Live casino games are rising in popularity by the day. Not only are these games entertaining and engaging to play, but they also offer super-high payouts. A great example is the blackjack game, which has a house edge of up to 0.5% with the right strategy.
But to become a pro blackjack player, you must learn a few gameplay rules, such as the Soft 17. So, what exactly is the Soft 17 rule in blackjack, and what difference does it make? Read to find out!
Basically, Soft 17 is another term to describe a 17 blackjack hand with an Ace. In this case, an Ace is an 11 or a 1. That said, you can make a Soft 17 hand in multiple ways. The most common way is to create a hand with a 6 and an Ace.
However, you can also make a Soft 17 with three or more cards, as long as you have an Ace. Players can get an Ace+3+3 or an Ace+2+2+4. Usually, these hands are called ‘soft,’ as you’ll learn in the next section.
When playing blackjack, it’s vital to master the difference between Soft and Hard hands. As said, a Soft Hand includes an Ace. On the other side, a Hard Hand doesn’t have an Ace.
For example, if a player has a 3 and a Jack, the ‘hard’ total is 13. But if you create a hand with 3 and an Ace, the ‘soft’ total is 14 because the Ace represents 11.
Interestingly, you can count the Ace as 1 if you have a hand total of 22. Sticking with the example above, you can create a hand with a Soft 14 (Ace+3). Then, you proceed to hit and get a 10. In that case, the hand total is 24.
With the Ace counted as 1, it gives you a Soft 15. All in all, creating a Soft hand protects the player from busting. That’s why it’s advisable to play a soft hand more aggressively on your favorite live casino.
One thing about blackjack is that players get to make judgment calls and decide how to play their hands. You are at liberty to decide whether to hit, stand, split, or double down without giving a hoot about the dealer’s opinion.
On the other hand, the dealer can’t make decisions about how to play their hands. For that reason, casinos have rules on how dealers should play their blackjack hands. The most common rule thumb is that the dealer hits a total not more than 16 and stands on 17 or more. And yes, this rule applies whether the total is hard or soft.
Surprisingly, some casinos require dealers only to hit a Soft 17 hand. This improves the game conditions for the house, hurting the player in return. Therefore, the best move is doubling down on an Ace or 11 if the dealer shows an Ace. Also, double down if the dealer owns a 6 and you possess a Soft 19. Finally, If the croupier has a 2 and you have a Soft 18, double down.
Generally, the house edge difference you’ll have against the casino when using S17 is an impressive 0.2%. As small as it looks, that number can make the difference, considering most live casino blackjack tables have a house advantage of 0.7%.
With that in mind, if you’re a frequent blackjack player who stakes $10,000 per year, you’ll get $20 more on an S17 table and $20 less on an H17 table. So, all things considered, always play on a Soft 17 table.