Soft & Hard Hands

Hard and soft hands are very common terms in Blackjack and they play a crucial role in the game. However, sometimes even experienced players don’t know what these terms mean and struggle to give an explanation and identify them. As already mentioned, knowing the rules of the game and its glossary is extremely important for players who strive to win.

The same goes for every other casino game as the reason why its rules were established in the first place was to be followed. Moreover, as casino games involve money, it is simply not rational for the players to go in a gaming house and bet all of their available funds without having any strategy or knowledge of the game. Many of them justify themselves by saying that they play because it’s fun and they don’t have any regrets for the lost money. These are delusions which prevent them from seeing the reality – their money is irretrievably lost and there is nothing fun about that, especially if the sum is huge.

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Professional players, whose first priority is to win, know that they can only do so, only if they have a strategy, discipline, money management skills and of course a bit of luck. This is the reason why they are familiar with every rule and subtlety of the game as well and when the appropriate situation occurs they are prepared to act accordingly and apply the acquired knowledge.

Definition of Hard & Soft Hands

The terms hard and soft hands are actually very easy to be understood and it is a shame that so many players don’t get familiar with them. Generally speaking, professional gamblers refer to the term soft hand when they have an ace which is valued eleven in their hand. The reason behind this is simple – having an ace means that they cannot go bust when they take an additional card as by having one, regardless of its value, they can never exceed twenty one. The ace is the most powerful card in the deck and it allows players to change the total of their hand accordingly throughout the game. In this sense, the hard hand is when they have aces which are counted as one under particular circumstances.

Important Things to Consider

As every table game, Blackjack has a number of card combinations which form different hands and lead to particular outcomes. This is the reason why there are many ways and situations in which players can have soft or hard hands. It is really important to pay special attention to such cases as they will give them the needed preparation. If they know the possible outcomes a particular action might result in, they better chances of gaining an advantage over the casino as this allows them to think ahead to the dealer’s next turn.

Possible Cases of Soft Hand Ace-2

In order to clarify better this type of soft hands, let’s have a look at same examples which illustrate them very well. If players have deuce-ace in their hand and value it as one, they will have a hard three hand which is not beneficial for them. The ace should be counted as eleven instead, as this way they will have a soft thirteen hand. They need to bear in mind that in cases where they have an ace in their hand, they cannot go bust because its value can be always changed accordingly.

When Players Have Two Aces

Again, this situation can be best understood if we take into account a few particular situations. For instance, if players get an ace-9 which is soft 20 and an ace-8 which is soft 19 their best option is to ‘stand’ as this is one of the most pleasant positions to be in except for having Blackjack. Also, there are two very important things to be considered if they have two aces and want to split them. Firstly, they should bear in mind that the average winning hand is 18.5 and secondly, it is worth noting that each ace gets only one more card.

It is also recommended to have a look at the possible options when aces are split. If players are dealt a ten valued card, jack, queen or king for any of the separated hands the total will be twenty one which is the best possible situation to be in. In case, they get a nine or an eight, their total will be respectively twenty or nineteen which is extremely beneficial as well.

Following the same logic, if they have a seven, the result will be an eighteen which is still a bearable outcome. If players were to get any other number below seven, the outcome won’t be in their favour. In the worst case scenario, if they can gen an ace which will result in a total of twelve and no opportunity to re-split.

Standing on Soft and Hard Hands

Soft and Hard Standing refers to the cases where players have the respective hand and need to make a choice whether to ‘stand or not’. In such situations, they should be extra careful in order to make the best possible decision which should be based on the total value of the cards in their hand and the dealer’s up card. For instance, if they have a total of eleven or less, they should avoid standing but if their total is at least twelve, it is recommended to stand.

In Case the Dealer Hits on Soft Seventeen

In general, the dealer is enforced by the rules to stand on soft seventeen in most casinos. However, this rule may vary depending on the gaming house and the variation of Blackjack which is the reason why players should get familiar with it beforehand and pay special attention when there is an ace against them. Such cases place them in a very challenging and difficult position and in order to manage to make the best possible move, it is essential to follow a strategy.

However, it is worth mentioning that they have the opportunity to split 9/9 or double down on eleven. If players ever find themselves in such situations where the dealer hits on soft seventeen, they need to proceed with caution and be prepared as much as possible. This is the reason why it is always best to search for a table and a variation of the game where the dealer is required to stand on soft seventeen instead as this rule works in favour of the players.


It is essential for the players to get familiar with the basics of soft and hard hands if their first priority is to win. It is a shame that there are still cases where many gamblers play for years and still haven’t heard of these terms. Blackjack is a game of skills and every time they manage to improve their game, their chances of winning significantly increases. After all, this is what makes the game so exciting and interesting – the opportunity to make a profit while having fun and putting their skills and knowledge to the test.