Changes to the rules conditions, especially when it relates to the dealer hitting a soft 17, affect the house edge. When a dealer hits a soft 17 instead of standing on it, the house edge goes up 0.2%. That doesn’t seem like much, but the difference between 0.56% and 0.76% in the above example is the difference between $7.84/hour and $10.64/hour.
The “soft 17 rule” is a rule that requires the dealer to hit on soft 17. For many blackjack players, this rather innocuous rule doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the fact of the matter Henry Tamburin is the editor and publisher of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter and author of the best-selling Blackjack: Take the Money & Run .
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In every blackjack game, the dealer either stands on Soft 17 or higher, or hits Soft 17, which means they can only stand on Hard 17, plus any 18 or more. After the number of decks used and the payout odds for hitting Blackjack itself, whether a dealer stands or hits on Soft 17 is the next most important rule.
But against players still in action at the end, a dealer who stands on soft 17 can’t win and a dealer who hits soft 17 can. If the dealer’s up card is 6 – or lower in the case of a soft 17 consisting of three or more cards – some standing hands will be 16 or less. A dealer who stands on soft 17 can beat them. But against players with two-card totals of 17 or more, the situation is the same as above: A dealer who stands on soft 17 can’t win and a dealer who hits soft 17 can.
Multi-Deck Blackjack: Dealer Hits Soft 17. Multi-Deck blackjack is played with four decks or more andand this Basic Blackjack Strategy Chart below is where the dealer will hit on soft 17. Each casino may use a slightly different version of the rules for multi-deck blackjack. Take the time to get to know the rules and game strategy before beginning to play, no matter whether your goal is to become a professional card sharp or to enjoy a few hours’ of entertainment at the casino table.
Dealer stands on soft 17 was the standard rule in years past, but a growing number of casinos now require the dealer to hit on soft 17 (hands like Ace, 6). Not only do most players fail to recognize the difference, some believe that the hit on soft 17 rule works in their favor since the dealer will bust more often.
However, when the dealer's 17 contains an ace that is counted as 11, the hand is known as a soft 17 (e.g. Ace, 6 or Ace 2, 4 are soft 17's). And in some casinos, the rules specify that dealers must hit their soft 17 rather than stand and it will state that on the layout (this is known as the soft 17 rule).
These days you almost have to play in games where the dealer hits soft 17, as most casinos have adopted this policy. But if you have a choice, playing where they stand is better. Hitting soft 17 increases the house edge by 0.22%.