If one of the cards is an Ace counted as 11 – the hand is soft. For example, the combination of an Ace and a six is called the soft 17. Likewise, a pair consisting of an Ace and a seven is called the soft 18, and so on. On the other hand, a pair of cards without an Ace counted as 11 is called a hard hand.
In literal terms, Soft 17 is another way of describing a blackjack hand worth 17 which includes an Ace, where the Ace counted either as 1 or 11. A Soft hand cannot bust if you take one card more. In contrast, a hard hand is simply one without an Ace, or which includes an Ace but it can bust if another card is taken.
See more videos for What Is A Soft 17
The Soft 17 Rule in Blackjack. by Henry Tamburin. 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 the best-selling Blackjack: Take the Money & Run.
For a single-deck game, hit soft 17 when the dealer’s upcard is 7 through ace. For double- and multi-deck games, hit soft 17 when the dealer’s upcard is a 2 or 7 through ace. Now that you know the common mistakes made by players when holding a soft 17, the next time you are dealt this hand, you should have no problem playing it correctly.
So, what’s a soft 17? Soft 17 pertains to card combination that totals to 17 if the Ace is valued as 11. For example, an Ace and 7 is a soft 17. Likewise, any card combination that uses 11 as the value for the card is a soft number such as soft 18, soft 19 and so forth. One, however, has to remember that the soft 17 rule is not limited to two cards.
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).
What follows are the facts on how to play this hand accurately every time you play blackjack. First, let me review some basics. A soft hand is any hand that contains an ace that is counted as 11. For example, an ace-6 is a soft 17; so is ace-3-3 and 2-2-ace-2.
One key variation comes on whether dealers hit or stand on soft 17. A soft 17 includes an Ace being counted as 11. Ace-6 is a soft 17, as are Ace-2-4, Ace-3-3, Ace-Ace-5 and others. When the dealer hits soft 17, the house edge against a basic strategy player is about two-tenths of a percent higher than if he stands.