Soft Hands in Blackjack
A “soft hand” is where you’ve got an Ace and something else. Why is it soft, you ask? Well, an Ace can mean two things: 1 or 11. For instance, if you’ve got an Ace and a 5, you’ve got both 6 and 16 at the same time. So your life just got more complicated…but this is a good thing for the strategic Blackjack player. Remember: the reason you play Blackjack is because it give you more choice. More choice equals less dumb luck, which means your odds are better.
So if you’ve got an A-2 or A-3, and the dealer is showing a 5 or 6, double. If the dealer is showing anything else, hit.
If you’ve got an A-4 or A-5, and the dealer is holding 2 – 9, double. Otherwise hit.
If you’ve got an Ace and a 6, and the dealer is showing 3 – 6, double. Otherwise, hit.
If you’ve got an A-7, and the dealer is showing a 2, 7 or 8, stand. If the dealer is shows 3 to 6, double. If the dealer’s got 8 or more, just hit.
And if you’ve got an A-8 or A-9, just stand (I guess that’s Simple Rule #3).
Splitting pairs are a lot like soft hands, because you suddenly have two different choices. If the cards are right, it’s like holding two good hands at the same time.
Remember: always split Aces and Eights.
Only split 2 and 3 if the dealer is showing 2 – 7. If the dealer is holding anything higher, hit.
Split 4’s if the dealer holds a 5 or 6. Otherwise, hit.
When players are holding a pair of 5’s, and the dealer shows a 2 – 9, double. Otherwise, hit.
With a pair of 6’s, you should split if the dealer shows 2 – 6, and hit on a 7 or higher.
If you’ve got two 7’s, and the dealer shows 2 – 7, split. If the dealer holds an 8 or higher, hit.
If you’ve got a pair of 10’s, stand. But you probably didn’t need to be told that, right?
When you are learning how to play blackjack, the first thing you need to get under your belt is when to hit, when to stand, and when to double. A few basic rules of thumb can come in handy, but any serious player will benefit from examining (or even memorizing) what is known as a blackjack strategy card. It is a quick reference guide to the wisest decision that you can make in most any given situation. It really helps to improve a players chances a lot.
Until you have a full understanding of the situational play needed for Blackjack you should just use a quick reference card. A lot of players feel that it is embarrassing or un-necessary. I just think it is smart play. I still carry one to this day.