Basic Blackjack Rules: The goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand without going over 21. Face cards are worth 10. Aces are worth 1 or 11, whichever makes a better hand. The “soft 17 rule” is a rule that requires the dealer to hit on soft 17. For many blackjack players, this rather innocuous rule doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the fact of the matter Henry Tamburin is the editor and publisher of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter and author of. When searching for a strategy chart ensure you have the right game rules along with the soft 17 rule. Single Deck Blackjack Pro – This title is by Net Entertainment and includes the dealer hits on soft 17 rule. With just a single deck, players will need to look up a basic strategy chart with one deck and the soft 17 rule. There is a basic version of blackjack offered by Real Time Gaming. In this version, players may play one or two hands at the same time. The Standard Blackjack game is the only Real Time Gaming blackjack game that allows a player to play more than one hand at a time. The rules are: Dealer hits soft 17; Double down any two cards. Normally, some of the most important rules, such as 'Blackjack pays 3 to 2' and 'Dealer must draw on 16 and stand on all 17's' are printed on the table. To play blackjack you need chips to bet with, and you typically buy your chips directly from the dealer.
'I played blackjack in a casino and noticed that whenever the dealer had a soft 17 hand, he would take a card. I thought dealers were supposed to stand on 17.'
As a general rule, casino rules specify that dealers must draw on '16 or less' and stand on '17 and more'. In fact it states that right on the layout. However, when the dealer's 17 contains an ace that is counted as 11, the hand is known as a soft 17 (e.g. Ace, 6 or Ace 2, 4 are soft 17's). And in some casinos, the rules specify that dealers must hit their soft 17 rather than stand and it will state that on the layout (this is known as the soft 17 rule).
So what's the big deal you say. Does it really make a difference on that one hand whether or not the dealer stands or hits? Well it is a big deal because that one slight rule change increases the casino's edge over players by about 0.2%.
The reason that the player's expectation decreases when the dealer must hit soft 17 is that even though the dealer will bust slightly more often when he hits compared to standing on 17, the times he doesn't bust he will more often end up with a hand that totals higher than 17. The net result is the casino's edge increases by 0.2%.
Your best bet is to not play blackjack in casinos that have the soft 17 rule especially when 6 decks of cards are used. But if you have no choice, then you should modify your basic playing strategy on these three hands (for a typical 6-deck game). They are as follows:
Double down on 11 (e.g. 6,5) against dealer's ace upcard (instead of standing)
Double down an soft 19 (Ace, 8) against dealer's 6 upcard (instead of standing)
Double down on soft 18 (Ace, 7) against dealer's 2 upcard (instead of standing).
Sometimes new casinos come under a lot of heat from blackjack players when they implement the soft 17 rule at their blackjack tables. This was the case in a new Mississippi casino that opened with this player unfavorable rule. Critics (myself included) and players voiced their discontent loud and clear especially since most of the other near bye casinos did not have this rule. It didn't take long before the casino changed the rule to 'dealer's standing on soft 17' and took out ads in local papers to announce the change.
The soft 17 rule historically has been part of the blackjack games in the downtown Las Vegas and Reno casinos. Here you'll find mostly the more player favorable single deck (vs. 6 deck) blackjack games. The casino's offer the more favorable single deck games but then take some of that player advantage away by implementing the soft 17 rule. But still a single deck game with the soft 17 rule is a better game for most blackjack players than a typical multiple deck game.
The following chart that summarizes the effect of the casino's advantage over the basic strategy player when the soft 17 rule is in effect (i.e. dealer must hit soft 17). H17 =dealer hits soft 17. S=17 means dealer stands on soft 17. DAS=double after pair splitting allowed. NoDAS=doubling after pair splitting is not allowed.
# Decks Rules Casino Edge
1 H17, noDAS 0.18%
1 S17, noDAS -0.01%(Player has the advantage)
1 H17, DAS 0.06%
1 S17, DAS -0.13% (Player has the edge)
2 H17, noDAS 0.40%
2 S17, DAS 0.19%
6 H17, DAS 0.63%
6 S17, DAS 0.41%
You can see why casinos that offer single deck games usually implement the soft 17 rule. If they didn't a typical basic strategy player would have the edge. Notice the casino's edge in 6 deck games with the soft 17 rule. Their edge is 0.63% which is fairly high for most blackjack games.
Fortunately in all of the Gulf Coast casinos, the rules specify that the dealer's must stand on soft 17. In the Tunica based casinos, currently all the casinos hit soft 17 except the Isle of Capri and the Grand (the Grand has a mix of hit and stand soft 17). The casinos in Tunica compensate for the hit soft 17 rule by offering more player favorable single deck games then the casinos along the Gulf Coast.
The bottom line is that the soft 17 rule is palatable in single deck games, but with 2 and 6 deck games you should try to play in casinos where the rules specify that dealers must stand on soft 17. That's the smart way to play blackjack.
Dr. Henry Tamburin is one of America's most popular casino gaming writers and the author of 6 best-selling casino books including his Blackjack: Take The Money & Run. For a free copy of Tamburin's Blackjack Insider Newsletter visit his web site at www.smartgaming.com. For a free copy of Tamburin's Casino Gambling Catalog call 1- 888- 353-3234.
When the Soft 17 rule applies, the dealer always hits on a soft 17.
If you are a Blackjack fan, you are familiar with a fact that you can choose from a plethora of game variations at online casinos. They come with different rules and different house edge rates which can significantly impact your performance. On the other hand, Blackjack is one of a few casino games where a player can gain leverage by making the right decisions and moves.
One of the rules that apply to Blackjack games is the so-called Soft 17. If you have been wondering what it is all about and how you should choose a Blackjack variant based on the Soft 17 rule, you have come to the right place.
What is Soft 17 Rule?
First of all, you need to understand the concept of a soft hand. A soft hand is a hand containing an Ace that is counted as an 11. So, when you have an Ace and a 6 in a hand it is a soft 17. When it comes to the Soft 17 rule, it is a rule the dealer must play by. Depending on the game you choose, you will notice that at some tables, the dealer must hit or stand on a soft 17. When the dealer must hit on a soft 17, it means that the Soft 17 rule applies. It is always clearly stated on the table, so the player is always informed whether the Soft 17 rule is in play or not.
How It Affects Your Odds?
Blackjack Ace Rules
The Soft 17 rule increases the house edge, meaning that your odds are lower when choosing a game in which the dealer must hit on a soft 17. That practically means that with a soft 17 hand, the dealer hits for a chance to get a better hand. When the Soft 17 rule applies, the house edge increases by 0.20%. Since such a rule is not favourable to the player, casinos tend to modify other rules to even the house edge. That’s why you will typically find Blackjack tables with the Soft 17 rule applied and fewer decks in play. As you know, the fewer decks the lower house edge. Stay with us to learn about a strategy you should use when playing the games where the Soft 17 rule applies.
Blackjack Strategy when Soft 17 Rule Is in Play
When you play Blackjack you will typically double down on an 11 when the dealer holds an Ace. You will also double down when you have a soft 19 and the dealer’s first card is a 6. Another situation in which you will double down is when you have a soft 18 and the dealer shows a 2. However, when the Soft 17 rule applies, you should modify some of your moves to increase your odds. The moves you will make vary based on the number of decks in play.
In a single-deck Blackjack game with the Soft 17 rule in play, you should hit on a soft 18 when the dealer has an Ace. On the dealer’s Ace, you should split a pair of 9s and double down if it is allowed. When surrender is allowed, you should go for it on a hard 15 and a hard 17 when the dealer shows an Ace.
When you play a double-deck Blackjack with the Soft 17 rule, you should double down on a soft 14 when the dealer has a 4. Make the same move on a soft 18 against a 2 and on a soft 19 when the dealer shows a 6. If the game allows you to surrender, do it on a hard 15 when the dealer’s first card is an Ace.
If a game uses 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards and the Soft 17 rule applies, we don’t recommend you to play it.
Although Blackjack games with the Soft 17 rule come with a higher house edge, you should not give up on them completely. If you can, always to choose those variants with fewer card decks in play and apply the modified strategy for the best odds of winning. If you don’t want to think about changing the strategy you have already learned, go for those Blackjack variants in which the dealer stands on a soft 17.
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