Single-Deck Blackjack: Dealer Stands Soft 17


Single-Deck Blackjack Strategy

Single-deck blackjack which is played with only one standard deck of cards and the dealer stands on a soft 17.

In a single deck blackjack game, cards are always dealt face down for the initial hand. Subsequent cards will be dealt face up. It’s important for you to learn the basics of blackjack strategy before heading to the casino to play, whether you want to try a few rounds for fun or to learn to be an expert card counter. Single deck blackjack’s rules and conditions may vary according to the casino where you play.

In blackjack terminology, “soft 17” is a hand composed of a Six plus an Ace counted as 11 points, giving a total of 17. “Hard 17” is a hand that adds up to 17 points, not including an Ace counted as 11 (for example, a Seven plus a King).

In some versions of blackjack, the dealer hits on soft 17. In others, he stands on both hard and soft 17. To double check the rule for the version you are playing, you can check the blackjack table layout. There you will see written either: “Dealer Hits Soft 17” or “Dealer Must Stand on all 17,” and this will give you your answer. When the dealer hits on soft 17, there will be a small increase in the house edge.

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

Single-Deck BJ

Blackjack Player's Choices

Once the cards have been dealt, you will choose which of the following actions to take:  hit, stand, pair splitting, doubling down, even money or surrendering.

Hit: If you opt to be dealt another card, signal to the dealer by either beckoning to him or her with your finger or using that same finger to tap the table behind your current card pile. You might end up with a hand totaling over 21 points, in which case you will “bust,” losing your cards and your wager.

Stand: You may find that your first 2 cards produce a very strong hand. To show that you do not wish to be dealt any more cards, turn your cards in a horizontal direction or wave your hand over them.

Pair Splitting: When the initial deal gives you a pair, you can split up the cards to start 2 new hands. You’ll need to place a second bet, equal to your first, and after that you will be dealt a second card for each of your hands. In accordance with the classic blackjack rules, you cannot split 2 cards that are pairs in terms of point value only (face cards and Tens) nor may you resplit pairs.

However, some casinos play differently and do allow pairs of equal point value to be split (although this would mean breaking up a hand that is already worth 20 points – usually not a good idea). They may also permit resplitting of pairs, endlessly or in a more limited fashion.

It is nearly universally accepted that splitting a pair of Aces is strategically wise. Note that you can only hit once on each new hand formed in this manner.

Doubling Down: Your initial hand may put in such a strong position that you would like to double your bet. If so, put another chip beside the chip that marks your original bet. You will be allowed to hit just one more time. Depending on your casino, this doubled wager may be permitted only if you have an initial hand total of 10 or 11 points.

Surrendering (“Late Surrender”): A weak initial hand might convince you to drop out of the current round. Some casino rules will let you do so, losing only half your original wager, after the dealer has checked his cards looking for blackjack. In some rare cases, you can surrender even before the dealer has examined his hole card.

Even Money (Insurance): When a player has blackjack and sees that the dealer has an Ace as up card, he may wish to go for even money before the dealer checks his hole card, which insures that he will receive a yield of 1:1. Strategy mavens are almost universally opposed to blackjack insurance.

Summary

Presently growing in popularity, blackjack has the power to excite and intrigue players of all levels, whether beginner or pro.

This website provides strategies for playing blackjack, which are meant to be taken as lighthearted suggestions only. Please be aware that there are no foolproof strategies for winning at blackjack. Play responsibly, remembering that the house will always win in the end.

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