Improve your Blackjack game with the Soft 17 Rule
Blackjack is one of the most popular games in gambling history. Unlike most table games played at a casino—ones that require skill—blackjack is pretty straightforward and can be played by anyone who can count.
The rules are easy to learn and master; however, to get a bigger advantage, you also need to learn the best online gambling strategies to win. One of the main strategies of playing blackjack is the soft 17 rule. The tactic allows you to anticipate the next move of the dealer.
Learning the soft 17 rule will make you a pro at playing blackjack games both online and offline. It will also increase your chances of beating the blackjack dealer. This rule refers to guidelines at a specific casino on a specific blackjack table, which guide how the dealer plays the hand with the total (soft 17). This guide will give a straightforward, yet detailed guide on how you can learn about the soft 17 rule and use it in all your future blackjack games.
What Is Soft 17?
Soft 17 refers to a blackjack hand that includes an Ace. The Ace can be counted as either one or 11. When playing a blackjack game, soft 17 can be created in several ways. The following cards can also create a soft 17:
Ace - 3 - 3 hand
Ace - 2 Ace - 2 - 2 hand
Ace - 6 hand
To make a soft 17, the Ace must be counted as 11 or one.
Soft 17 hands give us a chance to add an extra playing card without a bust risk. You can easily change the value of the Ace to one or 11 at any time, saving your hand from a possible loss in a round of blackjack. A 17 card value is a good hand, but with a soft 17, you can have a much higher total.
Playing soft 17 is quite different from playing hard 17 due to the multiple implications.
Understanding the Blackjack Soft 17 Rule
When playing blackjack, you have the freedom of playing your hand in whatever manner you want. You can double down, split, stand or hit. However, the dealers don't get to enjoy as much flexibility as you. The dealer isn't allowed to make any judgment calls when they’re dealing their hand. Instead, they have to stick to the stringent guidelines set by the casino.
When playing blackjack, you can tell the rule being used by the casino, even for live casino blackjack games. The casino will write the rule being used next to the game's odds. In the UK, all the blackjack games are S17; the dealer stands on all the values, which are worth 17 and draws to 16. The soft 17 rule is more prevalent in the American gambling scene, but not embraced by every blackjack table. If you see H17 instead, it means the dealer hits on the soft 17.
These guidelines dictate how every dealer must play their hand in every single winning round of a game. In blackjack, the dealer has only two options to hit or stand on soft 17. The casino makes the decision on which option the dealer should select. You’ll never find a blackjack table with both the S17 and H17 rules.
The Effect of Soft 17 on the Dealer
A blackjack game with the S17 sign means the dealer has no option but to hit the Soft 17 hand. Hitting the S17 hand has two major impacts on the dealer's chances. Hitting S17 will increase the dealer’s chances of bursting. However, it also increases the dealer’s chances of having a better hand. Such a scenario might seem impossible for an individual with no experience playing blackjack, even though it’s not.
When playing with S17, the dealer can bust his hand, have a better total or make a total similar to what he already has. The probability of the dealer busting his hand increases by 0.4%, while their odds of making a minimum of 18 increases by 0.80%. Therefore, the S17 rule seems to benefit the live dealer more than the player.
Effects of the Soft 17 on the House Edge
S17 offers more winning chances to players compared to H17. However, to make the best out of S17, we need to understand its differences when we’re playing blackjack. If all the other rules remain constant, the main difference between H17 and S17 is a 0.2% increment on the house edge. Most European casinos have a 0.7% house edge in their blackjack games. Therefore, a 0.2% house creates a substantial difference.
In casinos, you’ll find some blackjack games with the S17 rule, but with a much lower house of edge percentage. Other rules can trigger a lower house edge. Online blackjack games have clearly-stated house edge, unlike games in brick-and-mortar casinos.
Adjusting Your Gaming Strategy Using Soft 17
As a player, you need to master a few gaming strategies when playing a blackjack game. Using the soft 17 rule is part of this process, especially when playing a blackjack game with four or more decks.
When playing a multi-deck blackjack game, you’ll find three main situations where the best decision depends on whether the dealer has to stand or hit the soft 17. All three scenarios require you to play your hand more aggressively by doubling down. In case your table has the Surrender rule, you will be faced with three more types of situations.
The strategy chart below will help you make the necessary adjustments when playing.
Single deck blackjack is becoming less popular. If you find a single deck blackjack game, the above strategy (displayed on the chart) changes. You’ll now have two adjustments in your gaming strategy. These adjustments are caused by the specific variations of the soft 18 and when the dealer has an Ace as his upward.
When playing blackjack, it’s important to remember the following strategic moves:
For Single Deck
- Hit the S18 against the Ace of the dealer
- Split two 9's against the Ace of the dealer
- Surrender H17 or H15 against an ace
For Double Deck
- Double down on the S19 against the six of the dealer
- Double down on the S14 against the four of the dealer
- Double down on the S18 against the two of the dealer
For Multi Deck
- Double down on the soft 19, against the game’s dealer’s six
- If the dealer shows a six, double down on 11
- Double down on the Ace to seven against the dealer’s two
Learning more about the soft hand and hard hand in blackjack is the first step to mastering the game. When it comes to blackjack, everyone needs to improve their gaming skills, whether you’re a pro player or a novice one. Thanks to online casinos, there are many blackjack variations. If you want to increase your chances of winning, it's best to sharpen your gaming skills as often as you can.
If you’re a pro when it comes to counting cards, you’ll strategically spot the number of high and low cards remaining in the deck as the game progresses. With this knowledge, you can change the size of your bet and the hand decision. As a result, you’ll be able to exploit the opportunities when the deck is more favorable entirely. Counting cards is one of the main, advanced blackjack gaming skills that most players need to remember.
The Soft 17 Rule For The Win
The soft 17 rule is widespread in all blackjack games, both for offline and online casinos. The rule is clearly stated on tables where it’s accepted. The rule can never be used on its own to increase the value of the house edge. Strangely enough, some blackjack players never notice the impact of the soft 17 rule when playing.
Blackjack might be a simple casino game. However, any single change that’s made can affect the house's edge. The soft 17 rule causes a 0.2% increment to the house edge, which goes a long way in increasing your earnings.
Enjoy an extraordinary gambling experience playing blackjack online, with increased chances of winning thanks to the soft 17 rule.