Bad House Rule: Dealer Can Hit Soft 17

I have noticed something rather interesting of late pertaining to blackjack. There seems to have been an increase in blackjack games that allow the dealer to hit on a soft 17. And this happens with the casino industry being hit harder by a hurting economy and an increase in online blackjack.

On the surface a dealer hitting a soft 17 does not sound like too big of a deal. If you are shrugging your shoulders and saying, ‘Yeah, so what?’ then you obviously have no idea what a dealer hitting a soft 17 does to the house edge.

Let me ask you, would you like the house’s edge to be increased by 0.2%? No? Then you need to avoid playing blackjack games, be they online blackjack games or brick and mortar blackjack games, that allow the dealer to hit a soft 17. That house rule does exactly that: increase the house edge by 0.2%.

The reason for the increase is the same reason why blackjack players like being dealt Aces. Not only are they key to a natural blackjack, but Aces are the only flexible cards in blackjack. They start with a value of 11 but can be reduced to 1 if necessary. And that is why the house edge goes up if the dealer can hit a soft 17.

Sure the dealer has just as much of a chance of busting as a blackjack player does when hitting a soft 17, but when the dealer does not bust his chances of having a final hand total greater than 17 are also a lot higher. Hence the house increase of 0.2%

And 0.2% is a pretty good chunk. It can give back just under half of what basic strategy reduces the house edge to, making it increase from 0.5% to 0.7%. Why give the house anymore help increasing their odds against you? It is in the best interest for your blackjack odds and the effectiveness of your blackjack strategy to avoid blackjack games, online or not, that allow the dealer to hit a soft 17.