Any avid blackjack player out there should know the difference between a hard and soft hand, but this isn’t the article for them — unless of-course they are looking for a refresher of some kind that is. This article is intended for those who happen to struggle with these sorts of rules, or perhaps they have just decided to get into blackjack as their friends have started playing, and they feel the need to look for the best possible strategies going forwards that is going to help them in the long run. No matter your reasoning, we hope to alleviate any worry or doubt here, and provide an undisputed guide as to what are hard and soft blackjack hands. Now without any further adieu, let’s get into it.
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What Are Hard and Soft Blackjack Hands?
We understand that to any novice players out there, hard and soft hands are somewhat confusing/intimidating on name value alone. Fear not, for blackjack is one of the simplest table games to grasp for various different reasons. If you have played blackjack before then you will already know the basic rules of the game; build a hand that reaches 21 and not any higher without risking a bust. We pride ourselves on the fact that we play a lot of table games and help others in situations such as this, where things might be confusing to new players, things that should be learned in order to make them better players as a result. Okay, so if you’re a new player then we highly recommend you read up on the basic rules of blackjack before you begin to absorb this information.
Hard and soft hands essentially describe the sort of cards that you and the dealer have in your possession. These cards are very simple to recognise based on the value that is printed on the cards. If you have cards between A-6 then you will be in possession of a soft hand, simply because it poses a difficult task in reaching 21 from the first hands dealt. The same goes for the dealer who has the same amount of chance of having the same cards as the player; remember, you are in constant battle with the dealer in who can reach that elusive 21 first. A hard hand will be one that’s between 7-11, in an ideal world, you should aim for an 11 off the first hand simply because of the odds swinging in your favour. Those who have an 11 in their hand after the first cards are dealt will find that they have the best chances of hitting 21 based on the following cards called.
The Benefits of a Hard Hand in Blackjack
Those who are in possession of 11 at this early stage might find that doubling down is the best course of action. Doubling down essentially means that you will double your profits almost instantly, and with 11 being in your inventory, you’ll find that you are always going to best the dealer in almost every scenario. The same goes if you are facing the dealer and they have an 11 in their possession. Doubling down is also just as simple to grasp for new players as knowing what a hard hand and what a soft hand is. Simply place more chips down after the first and second round of cards have been dealt. If you find that you have a pair later on when calling additional cards to your hand, you will then find that you can double down at this stage also. Remember, in blackjack everything is situational; how your game goes should dictate the moves that you make as a result of the dealer.
The Benefits of Having a Soft Hand in Blackjack
Now you might think that having a soft hand means a loss, which isn’t actually true, especially if you are implementing a card counting strategy to proceedings. Card counting is a foolproof system where you assign value depending on the sorts of cards you have in your hand as well as in the dealers hand. Essentially you are playing a massive game of predicting which sort of card combinations will follow. If you are in possession of low value cards — otherwise known as a soft hand — then you will find that you have a much easier time going into later rounds of card-calling. This all revolves around whether or not the dealer is in the same position as you. If the dealer has an 11 already at the beginning of the game, then you might want to consider folding there and then; play smart and the game will work for you, not vice versa. Blackjack is a game of mental fortitude where each game welcomes in the new.
If you are going to play smart and win big in blackjack, then you are going to need to think 3 steps ahead of your opponent at all times, this is why we highly recommend that you are using card counting techniques as well as other alternate strategies that will keep you ahead of the curve. This will all come in time, and will require trial and error, so don’t go thinking that this is something that can be picked up overnight; some take years to absorb it all, whereas others only require a matter of weeks. Dedication to the craft is key in making the right decisions moving forwards. We are big advocates of practice makes perfect, so if you are looking at getting a few sparring sessions in, we highly encourage you play some online blackjack.
Online blackjack is almost as good as the real thing; treat the online version as a practice-ground, a space where you can test out some alternate strategies using both hard and soft hands in your approach. We hope that you find something useful in this article. We certainly had fun putting this piece together, just keep practicing and you’ll be besting the dealer every time you approach the table before you know it.