Hitting Soft Hands in Blackjack

Hitting Soft Hands in Blackjack

In Blackjack, certain hands will deal gamblers that will give them options to hit or hold. Hitting soft hands in Blackjack is a decision gambler should be aware of for smart choices. A softhand is a hand dealt to a blackjack player that will not go over 21 on a single hit. In short a soft hand will not bust after a hit; you’ll have an improved hand after the hit because an ace could be valued as one or 11 during a deal.

Hitting Soft Hands in Blackjack: Understanding the Soft Hands and Hard Hands

These are the variations of soft Blackjack hands:

A-2 = 13

A-3 = 14

A-4 = 15

A-5 = 16

A-6 = 17

How high would you really go in hitting or doubling on a soft hand? I guess you’re supposed to hit or double on soft 17, but what about soft 18 or soft 19? Surely not soft 20?

These are the variations of hard Blackjack Hands

10 – 2   = 12 

  9 – 4   = 13

  7 – 7   = 14

  8 – 7   = 17

10 – 6   = 16

A hard hand is dealt with the risk of busting when taking a single hit. Consider the risk of not going over 21 when you have hard hands in the deal.

In a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, basic strategy calls for us to double down on soft 19 if doubling is allowed. Some tables don’t allow soft doubling, and, of course, you can’t double in standard blackjack games if you have three or more cards. In those cases, you’d just stand on your 19.

Hitting Soft Hands in Blackjack

Profit by the Numbers

By the numbers, assuming a six-deck, hit soft 17 game, doubling on Ace-8 brings an average profit of 46.2 cents per $1 of your original wager. If you stand, the average profit is 45.2 cents, and if you hit, it’s only 23.1 cents.

It’s a different situation if the dealer stands on all 17s. Then the average profit of 49.4 cents per dollar for standing beats the 48 cents for doubling or 24 cents for hitting. Once you get to soft 20, the line on the basic strategy chart is a solid “stand” all the way across.

What about your joke proposition, that it might be worthwhile to double down on a blackjack?

To stick with a six-deck, hit soft 17 game, if the house pays 3-2 on blackjacks, your profit is $1.50 per $1 wagered. If you double down, your profit is 66.7 cents per dollar of your original wager.

Sometimes your double down will win and your profit will be $2 instead of $1.50, but the average result will be a profit drop to 66.7 cents while risking double your original bet. What if blackjacks pay only 6-5? Surely that must tighten the difference.

It does tighten the difference, but not by anywhere close to enough to mandate a change in strategy. With 6-5 payoffs on blackjacks, your profit per dollar wagered is $1.20. The average profit when doubling down remains at 66.7 cents per dollar of your original wager.

Doubling down with the Hands you’re dealt With

Don’t even think about doubling down on blackjacks. The highest soft total that calls for anything but a “stand” decision is soft 19. With Ace-8, double in a six-deck game if the dealer hits soft 17 but stands if the dealer stands on all 17s.

One last thing. Single-deck games are a little different. Should you find one of those rare beasts, double on Ace-8 vs. 6 regardless of whether the dealer hits or stands on soft 17.