Soft Hand

The Soft Hand

A soft hand is defined as a hand that contains an Ace, but the other card is less than an eleven. For example, an Ace card combines with a four card would result in a soft hand, also known as a soft 15 for this example.

Depending on the casino, the dealer is forced to follow a set of rules when it comes to the hands they have. Some casinos will require that their dealers to take a hit while other will make them hold with 17. It is beneficial for you to know that dealers that hold with a soft 17 are more likely to lose than those who take a hit. Because of this, make sure you are aware of the rules for the casino so that you can improve your odds when you play. You can use this to your advantage because you don't have the same rules that govern the dealer.

Most players will hit with anything below a soft seventeen, while standing on anything above it. This is a basic rule of thumb, so you can play accordingly. Finally, be aware that you cannot bust if you take a hit with a soft hand.

Card Counting

If you have seen the movie 21 or read any strategy guide on Blackjack, you know that counting cards can drastically help you improve your odds. For a high count deck, the player can hit when they have a soft seventeen with the chance of changing it to a hard seventeen. If the deck is a low count, the player will not bust if they take a hit at this point, but the odds of beating the house is very low.

Stiff Hand

Unlike a hard or soft hand, the stiff hands are cards that total between 12 and 16 points. This hand is the most troublesome because they can negatively affect the player in several ways. If the dealer has a face card that is six or lower, it is better to wait and see if the dealer will bust. On the other hand, if the face card is higher than seven, it may be beneficial to take another card and try to beat the dealer.

Splitting Cards

The player also has the option to split cards, something that the dealer cannot do. It is recommended that if two Aces are dealt, that the player splits the cards. This way, they can play two hands and both of them still have a chance of getting a natural Blackjack. Remember that if you get two Aces, you can also double the money you get and even get more if they turn out to be natural Blackjacks.