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Oct

10

2012

Blackjack Strategy Adjustments When the Dealer Hits Soft 17

Veteran blackjack players no doubt have noticed a change in the last few years. Nearly all low-limit tables, even those that use multiple decks, now have the dealer hit soft 17.

That rule adds about two-tenths of a percent to the house edge, and we as players need to make a few adjustments.  Remember these changes at games of four decks or more where the dealer hits soft 17.

One big change comes when we have a two-card 11 and the dealer has an Ace face up. When the dealer stands on all 17s, we just hit. It’s the only situation in which we don’t double down on a two-card 11. But if the dealer hits soft 17, basic strategy players go ahead and double against the Ace, too.

With Ace-7 — a two-card soft 18 — we double down against 3 through 6 if the dealer stands on all 17s. If the dealer hits soft 17, we double against all those up cards, and also double against a 2. And with soft 19, we never double during stand-on-all-17s games. But we double with Ace-8 against a dealer’s 6 if the dealer hits soft 17.

Other changes involve late surrender, where if the dealer doesn’t have blackjack, you may surrender half your bet instead of playing out the hand. It’s a rare rule, but should you encounter ite, basic strategy in stand-on-all-17 games calls for us to surrender hard 15 against a dealer’s 10, and hard 16 against a 9, 10 or Ace. If the dealer hits soft 17, we surrender all those hands, and three more: hard 15 against an Ace; hard 17 against an Ace; and a pair of 8s against an Ace.

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