In the game of blackjack, the dealer draws their cards based on the rules that have been defined for that particular variation. As you probably know, the actual rules can vary greatly depending on the casino you play at. However, there is one thing that often remains the same regardless of the variant, and that is the rule which calls for the dealer to stand on a hard 17.
This simply means that the dealer either does not have an ace, or the ace is forced to be valued as 1. The rules are different when the dealer has a soft 17, which refers to a hand with an ace valued at 11. Most casinos require that the dealer stand with a soft 17 while others have rules stating that the dealer must take a hit. Let’s take a look at some strategies for both scenarios.
Having the ability to hit on a soft 17 benefits the dealer because of the probability of being able to increase the value of their hand. For example, let’s assume the dealer has a hand comprised of a six and an ace valued at 11 for a total of 17. After taking a hit, the dealer draws a five. Now at first, you might assume that the hand adds up to 22, but this is not the case, as that ace is able to claim the value of 1. The brings the hand total to 12, which allows the dealer to draw another card. While a soft 17 doesn’t necessarily mean the value of the dealer’s hand will always increase, it does however, increase the probability. For this reason, you must pick up a more defensive-minded strategy in order to combat the advantage a soft 17 gives the dealer.
The Offensive Approach
Now we will take a look at a strategy where the dealer is forced to stand on a soft 17. Let’s say the dealer stands with their face-up card ranging anywhere from three to six while you have a total hand value of nine. In this scenario, you are in a strong position where you should seriously consider doubling. In a game where the rules allow the dealer to hit on a soft 17, your position would not be as strong and simply taking the hit would be the best option opposed to doubling.
Online casinos offer a wide variety of blackjack variants. Therefore, you should make yourself familiar with the rules and how they impact the dealer before placing a wager. You’ve got your blackjack games based on Atlantic City rules, European rules, Spanish rules, Vegas Strip rules, Vegas Downtown rules and a host of others. If you really want to better your chances of winning, we strongly suggest that you avoid blackjack variants that allow the dealer to hit on a soft 17. As you learned from this article, this particular rule gives the house a considerably higher edge. If you do elect to play these games, just keep in mind that you will need to change your strategy accordingly to overcome the dealer’s advantage.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!