The Soft 17 Rule in Blackjack

Understanding the Blackjack Soft 17 rule is very important if you’re a player looking to master the fundamentals of the game, as it not only alters how the dealer plays but will also have a big influence on the house edge and how you play your hand as a result. Here, we’ll be answering what a soft 17 means in Blackjack, what the Soft 17 Blackjack rule is - and why it’s such a great hand to get.

What Does A Soft 17 Mean in Blackjack?

In blackjack, the term Soft 17 simply refers to a specific hand made up of an Ace valued at 11 points and a 6 - resulting in a total point value of 17. The main characteristic of a Soft 17 is the presence of the Ace in your hand - which can be counted as either 11 or 1, depending on how the rest of the hand plays out. However, understanding what a Soft 17 entails and how it affects your gameplay is essential for all blackjack players.

Soft 17 Hand Example

Hitting a Soft 17

When either you or the dealer has a Soft 17 hand, the decision over whether to hit or stand is crucial. In most blackjack games online and in land-based casinos, what the dealer does when dealt a Soft 17 will be determined by the casino or game rules. Usually, the dealer must hit when they have a Soft 17 - so they are obligated to draw another card from the deck.

Why Soft 17 Can Be a Great Hand

So, why is a soft 17 such an ‘important’ hand? Well, for a start, it’s a pretty decent hand to be dealt. But why?

Flexibility: One of the main advantages of being dealt a Soft 17 hand is its flexibility. Because you have an Ace in your hand, you can choose whether the Ace should be counted as 1 or 11, depending on what other cards are drawn. This flexibility means that you have more strategic options, and you can adapt your hand based on what you get.

Less Risk of Busting: Busting is something that no one wants to do in blackjack - after all, that’s an instant loss. However, a Soft 17 gives you a buffer against busting - because the Ace can go from being valued at 11 down to 1 to avoid going over 21.

The Potential for Stronger Hands: If you are playing a Soft 17 correctly, it can become an even stronger hand. So, for example, drawing an A, 2, 3, or 4 would improve your hand - but even if you draw 5 or above, you won’t bust as you can drop that A to be valued at 1 - which gives you the added potential for a stronger hand.

Doubling Down Opportunities: In some blackjack variations, you will have the option to double down, which involves doubling your initial bet after you receive your first two cards. A Soft 17 hand lets you double down with more confidence as the Ace's value can be adjusted to minimise your risk.

However, it's important to note that while Soft 17 can be a great hand, it is by no means an unbeatable hand - and its value depends on a variety of different factors - some of which are the dealer's upcard and the blackjack rules in your particular blackjack game. If you want to maximise the overall benefits of a Soft 17, you need to make statistically good decisions based on the particular circumstances of the game.

So, to summarise, a Soft 17 in blackjack is a hand with an Ace valued at 11 and a 6 - giving you more flexibility, reduced risk of busting, the potential for stronger hands - and is better for doubling down possibilities.

All You Need To Know About The Soft 17 Rule

So, now you know about a Soft 17 - but what is the Soft 17 blackjack rule? Well, the Blackjack Soft 17 rule is an important aspect of the game that essentially influences how the game is played - and can impact your odds of winning. In this next part, we’ll look at what the rule is and why it’s so important to understand.

What is the Soft 17 Rule?

The Blackjack Soft 17 rule refers to how a hand that contains an Ace and a 6 is played by the dealer. It's essential to understand that not all blackjack games apply the same simple rule to Soft 17 hands, so you need to check the rules of the variant you happen to be playing to make sure.

Games That Use the Soft 17 Rule:

Dealer Hits Soft 17 (H17): In games where casinos require dealers has to hit on a Soft 17, they will be required to take an extra card if they have a Soft 17 hand. This rule is generally found in most land-based casinos as well as many online blackjack variations.

Impact: When the dealer has to hit a Soft 17, it can lead to a much more aggressive game - as the dealer is looking to improve their hand. This rule usually increases the house edge slightly, so the rule is slightly less favourable to players.

Player-Friendly Variations - Standing on Soft 17: However, other blackjack variations use the Soft 17 rule to the advantage of players. In these games, when the dealer has a Soft 17, they have to stand instead of hitting.

Impact: This benefits players because, in contrast to hitting on a Soft 17, it reduces the house edge, essentially giving you better odds of winning. Unsurprisingly, these more player-friendly games are more attractive to fans of the game.

Games With No Soft 17 Rule

Some games have no Soft 17 rule at all - they simply have a rule regarding 17. In this instance, the dealer has to stand on a hand of 17, whether it’s soft or hard. This is a much more player-friendly version of the game and, similar to the Stand on Soft 17 rule, can lower the house edge.

How to Deal With the Soft 17 Rule

Understanding how the Soft 17 rule works - and the particular rule that is applied to the game you are playing is essential if you are looking to play in a way that gives you the best statistical chance of getting the best possible blackjack hand. As such, here are some key considerations:

Player Strategy: When you are facing a dealer, and you have been dealt a Soft 17 hand, you should consider not only the composition of your hand but also the dealer's face-up card. These are both factors you need to think about when deciding whether to hit, stand, or double down. If you go in with your own logical and strategic ideas of what to do in Soft 17 scenarios, you’ll have a better chance of taking full advantage of the hand. However, regardless of the strategy, no outcome is guaranteed.

Game Selection: Of course, you can choose what blackjack game you want to play based on the Soft 17 blackjack rules it has. If you are one of those looking for a lower house edge, then you’ll probably want to opt for games where the dealer has to stand on Soft 17. However, if you’re after a more aggressive game, you may want to play a game where the dealer has to hit on a Soft 17.

Ultimately, the Soft 17 blackjack simply defines how the dealer has to play a hand with an Ace and a 6. This may sound trivial, but it really can have an impact on the dynamics of the game - as well as the odds of winning!

So, hopefully, you now know what a Soft 17 is in blackjack - how the Soft 17 rule works, and what type of game is right for you.

Soft 17 Rule FAQs

Does the Soft 17 Rule Impact House Edge?

Yes, the Soft 17 rule does impact the house edge in blackjack. If the dealer has to hit on Soft 17, it usually increases the house edge slightly - which is because the dealer has the chance to improve their hand, giving them more possibility of getting a hand that beats the player.

Conversely, if the dealer has to stand on all 17s, including Soft 17, it can reduce the house edge.

Yes, the Soft 17 rule can impact your basic strategy in blackjack. If you are playing blackjack where the dealer has to hit on Soft 17, then you will often adjust your playing strategy to account for the increased likelihood of the dealer getting a better hand. In these instances, you might consider more conservative play.

On the other hand, in games where the dealer has to stand on Soft 17, you could be a little more aggressive in how you play as they know the dealer can't draw more cards to improve their Soft 17 hand.

The Soft 17 blackjack rule impacts the dealer in blackjack. If the dealer has to hit on a Soft 17, then they have a better chance of improving their hand, which puts more pressure on the players. However, if the dealer stands on a Soft 17, their game is predictable, meaning players can make better and more informed decisions.

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