Home » bitcoin blackjack » how to play soft 17
Gary McLellan

Soft 17 is an essential and sometimes confusing concept in the game of blackjack. It refers to a hand that consists of an Ace, which can be counted as either one or eleven points, and a six, giving the hand a total value of either seven or seventeen points.

Understanding the intricacies and strategic implications of soft 17 is crucial for both beginners and experienced players alike, as it can significantly affect the outcome of a game.

In blackjack, a soft 17 hand offers more flexibility and strategic options than a hard 17, which is a hand with a value of 17 points without an Ace.

Soft 17 is a unique situation because it presents both opportunities and potential challenges for players, particularly when deciding whether to hit, stand, or employ other strategies.

The dealer’s play on soft 17 also has a significant impact on the house edge and the optimal approach for gamers.

Key Takeaways

  • Soft 17 is a crucial concept in blackjack that combines an Ace and a six, impacting strategic decision-making.
  • Understanding the dealer’s play on soft 17 is vital to increase winning chances and reduce the house edge.
  • Mastering basic and advanced soft 17 strategies is paramount for optimizing gameplay and becoming a skillful blackjack player.

Understanding Soft 17 in Blackjack

In blackjack, one of the crucial hands to know how to play properly is a soft 17. A soft 17 is a hand consisting of an Ace used as 11 points, along with a 6. This hand is called soft because, unlike other hands with a 17 value, it can be hit without the risk of busting.

There are two main aspects to consider when playing a soft 17:

  1. Dealer rules: Depending on the Bitcoin casino or live venue or the specific game variation, the game rules may say whether they should stand or hit on a soft 17. The most common versions include:
      • Dealer hits soft 17: More challenging for players.
      • Dealer stands on all 17s: Generally more favorable for players.
  2. Player’s strategy: The player’s decisions when they have a soft 17 will also depend on the dealer’s upcard and the overall game strategy they have adopted. In general, the player is more likely to hit a soft 17 against a powerful upcard, like a 9, 10, or Ace, especially when the dealer hits soft 17. It is important to adjust the player strategy based on the specific game rules.

It’s crucial to get familiar with the basic strategy chart for soft 17. The chart helps players decide whether to hit, stand, double down, or split when facing different dealer upcards. A simplified version of the soft 17 basic strategy looks like this:

Dealer Upcard Player Action
2 Hit/Double
3 Hit/Double
4 Hit/Double
5 Hit/Double
6 Hit/Double
7 – 8 Stand
9 – 10, Jack, Queen, King Hit
Ace Hit

Adapting to the game rules: When the dealer stands on all 17s, the player becomes slightly less aggressive and more cautious in their decision-making.

For example, if the player has a soft 17 against the dealer’s 2, they might opt for a simple hit instead of doubling down.

In conclusion, understanding soft 17 in blackjack is an essential part of developing a solid strategy for playing the game.

By familiarizing oneself with the dealer rules and adjusting the player’s decisions based on the game rules, it is possible to improve one’s outcomes in blackjack.

Basic Strategy for Soft 17

Hit or Stand Decisions

In blackjack, a soft 17 refers to a hand consisting of an Ace (valued as 11) and a 6. This hand totals 7 or 17, giving it the name “soft” 17. Understanding the basic strategy for a soft 17 is essential for players to maximize their winnings.

  1. Dealer’s Upcard: The first key factor in deciding whether to hit or stand with a soft 17 is the dealer’s upcard.
    • 2 through 6: If the dealer’s upcard is a low card, such as 2 through 6, the player should stand. This increases the likelihood of the dealer busting.
    • 7 through Ace: If the dealer shows a strong card, such as 7 or higher (including Ace), the player should hit. With a soft hand, there’s no risk of busting, and hitting can potentially improve the hand.
  2. Table Rules: It’s also important to understand the specific house rules. In some casinos, the dealer is required to hit on a soft 17, while in others, they must stand. Knowing the table rules will help players make better decisions.

Doubling Down on Soft 17

Another crucial aspect of soft 17 strategy is the doubling down decision. Doubling down allows a player to double their initial bet and receive only one additional card. To decide when to double down, consider the following scenarios:

Dealer’s Upcard Player’s Action
3 through 6 Double Down
2, 7 through Ace Hit
  • If the dealer’s upcard is a 3, 4, 5, or 6, the player should double down on their soft 17. These upcards give the dealer a higher chance of busting, and doubling down can help maximize the potential winnings.
  • If the dealer’s upcard is a 2 or 7 through Ace, the player should hit instead of doubling down. Hitting in this case reduces the risk of losing, as the dealer has a stronger upcard.

By carefully considering the dealer’s upcard and available table rules, players can apply the most effective strategy for a soft 17. Mastering these basic strategies will significantly improve a player’s chances of winning in blackjack.

Dealer’s Play on Soft 17

Rule Variations and Their Impact

In soft 17 blackjack, the dealer’s play varies depending on the specific rules of the table or crypto blackjack casino. A soft 17 consists of an Ace and a 6, which can be counted as either 7 or 17 points. The main variations are whether the dealer hits or stands on a soft 17.

  1. Hit Soft 17 (H17): In this variation, the dealer is required to take another card when they have a soft 17. This increases the dealer’s chances of improving their hand, but also the risk of going over 21 and busting.
  2. Stand Soft 17 (S17): In this variation, the dealer stands on a soft 17, and no additional cards are drawn. This lessens the dealer’s chances of busting, but they also have a lower probability of improving their hand.

House Edge Implications

The house edge in blackjack is the statistical advantage that the casino has over the player. Players need to understand the impact of the dealer’s play on soft 17, as it can affect their overall odds.

Rule Variation House Edge Impact
Dealer Hits (H17) +0.22%
Dealer Stands (S17) -0.22%
  • When the dealer hits on a soft 17 (H17), the overall house edge increases by approximately 0.22%. This is because the dealer has an increased likelihood of drawing a better hand, putting the player at a greater disadvantage.
  • Conversely, when the dealer stands on a soft 17 (S17), the overall house edge decreases by approximately 0.22%, favoring the player.

In summary, the rule variations have a significant impact on the strategic decisions made by players and the overall outcome of the game.

Players should be aware of these rule variations and adjust their strategy accordingly to maximize their chances of winning in soft 17 blackjack.

Advanced Soft 17 Strategies

Card Counting Approaches

Card counting is a popular method to gain an edge in blackjack by tracking the cards dealt to anticipate the probability of upcoming cards.

For soft 17 strategy, card counting can help players make more informed decisions based on high and low cards remaining in the shoe. Common card counting systems, such as the Hi-Lo, KO, and Hi-Opt methods, assign point values to the cards as they are dealt:

Card Rank Hi-Lo KO Hi-Opt
2-6 +1 +1 +1
7-9 0 0 0
10-Ace -1 -1 -1

By keeping a running count and converting it to a true count (dividing the running count by the remaining decks), a player confidently determines if the shoe favors them.

They then adjust their strategy for a soft 17 hand accordingly by either hitting, standing, doubling down, or splitting based on the true count.

Shoe Composition Considerations

Shoe composition, and the distribution of cards remaining in the shoe, can also affect advanced soft 17 strategies. Paying attention to factors like the presence of Aces or high-value cards can help players adjust their gameplay.

For instance, if several Aces are already dealt, the chances of receiving another Ace on a soft 17 hand decrease. Consequently, a player might decide to hit, knowing their hand is less likely to bust.

Similarly, with more high-value cards remaining, a player could opt to stand, expecting the dealer to draw a high card and potentially bust.

In conclusion, advanced soft 17 strategies revolve around understanding the impact of card counting and shoe composition.

Adjusting the basic soft 17 strategy according to card probabilities and the remaining shoe composition can optimize a player’s decisions and increase their chances of winning.

Effect of Soft 17 on Insurance and Surrender

In this section, we will discuss the impact of a soft 17 hand on two crucial decisions: taking blackjack insurance and surrendering.

When to Take Insurance

Insurance is a side bet that allows players to protect their original bet when the dealer shows an ace as the upcard. It is only available when the dealer has a potential blackjack, and the player can bet up to half of their initial wager.

The insurance bet pays 2:1 if the dealer has a blackjack, and the player loses their original wager but wins the insurance bet.

In the context of soft 17, it is essential to understand that taking insurance is generally unfavorable for the player.

Even when holding a soft 17 hand, the casino still has a significant edge as the dealer is more likely not to have a blackjack. Moreover, the payouts do not cover the increased probability of dealer blackjacks.


Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard Insurance Decision
A-6 (Soft 17) Ace Not recommended

To put it simply, in most cases, it is best to avoid taking insurance regardless of holding a soft 17.

Optimal Surrender Decisions

Surrendering is an option that allows players to give up their hand and lose only half of their original bet when they believe the odds of winning are unfavorable.

When it comes to the soft 17 hand, specific rules and dealer’s upcards may influence the player’s decision to surrender. Here is a brief guideline for optimal surrender decisions when holding a soft 17:

  1. Always surrender when permitted if the dealer shows a 10-value card or an ace.


Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard Surrender Decision
A-6 (Soft 17) 10 Yes
A-6 (Soft 17) Ace Yes

2. Do not surrender if the dealer’s upcard is between 2 and 9.

Player’s Hand Dealer’s Upcard Surrender Decision
A-6 (Soft 17) 5 No

In most variations, though, blackjack surrendering is not allowed, so players should focus on improving their strategies and understanding the game better.

In conclusion, while soft 17 has some bearing on insurance and surrender decisions in blackjack, the general advice remains the same: avoid taking insurance and base surrender decisions on the dealer’s upcard.

Practice and Application

Simulators and Training Software

There are several simulators and training software available online to help players hone their skills for a Soft 17 Blackjack game. Some of the popular options include:

  1. Hit or Stand: An interactive, free online blackjack game that focuses on basic strategy.
  2. Blackjack Trainer: A downloadable software that provides customized lessons and quizzes.
  3. Card Counting Trainer: A tool specifically designed to help players improve their card counting abilities.

These tools offer a variety of features such as adjustable game rules, feedback on decision-making, and progress tracking. They enable players to develop strategies and test them in a risk-free environment before applying them in a live game.

Live Game Practice Tips

When practicing Soft 17 Blackjack in a live game setting, players should keep the following tips in mind for better learning and application:

  1. Establish a bankroll management plan: Set a budget and stick to it, which helps maintain control over the gaming experience.
  2. Start with low stakes: Playing in low stakes games allows players to focus on skill development without the stress of risking a large amount of money.
  3. Observe other players: Take note of the decisions made by more experienced players and try to understand their thought processes.
  4. Implement basic strategy: Utilize strategies based on mathematical calculations for higher winning chances. Avoid relying solely on intuition or feelings.
  5. Keep emotions in check: Stay composed and — most importantly — have fun when playing Soft 17 Blackjack.

By implementing these tips and using the available simulation tools, players can significantly improve their Soft 17 Blackjack skills while enjoying the gaming process.


In conclusion, mastering the intricacies of soft 17 in blackjack is vital for players looking to enhance their strategic approach and increase their chances of success at the tables.

Soft 17 hands present both opportunities and challenges, requiring players to make informed decisions based on factors such as the dealer’s upcard and the specific game rules.

By understanding basic and advanced soft 17 strategies, including when to hit, stand, double down, or surrender, players can optimize their gameplay and improve their overall outcomes in blackjack.

Moreover, utilizing simulators and training software, coupled with live game practice, offers valuable opportunities for skill development and refinement.

Armed with this knowledge and practice, players can confidently navigate soft 17 scenarios and elevate their performance in the game of blackjack.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do blackjack rules change when dealing with a soft 17?

In blackjack, the rules for dealing with a soft 17 may vary depending on the specific table or casino. For some, the dealer hits on a soft 17, while for others, the dealer stands. It is essential to know and understand the table rules before playing to avoid confusion and make informed decisions.

What is the difference between a soft 17 and a hard 17?

A soft 17 refers to a hand that includes an ace valued as 11, plus another card with a value of 6. This allows the ace to be counted as either 1 or 11, providing flexibility in decision-making. A hard 17, on the other hand, is a hand where the ace is valued at only 1 or where no ace is present, giving the player fewer options for decision-making.

What does it mean when the dealer must hit on a soft 17?

When a dealer must hit on a soft 17, it means that if the dealer's hand totals 17 with an ace counted as 11, they must draw an additional card. This rule can impact the overall odds in blackjack, as it often favors the house slightly more than if the dealer were to stand on a soft 17.

In blackjack strategy, should one hit or stand when holding a soft 17?

In basic blackjack strategy, it is generally advised to hit when holding a soft 17. Standing on a soft 17 often gives the dealer an advantage, as their chances of outdrawing the player's hand are significantly higher. However, some advanced strategies may vary depending on the specific game conditions and rules.

Is it common practice for casinos to require dealers to hit on a soft 17?

Yes, it is relatively common for casinos to require dealers to hit on a soft 17. However, different casinos have different rules, so it is essential to familiarize oneself with the specific table or casino rules before playing.

When faced with a soft 17, is it advisable to double down if the dealer shows a 6?

Though circumstances can vary, it can be beneficial to double down when faced with a soft 17 and the dealer shows a 6. The reason being that the dealer has a higher probability of busting, and doubling down enables the player to take advantage of this potentially favorable situation. However, it is crucial to consider the specific game conditions and rules, as well as one's skill level, before making this decision.

Gary McLellan

Gary McLellan has been involved in the gambling sector for years after studying Journalism in Glasgow. Starting out with running a poker blog over 10 years ago, he has since worked with many betting publications, focusing on crypto-related sites more recently due to their growing popularity. Gary brings his expertise on gambling to BitcoinCasinos.com since 2022 after successfully overseeing the launch of several sports betting sites including legalsportsbooks.com.