win the hand. However, what follows are facts following how to play a soft 17 hand against any dealer’s upcard accurately.

Before we proceed, let’s go through some basics. A blackjack soft 17 hand is any hand that contains an ACE (where the counted ACE is 11)  and any other card that makes it up to 17. For example, ACE-6 is a blackjack soft 17 hand, 2-2-ACE-2 is also a blackjack soft 17 hand. Also, the basic playing strategy for playing a blackjack soft 17 is different from a hard 17. Although both the soft and hard hand make a total of 17, the main difference is that you can never bust when you are hitting a soft 17, but it isn’t so in hard 17.

Regardless of the blackjack strategy, you’re using, even if it is the basic strategy; in blackjack games, if you don’t use the right option, the house edge would be against you. For blackjack players, if you’re not counting cards, then here are some soft 17 rules you should have at the back of your hands always.

Standing on Soft 17

The basic strategy for standing on soft 17 is pretty simple, and that is never stands on a soft 17. No matter what the dealer’s upcard is, standing on soft 17 is always a bad idea. You’re more likely to lose more money in the long run by standing on soft 17 rather than when you hit, double down or split.

If you’re not still convinced, let’s consider the dealer’s rule in online casinos. The rule states that a dealer must always hit on a soft 17 rather than stand. Dealer’s hitting a soft 17 would increase the house edge, which indicates that it is way better than standing. The same rule applies to players as well, hitting a soft 17 would reduce the house edge in your favor.

Hitting a Soft 17 and Doubling Down on Soft 17

The basic strategy when it comes to hitting a soft 17 is simple and straightforward.

  • In a single deck game, always hit if the dealer has an upcard between 7 through to the dealer ACE,
  • In a double and multiple deck games, hit when the dealer’s upcard is 3 or 6 through to the dealer ACE.

The basic playing strategy for doubling down in blackjack games on a soft 17 hand is as follows:

  • For a single deck game, always double down if the dealer has an upcard between 2 through to 6,
  • For double and multiple deck games, double down if the dealer has an upcard between 3 through to 6.

Are you still not getting the whole idea of when to double down and when to hit? For further clarity and understand, here’s a cheat sheet on when to double down or hit against a dealer’s upcard in a single deck game and double or multiple deck games.

Dealer’s Upcard Single Deck GameDouble/Multiple Deck Games
2Double downHit
3Double downDouble down
4Double downDouble down
5Double downDouble down
6Double downDouble down
7HitHit
8HitHit
9HitHit
10HitHit
ACEHitHit
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