Blackjack is a game of small advantages. There are many situations where a player will have a small advantage over the house. There are also plenty of times when the house will have a small advantage over a player.

However, very seldomly, a player will have a very large advantage over the house. Most of the time, this will occur with a soft hand.

You will have to know how soft hands to know how to take advantage of them and make your odds favorable.

Soft Hands in Blackjack

What are Soft Blackjack Hands?

Soft blackjack hands will have an ace, and you can change the total in whichever way you need. The ace in blackjack can count as one or 11, and this will allow you to adjust your total so you don’t bust.

You can avoid going bust by changing the total of the ace to one. So, when you have an ace in your hand, you can improve it without risking your bet.

You have to push your edge whenever you have strong, soft hands if you want to maximize your chances of winning.

How to Play Soft Hands

What makes soft hands so powerful is that you can play very aggressively for a high total without worrying about going bust. Hard hands often require you to play passively against weak dealer cards because your best bet is to give the dealer a chance to go bust.

However, you will only ever stand with a soft hand if you are satisfied with how large your total is, and you’ll never do this with a total of less than 18.

With a soft 13 or 14, you’re always going to hit except when facing a five or six. Against both of these cards, you should double if you have a chance. You should play a soft 15 or 16 the same way, except you have to double against fours as well if you can.

With a soft 17 or 18, you should double against a three, four, five, or six. However, you should always hit with a 17 if you don’t have the option to double. You should stand with an 18 if you didn’t double as long as your opponent has an eight or lower.

Against a nine, ten, or ace, a soft 18 should hit instead. Always stand with a soft total of 19, 20, or 21 regardless of the dealer’s cards.


Playing with soft hands is a lot of fun, but they don’t come up as often as hard hands. The key to playing soft hands like an expert is remembering the strategies presented here and making adjustments when necessary, based on the count or the specific rules of the game you’re playing.

For example, if the dealer does not peek to check for blackjack with an ace or ten up, you will need to pay slightly more aggressively when the dealer holds a ten and much more aggressively when the dealer holds an ace. Since you can run into a blackjack more often with this rule change, you have to adjust accordingly.