Single-Deck Blackjack: Dealer Hits Soft 17

Single-Deck Blackjack Strategy

Single-deck blackjack is played with 1 deck and the dealer hits on a soft 17. In the initial deal of a single deck blackjack game, the player’s hand of two cards is placed face down. If the player “hits,” or requests any additional card or cards, these cards will be dealt face up.

Because blackjack is not a game that is based strictly on luck, it is important to learn the basic strategy of the game. This will help you whether you plan a lucrative career as a professional gambler or just a pleasant evening at a casino. Keep in mind that the rules for single deck blackjack may vary according to the venue.

In the game of blackjack, the term “soft 17” refers to a hand that consists of a Six plus an Ace which is being counted as 11. A “hard 17” hand is made up of a Seven plus a Ten, Jack, Queen or King.

In some versions of blackjack, the dealer hits on soft 17. In others, the dealer stands on either soft or hard 17. The rule will be stated on the blackjack table layout, which will say either: “Dealer Hits Soft 17” or “Dealer Must Stand on all 17.” The house edge will be slightly greater when playing by the rule that the dealer hits on soft 17.

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Single-Deck Blackjack Strategy Chart - Dealer Hits on a Soft 17

Single-Deck BJ

Blackjack Player's Choices

After receiving your initial hand, you will proceed to choose your strategy from one of the following: hit, stand, pair splitting, doubling down, even money or surrendering.

Hit: Requesting a hit means that you would like to be dealt another card. This is generally not expressed in words, but rather by signaling the dealer. You may beckon to the dealer with your finger or use your finger to tap on the table in back of your cards. If this hit means that your cards total more than 21, you lose your bet and must give up your cards for this round.

Stand: Standing is the action of choice when the initial deal gives you blackjack or another strong hand. Indicate that you do not wish to be dealt any more cards by either waving your hand over your card or turning your cards horizontally.

Pair Splitting: If you happen to receive a pair in the initial deal, you may split the pair so that you have the beginnings of two separate hands. You will then be asked to place an additional wager in the same amount as your first. According to the rules of classic blackjack, you may split a pair only once, and the pair must both be of exactly the same denomination (for example, 2 Sixes or 2 Fours).

In other variations of blackjack, pairs may also consist of 2 cards with the same point value – that is, any combination of Ten, Jack, Queen or King – although normally it is not considered desirable to separate 2 cards totaling 20 points. Pairs may also be resplit, either indefinitely or up to a certain limit, depending on the rules.  

Splitting a pair of Aces is a strategy which is always recommended.

Doubling Down: Doubling down can be a lucrative strategy for a player in a strong position. It involves doubling the initial wager – indicated by adding another chip to the original chip bet – and receiving only one more card. Some house rules will only allow a player to double down if his first 2 cards add up to 10 or 11.

Surrendering (“Late Surrender”): Surrendering is a move that is permitted only in some casinos. When allowed, a player can opt to surrender his cards, drop out of the current round of play and give up half of his or her bet. Normally, the time to make such a move is after the dealer has checked for a blackjack, although in rare cases, it may be done before.

Even Money (“Insurance”): Even money is offered as a possible side bet to a player with a blackjack when the dealer’s up card is an Ace, before the second card has been checked. Should the dealer turn out to have blackjack, the player will receive a yield of 1:1. Blackjack strategists advise against insurance.


New players and veterans alike tend to be intrigued by blackjack, which is a compelling combination of luck and strategic action.

However, please be aware that our rules and strategies are offered in the spirit of entertainment only. It is essential to remember that over the course of time, the house always wins, so a responsible gambler will never bet more than he/she can comfortably afford to lose.

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