Blackjack Soft Hands Strategy
by Frank Scoblete
Blackjack Soft Hands strategy is the focus of this lesson at Gambling
To review, soft hands are any hands with an ace where that ace can be
used as 1 or 11.
Playing correct strategy for blackjack soft hands has puzzled many
The question lingers as to what to do for certain soft hands or what is
the best soft doubling strategy?
With the assistance of blackjack expert, Fred Renzy, correct strategy
is detailed below, but before tackling blackjack soft hands; a quick
review of basic strategy follows.
Basic strategy refers to the computer-derived play of every player hand
against every dealer upcard. If you adhere to the basics for hitting,
standing, doubling down, and splitting pairs, you will face very small
casino edges of about 0.3–0.6% for multiple-deck games.
Additionally, there is almost no casino edge on single-deck games. In
fact, in some single-deck games with good rules, the player can have a
tiny edge over the casino, on the order of 0.14 percent.
: If a casino has a
0.6 percent edge that means for every
$100 wagered, the long-run expectation is for the player to lose 60
Most basic strategy is relatively easy to learn and understand, while
blackjack soft hands strategy requires an extra lesson.
After all, when you get a two-card 21, you just sit there, smile and
collect your 3-2 payoff. You certainly don’t double down on it as if it
were an eleven. Also, when you have a 17 through 20, you do nothing but
wait and hope you can beat the dealer or that the dealer busts.
The above strategies are logical and most players intuitively
understand that hitting a 20 or splitting tens won’t help them very
much. And doubling on a two-card 5 is not the right move against a
dealer’s 10 up.
But some strategies like the blackjack soft hands strategy taught here
are not so logical and often fly in the face of logic. Hitting your 12s
against a dealer’s 2 or 3 is one such item. In the long run, the
computers show that a basic strategy player who hits 12s against a
dealer’s 2 or 3 will win slightly more money than one who stands.
It does seem that those busting tens do arrive with annoying frequency
when you are hitting that 12. You may shy away from this move; however,
it is indeed the correct play to make.
Blackjack Soft Hands Strategy:
So what to do with certain soft hands or the best soft doubling
strategy for hands with an ace where that ace can be used as 1 or 11?
When you get that A:3 and the dealer shows a 3, what is the best play?
Or when you have an A:6 and the dealer is showing that same 3, what is
For assistance, I refer to blackjack expert Fred Renzey, who has come
up with a handy guide to decide what to do with most soft hands in
His Rule of Nine
to double and when to hit those maddening blackjack soft hands.
As a basic strategy player, the only soft hands you should consider
doubling are when you have Ace/2 through Ace/7 against a dealer’s 6 or
lower in multiple-deck games.
Also, some of those hands you should soft double and with some, you
should not as described in the following examples of the blackjack soft
- Against a deuce up: Never soft double—you will get burned too
- Against a 5 or 6 up: Always double down with any A/2 through A/7.
This is when the dealer is at his/her weakest.
- Against a 3 or 4 up: This is where you employ the Rule of Nine.
the dealer’s up-card, either 3 or a 4 with your kicker--the side-card
next to your Ace. If the two add up to 9 or more, double down. If they
are less than 9, just hit.
To summarize this blackjack soft hands strategy: If you have a hand
that is Ace-5 and the dealer is showing a 3, then simply hit because 5
and 3 equals 8. However, if you have a hand that is Ace-5 and the
dealer is showing a four, then you double.
Remember that in order to use the soft doubling strategy, you must have
Ace/2 through Ace/7 and the dealer must have a 3, 4, 5 or 6 up. Against
a 5 or a 6, you will always pull the trigger, and against a 3 or a 4,
you will play by the Rule of Nine.
This lesson provides an easy way to learn correct blackjack soft hands
strategy and brings to mind the popular Beatles’ lyrics of number 9,
number 9, number 9....
Soft Hands Strategy is followed by Profits by Card Counting
to Learn to Play Blackjack Program
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