# What Is Hard & Soft In Blackjack? How To Play Hard & Soft Hands

Are you looking to try a blackjack game but do not want to feel lost at the blackjack table? Or do you simply want to take your blackjack strategy to the next level?

Then you are in the right place. In this Wizard Slots post, we'll dive into the world of hard and soft hands in blackjack and give you tips on how to play them.

## What Are Hard & Soft Hands In Blackjack?

In blackjack, a hand is considered either a hard or a soft hand, depending on whether or not it contains an Ace that counts 11.

An Ace is a special card in blackjack because it can be counted as either a 1 or an 11, which can give you more options regarding hitting, standing or doubling down. Let's explore them in detail below:

### Soft Hand

A soft hand is a hand that contains an Ace and is labelled based on treating the Ace as an 11. For example, if you have an Ace and a 2, your hand is a soft 13 (2+11), but it can also be a 3 (2+1).

The advantage of having a soft hand is that you can hit at least once without risking busting (going over 21).

That is because if you hit and receive a 10-value card, your Ace will automatically be counted as a 1, keeping your hand below 21.

For example, if you have a soft 17 (Ace+6) and you hit, you can receive a 5 or higher without busting.

Your hand will be a 12 (Ace+5+6), and you can hit again. However, if you have a hard 17 (10+7) and you hit, you will bust if you receive a 5 or higher.

### Hard Hand

A hard hand is a hand that does not contain an Ace. For example, a hand containing a 10-value card and a 5, this hand is a hard 15.

Another example of a hard hand would be a hand containing a King and a 4; this is a hard 14. The disadvantage of having a hard hand is that you have less flexibility when it comes to hitting or standing. That is because you will bust if you hit and receive a card taking you to 22 or higher.

For example, if you have a hard 12 (6+6) and hit, you will bust if you receive a 10-value card, putting you at 22. However, if you have a soft 12 (Ace(11)+1) and you hit, you can receive a 10 without busting. Your hand will be a 13 (Ace(1)+1+10), and you can hit again.

In summary, if you have a hard hand, the value of your hand is set and cannot change except by hitting and receiving more cards. That differs from the soft hand, which contains an Ace that can be counted as a 1 or an 11.

## How To Play a Soft Hand

Understanding how to play hard and soft hands correctly is an essential part of mastering any blackjack casino game. Here are some tips on how to play soft hands:

1. If the dealer's upcard is a 2 through 6, general strategy suggests doubling down to potentially maximise your wins, as the dealer has a higher chance of going bust.
2. If the dealer's upcard is a 7 or higher, it's safer to hit on a soft 17 or lower.
3. If you have a soft 17 or lower, it's generally recommended to hit in order to improve your hand.
4. However, if you have a soft 18, you may want to consider doubling down if the dealer's upcard is a 9 or lower, as the chances of winning are higher.

Remember that the goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand, not just get as close to 21 as possible.

## How To Play a Hard Hand

As we have mentioned, a hard hand is a hand that does not contain an Ace. Hard hands are typically played conservatively because the risk of busting (going over 21) is higher, and they do not offer much room to move around to avoid a bust.

When playing a hard hand, it's important to consider the dealer's upcard. If the dealer's upcard is a 2 through 6, basic strategy suggests standing on a hard 12 or higher in hopes of the dealer going bust.

But if the dealer's upcard is a 7 or higher, it's safer to hit on a hard 12 or lower. Otherwise, always assume that the dealer has a 10 in the hole (fAce-down card) and follow the basic blackjack rules.

## When Should You Double Down a Soft & Hard Hand?

Doubling down is a strategy where you double your bet and receive only one more card. It's a powerful tool that could help you potentially win big, but it's also a risky move.

When it comes to hard and soft hands, the general rule is to double down on a hard 9 or 10 if the dealer shows a low card. You can double down with a soft 16, 17 or 18 if the dealer shows a low card.

Doubling down can risk going bust in certain situations, but it also has the potential to lead to some big wins if played correctly.

## Is a Hard or Soft Hand Better?

There is no definitive answer to whether a hard or soft hand is better. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

A hard hand is less flexible, and the risk of busting is higher. However, many players find it easier to play and can allow for other options, such as splitting pairs

On the other hand, a soft hand is more flexible and has a lower risk of busting. However, it's also more challenging to play.

Ultimately, the best hand is the one that gives you the best chance of winning based on the dealer's upcard. Therefore, it's helpful to learn basic blackjack strategy and make informed decisions.

## Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the difference between hard and soft hands in blackjack and knowing how to play them correctly can help you develop your blackjack strategy.

It's essential to remember that the goal of blackjack is to beat the dealer's hand and that the best way to do this is to use strategy and make informed decisions. Always consider the dealer's upcard, and know when to hit, stand, double down and when to play conservatively or aggressively.

However, blackjack is still a game of chance, so nothing is guaranteed.

## Soft & Hard Hands FAQ

### Do You Hit on a Soft 18?

Only hit on soft 18 if the dealer's up card is a 10 or an Ace, and you are playing with more than one deck.

### Do Most Casinos Hit Soft 17

Yes, most online casinos have the dealer hit on soft 17. But not all of them have this rule, so check with your chosen casino.

### Should You Hit on a Hard 14?

General strategy holds that you should hit on a hard 14 if the dealer's upcard is a 7 through Ace. Otherwise, always stand if the live dealer has an up card showing a 6 or lower.

### What Is a Soft 17?

A soft 17 is a hand in blackjack that contains a 6 and an Ace, totalling 17 (when the Ace is counted as 11).

### What Is a Hard 17?

A hard 17 is a hand that totals 17 but does not contain an Ace, hands such as 10 & 7 and 9 & 8.

*All values (Bet Levels, Maximum Wins etc.) mentioned in relation to this game are subject to change at any time.