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How To Play A Soft 17 In Blackjack

Hitting soft 17 is a polarizing topic, but this is a way to read through the illusion and know how to maximize your revenue.

First, you've got to know the rules of your particular table and game. Soft 17 is a polarizing hand for the dealer because in some places dealers must hit on it, other places they stay on it. That's an important difference when deciding how to handle your soft 17.

Doubling down on Soft 17 isn't just a move to get the best hand, but it's to increase your play when the dealer has a bust card. Here is the data on the odds/return via the Casino City Times

Figures given are average win or loss per $1 of your original wager.

  • Ace-6 vs. 2: Hit, lose three hundredths of a cent. Stand, lose 15.3 cents. Double, lose five-tenths of a cent.
  • Ace-6 vs. 3: Hit, win 2.9 cents. Stand, lose 11.6 cents. Double, win 5.7 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 4: Hit, win 6.2 cents. Stand, lose 7.6 cents. Double, win 12.3 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 5: Hit, win 9.9 cents. Stand, lose 3.8 cents. Double, win 19.7 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 6: Hit, win 12.6 cents. Stand, lose 0.5 cents. Double, win 25.2 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 7: Hit, win 5.4 cents. Stand, lose 10.4 cents. Double, lose 0.9 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 8: Hit, lose 7.1 cents. Stand, lose 38.3 cents. Double, lose 25.2 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 9: Hit, lose 14.7 cents. Stand, lose 42.1 cents. Double, lose 39.2 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. 10 value: Hit, lose 19.6 cents. Stand, lose 42.0 cents. Double, lose 45.5 cents.
  • Ace-6 vs. Ace: Hit, lose 22.1 cents. Stand, lose 52.4 cents. Double, lose 54.9 cents.

Based on those figures, the best move you can do is double a soft 17 vs. a 6 and the worst move you can do is double a soft 17 vs. an ace. The biggest swing though is standing on soft 17 vs. a 6 (lose 38.3 cents) vs. doubling it (win 25.2 cents).

I actually had this exact situation last week on Monday Night Blackjack where I was solo as Hank was traveling. Sitting anchor, there is a very easy tie to if my decision worked out or screwed everyone, so there is a lot of pressure here.

Luckily it worked out there! Here's what the card says on how to handle soft 17

So doubling with the dealer having 3-6, and hitting regularly with anything else. Never standing. But at the end of the day, Blackjack is paid with your own money and you should play for your own pockets while also being considerate to those around you. How do you like to play soft 17? Sound off in the comments section. And be sure to tune in tonight to Monday Night Blackjack during halftime of the MNF game on the Pardon My Take Twitch channel.