Why Hit on Soft 17?

This is one of the hands in Blackjack that often appears at the top of the most misplayed hands list. With a perceived total of 4 points to get to 21 the chances of busting are very good which is why far too many people stand on a soft 17 instead of hitting.

What is a soft 17?

card face down

The difference between hard and soft 17 is essentially the difference between standing and hitting. A soft 17 includes an ace, whose value can be either an 11 or 1, giving your hand a value of 7 as well as 17. It is important to note that the value of an ace is dynamic and can change in the same hand.

The best strategy

The best way to play a soft 17 is to treat it like a 7 as well. Jumping to the basic strategy tables, regardless of what the dealer is showing, it is always advisable to hit when you have a 7. The reason? the highest value card that the dealer could pull out of the shoe at any time is a 10 meaning you can never bust.

A soft 17 is not only a 7 which leaves you open to another option. That’s right, double down. Your choice between taking another card and doubling down is dependent on the dealer’s card. If the dealer holds a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, double your bet and hope for a top value card.

Whichever way you look at it...

Standing on a soft 17 is like giving up on a possible better hand. Asking for another card could lead you to exactly where you want to be, and at the very worst you will be dealt a 10, forcing you to stand anyway.

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