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How to play when the dealer hits soft 17 in blackjack

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How to play when the dealer hits soft 17 in blackjack

How to play when the dealer hits soft 17 in blackjack

Thu Dec 22 2022 01:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

A dealer hitting soft 17 may seem natural in a blackjack game. But whether the dealer stands or hits on this hand is a big factor if you'll win or lose. This dealer's hand comes with rules that affect the house edge and change the game's outcome


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Find out the soft 17 blackjack rule and how to play, no matter if the dealer stands or hits on a soft 17 here at Bitcasino.    

What is a Soft 17 in blackjack?

blackjack soft 17 consists of an ace and a card or a combination of cards with a total value of 17. The number of cards in a hand of soft 17 could be two or more as long as an ace that can act as an 11 is present.

The great thing about this type of hand is that the value of the Ace can depend on the card you're dealt with. For instance, if you're going bust, you can instead use the Ace as a one instead of an 11.

Let's say you have a soft 17 and are dealt with a six after hitting. Rather than going bust with 23, the Ace can transform its value to one, so you'll end up with seven instead. Here are some examples of a soft 17 to give you a better idea:

  • Ace + 6
  • Ace + 3 + 3
  • Ace + 2 + 2 + 2.

What is a dealer Soft 17? 

From the name itself, a blackjack dealer Soft 17 is when this type of hand value appears on the dealer's cards. Depending on the rules stated on the table you're playing, the dealer will hit or stand when they get a Soft 17.

Does the dealer hit on Soft 17?

Some tables will have 'dealer must stand on soft 17' written on them, while others will have 'dealer must hit on soft 17.' The dealer will base their move on which one is required in the game. 

What is the difference between a hard and a soft 17?

A hard 17 is similar to a soft 17, but the Ace is worth one here. You must combine logic with basic math to determine whether a hand value is a soft or hard 17.

For instance, if a hand consists of an Ace + 9 + 7, this is a hard 17 since the Ace can't have a value of 11. On the other hand, combinations consisting of an Ace and card/s that total 17 are considered soft 17.

Soft 17: Hit or stand?

The decision to hit or stand on Soft 17 lies in the game itself. Either way, each choice will have its respective risks when chosen. Additionally, you can use some techniques when the dealer ends up standing or hitting on Soft 17. Keep on reading to know more about both of these options. 

Blackjack dealer stands on Soft 17

When the dealer stands on Soft 17, they won't gain a better hand value. This benefits the players with a hand of 18 and above since they have a higher chance of winning.

Dealer hits soft 17 basic strategy

Meanwhile, when the dealer is required to hit on Soft 17, they can improve their hand value and end up with either 18, 19, 20 or 21. During this, remember to double down on your cards when the following situations occur:

  • When you have an 11 and the dealer shows an ace
  • When you have a soft 19 and the dealer shows a six
  • When you have a soft 18 and the dealer shows a two.

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Blackjack Chart Hit Soft 17

As stated earlier, the house edge in blackjack increases by about two-tenths when the dealer hits on soft 17, which is more significant than you think. The house edge is the mathematical probability the casino will gain over time. The higher this percentage is, the less likely it will pay out.

Fortunately, a high-roller player like you can use blackjack charts to help you know if the blackjack table states that the dealer must hit on Soft 17. You can increase your win rate through these useful tables and avoid going bust simultaneously. 

Here's a chart you can use to make the best decisions:

HARD TOTAL

DEALER’S HAND

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

Y

O

U

R

H

A

N

D

4-7

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

H

8

H

H

H

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

9

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

10

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

11

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

12

H

H

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

13

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

14

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

H

15

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

H

Su/H

16

S

S

S

S

S

H

H

H

Su/H

Su/H

17

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

Su/S

18+

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

SOFT TOTAL

DEALER’S HAND

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

Y

O

U

R

H

A

N

D

A2

H

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A3

H

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A4

H

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A5

H

H

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A6

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

Dh

H

H

H

H

H

A7

S

Ds

Ds

Ds

Ds

S

S

H

H

H

A8

S

S

S

S

Ds

S

S

S

S

S

A9

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

SPLIT

DEALER’S HAND

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

A

Y

O

U

R

H

A

N

D

2,2

SpD/H

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

H

H

H

H

3,3

SpD/H

SpD/H

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

SpD/H

H

H

H

4,4

H

H

SpD/H

SpD/D

SpD/D

H

H

H

H

H

5,5

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

D

H

H

6,6

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

SpD/H

H

H

H

H

7,7

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

SpD/H

H

Su/S

Su/H

8,8

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

9,9

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

S

Sp

Sp

S

S

10,10

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

S

A,A

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Sp

Legend:

  • Sp - Split
  • H - Hit
  • S - Stand
  • SpD/H - Split if allowed to double down after a split; otherwise, hit.
  • D - Double
  • SpD/H - Split if allowed to double down after a split; otherwise, hit.
  • SpD/D - Split if allowed to double down after a split; otherwise, double down.

Blackjack strategy Soft 17

What happens when you get dealt with a soft 17 in blackjack? Do you stand, hit, surrender or split? The stand or hit soft 17 rules won't apply to you as it does with the dealer, so you're free to play your cards to your liking. 

However, before strategising in blackjack, remember that getting a soft 17 has its advantages and disadvantages. Read more about them below:

Is it better to play stand or hit soft 17?

Blackjack experts recommend never to stand on a soft 17 regardless of the dealer's upcard. The reason for this is that 17 isn't that good to have in blackjack since the average winning hand in the game is 18 and a half.

The logic behind this is you'll lose more betting rounds in the long run than hitting, splitting and doubling down.

When to hit on soft 17?

As mentioned earlier, when a dealer hits on a soft 17, the house edge increases by two-tenths. This same rule applies to you when you make the same move. The house edge will be increased, but this time, in your favour.

Here’s the basic strategy of when to hit on a soft 17 in blackjack:

  • Single deck game: Hit when the dealer’s up card is seven through Ace
  • Double/Multi-deck game: Hit when the dealer’s up card is a two or seven through Ace.

Should you double down on a soft 17?

Meanwhile, doubling down on a soft 17 exposes you to a bigger prize and lets you outdraw the dealer. Here's a basic guide on when to double down on a soft 17:

  • Single deck game: Double down when the dealer’s up card is three through six
  • Double/Multi-deck game: Double down when the dealer’s up card is two through six. 

For a more detailed guide, check out the table below:

Dealer’s up card

Single deck game

Double/Multi-deck game

2

Double down

Hit

3

Double down

Double down

4

Double down

Double down

5

Double down

Double down

6

Double down

Double down

7

Hit

Hit

8

Hit

Hit

9

Hit

Hit

10

Hit

Hit

Ace

Hit

Hit


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Use the soft 17 to your advantage

Adding the knowledge of what to do when you or the dealer gets a soft 17 in your blackjack strategy can make you a better player. This hand value can either help or go against you in the blackjack game. So knowing the exact situations when you should hit or double down can protect your bankroll and win more prizes simultaneously. 

Similarly, when the dealer is forced to hit/stand on a soft 17, you'll know when to double down on your cards to make the most out of your wagers. Lastly, you can study the blackjack charts mentioned above to calculate your actions further whenever you encounter this hand during one of your thrilling games.

If you're ready to put your newfound knowledge to the test, try your hand at one of our fun blackjack titles here at Bitcasino.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered soft 17?

A soft 17 is a hand value consisting of an Ace taking the value of 11 and a card/combination of cards that bring the hand's total to 17.

How many cards can a dealer get after a soft 17?

The tricky thing about dealers getting a soft 17 is that they can change the value of the Ace to one whenever they draw a card that can cause them to go bust. This means they can get multiple cards after revealing a soft 17.

For instance, the dealer draws a five after revealing a soft 17. Instead of going bust with 23, they can turn Ace's value to one to end up with a smaller value and get an additional card to increase their hand value and become closer to 21.

How many ways can you have soft 17 in a single deck?

As mentioned previously, a soft 17 is a hand consisting of an ace and a card/combination of cards that brings the total to 17. This can be comprised of 2, 3, or 4 if there's an ace, increasing the chance for a soft 17.

Is it better when the dealer hits on soft 17 or stands in blackjack?

The answer depends on your situation in the game. When the dealer stands on 17, their chances of going bust are low, but at the same time, 17 can be a hard value to beat. This can be beneficial if your hand is 18, 19 or 20, as this immediately means you'll beat the dealer.

On the other hand, when the dealer hits on a soft 17, he has a chance of improving his hand.

What are the odds of losing in blackjack when the dealer hits on soft 17?

Statistically, the house edge increases about two-tenths when the dealer hits rather than stands on a soft 17.

What has better odds when the dealer hits or stands on soft 17?

As mentioned in the previous question, the house edge increases when the dealer hits on a soft 17 rather than when they stand. This means that you have better odds of winning when they stand.

What does ‘dealer must stand on soft 17’ mean?

When the table states that the dealer must stand on soft 17, they're not allowed to get an additional card for the game's duration once they're dealt with a soft 17.

Words by: Jericho Paradeza


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How to play when the dealer hits soft 17 in blackjack