The Soft 17 Rule in Blackjack
I’m sure you’ve seen it before on a blackjack table: Dealer must hit on soft 17. What started as an anomaly has turned into the rule in Las Vegas – and Maryland, too, as of January 2016. This simple change improves the house edge by about 0.2% – just enough to get dealers’ a score of 21 7.86% of the time, as opposed to 7.65% of the time when they stood on all 17s.
A soft 17 is a 17 with an Ace that can count as a 1 or 11. An Ace and a Six make a soft 17. It’s a weak hand, and any blackjack chart worth its salt advises players to hit in these scenarios. With dealers also hitting, they’ll be reaching higher scores like 18, 19, 20 and 21 more often.
They’ll also bust more often. The percentage of busts with dealer’s standing on soft 17 is 29.60%, whereas it increases to 30% when the dealers hit on soft 17s. It’s not as drastic of an increase as you’d think, and the heightened probability of scoring those top-shelf hands more than compensates for the 0.4% increase in busts. I noticed a difference when I started implementing the rule eight years ago.
Fortunately, there are still some places that honor the stand on soft 17 rule, and Slots.lv is one of them. Out of our seven blackjack variants, two of them require dealers to stand on all 17s, including soft ones. These variants are Double-Deck Blackjack and European Blackjack.
Take advantage of the stand on soft 17 rule wherever you can find it before it becomes obsolete. Your bankroll will thank you.