Blackjack is more than just a game of chance. It’s a skill-based game that nvolves strategy and a great understanding of the rules. There’s a lot to understand and think about, especially if you are considering complex betting systems and strategies for playing blackjack online.
Among the many subtleties of online blackjack, knowing the difference between soft 17 and hard 17 rule in blackjack is vital for any player.
In this article, we’ll dive into the topic of soft and hard 17 dealer rules in blackjack, exploring the significance and impact of this rule on your winning blackjack strategy.
Both the soft and hard 17 rules refer to the dealer. Basically, both refer to blackjack hands of the dealer that, depending on the soft/hard rule employed, dictate that the dealer should proceed or stand on.
But let’s first go over the hand. What is a soft 17 hand?
A soft 17 hand is a hand that contains an Ace (valued at 11), as well as a 6. An Ace in blackjack can have a value of either 1 or 11. In other words, Aces add flexibility to the game. Hence, as the value can be changed, every hand that contains an Ace in the game is considered a soft hand.
Therefore, an Ace + 6 hand is a soft 17 hand as it can either have the value of 7 or 17.
This flexibility allows players room to choose whether they want to stand or hit. Unlike a hard hand, players can actually decide whether they want to hit with a lower risk of going over 21 (bust).
The hard 17 hand is a complete opposite of the soft 17 hand.
A hard hand – in this case a hand with a total of 17 – is a hand that does not contain an Ace, meaning that it’s either a 10+7 or 8+9. In simple English, it’s called a ‘hard’ hand because there is no way to escape the fact that the total is 17, which means you are close to 21 and thus it’s easier to go bust if you hit.
The fact that there is no room for maneuvering prevents players from seeking creative strategies to win as they need a card that’s below 5 to win – and no other card may help them.
In case you still get an Ace in the hand, it must be valued 1 to constitute a hard 17. Either way, the best thing you can do is stand in this situation as you don’t want to risk a loss by going bust.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the soft 17 and hard 17 blackjack rules.
The rules refer to the dealer, or more precisely, the decision the dealer will make once they get a soft 17/hard 17 hand or higher.
In general, the dealer can either stand only on hard 17, or stand on both soft 17 and hard 17 blackjack hands. Either way, they stand on the hard hand, while some tables employ the rule that they stand on the soft hand as well.
Of course, any hand that’s higher than 17 automatically means they stand as well. So, in short, if a dealer stands only on hard 17 but hits if it’s a soft 17, that is the Hard 17 Rule. Casinos often stylize it as H17 as it is shorter.
On the other hand, if a player stands on both hands, i.e., both on soft 17 and hard 17, then it’s a Soft 17 Rule in force – or S17 in short.
Truthfully, many things might affect your blackjack experience, and so it’s important to factor in every single thing to craft a sound blackjack strategy. It’s not unheard of to switch strategies mid-round if you change your mind, but we would advise against that if you can help it.
But back to our topic. How does the soft/hard 17 dealer hand rule affect the round – and consequently, your strategy?
For starters, the Hard 17 Rule, where the dealer hits on Soft 17 but stands on Hard 17, gives the dealer a chance to draw another card and potentially draw closer to 21.
On the other hand, the Soft 17 Rule, wherein the dealer stands on both hands, limits the dealer and benefits the player more than the dealer.
In short, one is a player-friendly and the other a dealer-friendly (or house-friendly) rule. That is why it’s so important to choose wisely which table you are going to sit at while choosing the next blackjack table to play at.
Understanding the difference between hard and soft 17 rules in blackjack might not be pivotal but it’s certainly of great significance if you intend to play blackjack often. It’s not just understanding numbers – it may considerably affect your experience, so it might become necessary to adapt your strategy based on the rule.
Regardless of you being a novice or a seasoned enthusiast, knowing and grasping these rules will undoubtedly have an impact on your gameplay – it’s sort of a make-it-or-break-it situations as you can sway more wins or lose more often.
So, the next time you hit a blackjack table online, pay attention to the dealer’s hand, and choose wisely the table you want to sit at! And for more guides and tips for playing blackjack online, check out our strategies and articles.