In blackjack, players are often faced with the question of what to do when they are dealt a soft 17 in their hand. Whether they should hit, stand or double down is an important decision to make that can have an impact on their overall odds of beating the dealer. This article will discuss the facts surrounding what a soft 17 is and how to play this hand accurately in any blackjack game, regardless of whether it is played at a land-based or online casino.

What is a Soft 17?

A soft 17 in blackjack is a hand that contains an Ace and is played very differently from a hard hand. The reason for this is that the ace is counted as both 1 and 11 in a soft hand, while it can only be counted as one in a hard hand. This is the primary difference between a soft and hard hand in blackjack, and it is important to understand how each is played to minimize the house edge.

There are some players who will misplay a soft hand in a way that increases the house edge by not taking advantage of this rule. For example, some players will hit a soft 17 against the dealer’s up card when it would be better to double down. This mistake is made because the player assumes that the dealer will bust more often if they hit, and this is not always true.

Another common mistake is to not double down when it is appropriate to do so. This is generally a good strategy when the dealer has a weak up card, such as a four or five. In these situations, doubling down will yield an improved hand against the dealer, and this can significantly improve your chances of winning.

It is also important to remember that the dealer must hit on a soft 17. Some casinos will allow players to surrender, and basic strategy recommends doing so in certain circumstances. For instance, you should always surrender in cases where the dealer has a 7 up against an ace and in some cases, such as when the dealer has a 9 against an ace or a 10-7 vs. ace, as well as in other two-card hands that can’t be split.

Some players will not surrender in a proper situation when they are facing a dealer with a weak up card, such as if the dealer has a 3 or 4, and this can cost them a significant amount of money. In fact, the average player loses 50 cents for every dollar they wager when they surrender in these situations, so this is not a decision that should be taken lightly.