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In Blackjack, which of these Hands is a “Soft 14”?

May 17, 2022

In Blackjack, which of these Hands is a “Soft 14”? With solid knowledge and very good strategy, players also need proper banking, discipline and money management. However, the best way to learn is through practice. If players don't want to lose a significant amount of money, they should make sure they are familiar with the rules and requirements of the casino and the game before they start playing.

What are soft hands?

Many of the moves in the basic blackjack strategy table are logical and intuitive for novice blackjack players. For example, they understand that if the dealer has a ten or an ace, they should hit 16, or that they should split eights if the dealer has a five or six to begin with.

However, some basic strategy games are not as intuitive, so beginners often make mistakes in certain hands. This often happens with hands from a soft 13 to a soft 17, so today we'll look at just those hands. But first, let's explain what the term soft hands means.

Players need to know what to do when they have soft hands, because these situations happen more often than players realize. Players have these hands when one of their cards is an ace, which is rated 11, meaning that the next time they take an extra card, they will not be eliminated. The reason for this is that any other card in the deck will be equal to or less than 21, and players have no chance of exceeding that amount.

For example, a hand containing A-2 has a soft 13, and a hand containing A-2-3 has a soft 16. If another deuce rolls on a soft 16, you have a soft 18. You can play again without risking breaking your hand. If you are dealt an older card, such as a 9, your ace will directly become a 1, thus eliminating the broken card and giving you a hand with a hard 17. It is this flexibility that soft hands give the blackjack player that makes them so valuable.

Players need to understand that an ace in the hand gives them the choice of whether to value it as a 1 or an 11. This allows them to change the overall value of the hand accordingly, and it is the card that players rely on the most. In addition, soft hands give players a great opportunity to increase their profits if the dealer is weak. This is usually done through soft doubling, but we'll cover that topic a little later.

To illustrate how players should play when they have a soft hand of 13-17, it is best to look at a few examples of situations that are most challenging for players. Players should remember that whenever they have an ace in their hand, they have a soft hand, and they should take all advantage of this situation.

Such hands give players the opportunity to double up, and this can play in their favor. However, players need to make sure they have a good understanding of what the term "soft hand" means in order to make the best possible move.

Soft 13 Cases

A very favorable situation is when a player's two cards are a deuce and an ace, because then he has a soft 13, if he chooses to value his ace as 11. This position is favorable because no matter which card is drawn next, players cannot decide because the ace gives them the flexibility needed to change accordingly.

If players are dealt, say, 10, they have the option to easily switch and value their ace as 1, leaving them with a heavy hand of 13.

In cases like this, where players have a deuce and an ace as two cards, it is best if they prepare their next move in advance. The preparation includes familiarizing themselves with the game conditions that await them at their chosen table. This is because the recommended strategy for playing soft 13 is influenced by the number of cards in the blackjack hands variation.

If the dealer's top card is a 5 or 6, players must double their bet if the game is played with decks two through eight. The dealer's fixed position rule does not affect the "soft 13" strategy. Players must beat the dealer's other possible top cards.

Aggressive doubling play is recommended against 5 or 6, as these two top cards have the highest probability of being dealt by the dealer. Players should try to exploit this weakness by doubling up on the soft 13 and thereby doubling their profits.

For those of you who play single deck blackjack, you should double up on soft 13 if the dealer shows 4, 5 or 6 cards. Knock out a soft 13 against all of the dealer's other high cards, namely 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10 and an ace. If players follow this strategy, their chances of going broke are greatly reduced.

Soft 14-15-16 Cases

If players hold cards that yield one of the following results: a soft 14, 15, or 16, they must choose the same move, since this strategy applies to all of these hands if only one deck is played. If the dealer's top card is a 4, 5, or 6, players must double up. The penalty for doubling on the Basic Strategy Table for S17 Multi-Table Blackjack single-table games is very small. You will only give up 0.008% of your advantages.

Making optimal play moves is more important at single-deck tables, where the effect of card draws is pronounced. The bad news is that many single-deck options prohibit players from doubling up with soft hands, limiting the move to heavy hands of 9, 10 and 11.

For the other dealer's top card options, players must mark a hit. You can see that the difference between the strategy for soft 13 and soft 14, 15, and 16 is that the players face 4 as the dealer's high card.

Consider the following case where the player have a soft 15 and the dealer's high card is a 6, and what are the possible outcomes in this situation if the players follow the strategy and double up.

If the players get a 3, their hand will be 18, which is pretty good, but we still have to remember that the average winning hand is 18.5, and 18 does not guarantee us a win.

If the players draw a 2, their hand sum will be 17, and if they draw an Ace, their hand sum will be 16. The players should hope that they manage to draw a 4, 5 or 6, because then their hand sum will be 19, 20 and 21 respectively. The remaining cards will give a total of 15 or less, which is unfortunate for players.

There are slight deviations from the strategy described above if there are multiple cards in the hand. Specifically, in the case of a soft 14, a soft double is only required if the dealer's hole card is a 5 or 6 only. You hit against a 4 and all other possible hole cards from the dealer.

In the case of soft doubles on 15 and 16, you must do so against 4, 5, and 6 and beat the dealer's other senior cards. When playing double blackjack with the dealer playing a soft 17, it is recommended that you double with a soft 14 against the dealer's 4. This gives the player a marginal gain, but allows him to earn more with a soft 14 hand.

Holding Soft 16 is one of the most difficult situations beginners can find themselves in. Some beginners approach this hand the same way they approach the hard 16. It is never advisable to stand with a soft 16, as you cannot exceed 21 while drawing one card.

So why not try to improve your position by doubling or hitting with a soft 16? In fact, the only way to win on soft 16 is if the dealer exceeds 21. The probability of winning with 16 points is the same as the probability of winning with 3-2 or A-A (soft 12 points).

Soft 17 Cases

If a player has an ace and a six, that means he has a soft 17. A soft 17 (e.g., A-6, A-2-4, A-3-3) is one of the most frequently wrong hands in all of blackjack. To make the best possible move, players must always act according to the dealer's high card and the total value of their hand. In that sense, if the dealer's top card is a 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, the best move for players is to double their bet if they play one-step options.

Doubling yields optimal value in all one-step games, regardless of the dealer's status blackjack rules. Given that soft doubling is not allowed at all at single-stack tables, you should hit soft 17s instead for sur. Soft 17s are also recommended against the dealer's higher cards from 7 to Ace.

The reason for this is that if a player has a soft 17 and receives a 10 or any of the face cards, he is left with a hard 17. In this case, if the player decides to follow this strategy and double up, he will have a better chance of winning more money because it puts him in a good position.

In the case of doubling in multi deck and two deck blackjack, doubling on a soft 17 is only a good move if the dealer starts his hand with the lowest high card from 3 to 6. In multi-card blackjack against all other high cards the best move is a hit.

 

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