The Thing with Soft Hands

Blackjack is one of the easiest games to play in the realm of casino games. Essentially if you can add up to 21 then you can play blackjack.

The strategy available for blackjack is also very simple. Basic strategy is the easiest strategy to use and have such a significant impact on the house edge.

So with both of those considered how is it that blackjack players keep misplaying soft hands?

To put the answer simply, since this is blackjack after all, is that players are misplaying their hands. Specifically soft hands.

I’m not sure how this is managed considering that basic strategy will tell a player the best way to play out every hand, including soft hands. So the problem is that players aren’t using the chart. As a result they are playing soft hands as if they were hard hands.

There’s a reason that a hand with an Ace has a different name from a hand that doesn’t have one.

And it is that Ace that makes the difference.

Blackjack players should be wanting soft hands because they offer more flexibility than hard hands. This is because that Ace can be reduced from an 11 to a 1.

Let’s look at an example. If you were dealt a hard 16 against a dealer showing a 3 you would stand. A good number of blackjack players will stand on an Ace/5 as well because they only see that the total is 16. They miss that Ace entirely.

If they were to check a basic strategy chart they would see that the correct play is to hit. You can hit a soft 16 because you have the power to reduce that Ace to a 1 if you have to.

It’s this flexibility that gives soft hands a different playing strategy on the chart from hard hands. If soft hands were meant to be played the same as a hard hand they wouldn’t have a separate name and a separate section on a basic strategy chart.

While you might be embarrassed to take a basic strategy chart to the blackjack table, it can seriously improve your odds of winning. It’s worth holding your pride in check and using the chart. If you’re really self conscious playing with the chart, practice playing blackjack online with it or simply stick to playing online blackjack.