Soft and hard hand explained in blackjack

Blackjack: the difference between a hard and a soft hand

Blackjack is one of the most versatile table games. By this, we mean that the player can influence the course of the game in various ways. One of the first things you should know about blackjack is the difference between a soft hand and a hard hand. Unfortunately, many players are unaware of this difference and, as a result, miss out on a critical potential. To help you, we will explain the difference between a hard hand and a soft hand.

What is a soft hand?

The Ace plays a crucial role when playing a game of blackjack. This may sound a little strange to many players, but there’s a good reason for it. The Ace is known to have a double value just like a bonus during the game. Initially, this card represents a card value of 11. However, as soon as the total value of your hand exceeds 21, its value is reduced to 1. The main advantage, of course, is that you have not played yourself to death.

What is a soft hand?

The explanation of a soft hand may also have clarified what precisely a hard hand is. A hard hand is said to exist when the hand’s value is completely fixed and cannot be changed during the game. This means that the actions you can perform with the hand in question are much more limited.

Which hand is the most interesting?

Much has been said and written about this over the years. Below we list the advantages of a soft hand:

  • You have an instant chance of winning blackjack at the beginning of the round.
  • Because the Ace counts for 11, the chance of getting a higher hand value is greater
  • If you play your hand “dead,” you get a second chance

Statistically speaking, the chances of winning a round of blackjack with a soft hand are higher than those with a hard hand.

How can you exploit the potential of a soft hand?

When you have a soft hand, you should first look at your opening score. What cards do you have in your hand at that moment? Let’s say, for example, that you have a total point score of 20 in the opening hand with an Ace in it. In that case, you may not want to take any more risks as a player. The only way you can still lose the round is if the dealer has blackjack.

It is also possible that at the beginning of the round, you combine an Ace with a number 3. In this case, you have two options: either you stick with the total score of 14, or you assume that in the event of a burst, you can fall back on an overall card value of 4 (the Ace will no longer be considered an 11, but a 1). Of course, asking for an extra card is always risk-free with an Ace in your hand. In this case, you know that you still have a lifeline if your card value rises above 21. But be careful not to take any extra risks by doing so.

What if you draw two Aces?

Statistically speaking, it doesn’t happen very often, but there is a chance that you could draw two Aces at the beginning of a hand. In that case, it can be interesting to split. This means that you will no longer be playing with one but with two hands, each with their card value. Your starting position for each hand is an Ace which an additional card will supplement. Since both hands are soft in this case, this ensures that your potential winning chances are maximized. In addition, you have two opportunities to draw a card with a value of 10, giving you instant blackjack.