What is a Soft 17 in Blackjack, Rules, and Count Card

Learning what is a Soft 17 in blackjack is important for all players who want to place a bet. As you might already know, blackjack is a casino game that has several complexities. It can make this game pretty hard to learn for new players, though you should know it too hard to level up your skills after the first learning curve. 

Various types of bets and combinations, such as a Soft 17 in a blackjack game, are among the most important concepts for beginners to understand. 

Soft 17 in Blackjack Meaning

Understanding What is a Soft 17 in Blackjack

To give an understanding about what is a Soft 17 in blackjack, it is another way of describing a blackjack hand worth 17 that includes an Ace, where the Ace counters either as 1 or 11. 

A Soft hand will not be able to bust if you take one card more. Meanwhile, a hard hand is simply one without an Ace, or which includes an Ace, however, it can bust if another card is taken. 

Soft 16 can be created in various ways. The Ace-6 hand is the most common Soft 17 hand that most players will know. However, you can also create this type of hand with 3 or more cards, so long as the Ace is counted as 11 or 1. 

The examples of what is a Soft 17 in blackjack include the Ace-3-3 hand and Ace-Ace-2-4. Blackjack hands like these will be called “Soft” as you will not be able to bust, and you can still improve your hand value (or even make it worse!) by taking more cards. 

That way, we play Soft 17 very differently to know we play Hard 17 (which you will always stand). In a traditional 8 deck game, we either hit or double Soft 17, based on the dealer’s upcard and the type of rules we face. However, Soft 17 is more than just a type of blackjack hand. It is an even bigger deal as it features in the second most important rule.

The Soft 17 Ruled in Blackjack

As a player, you are allowed to do virtually whatever you like with your hand, however, the dealer needs to act based on a simple rule of what is a Soft 17 in blackjack. In every blackjack game, the dealer either will stand on Soft 17 or higher, or hits Soft 17 that means they can only stand on Hard 17 and 18 or more. 

After the number of decks used and the payouts odds for hitting blackjack itself, whether the dealer will stand or hit on Soft 17 is the next most crucial rule. You can tell which rules a game applies as it is always written on the table next to the blackjack odds. 

Will the Game Will be Over When a Dealer Hits Soft 17?

After knowing what is a Soft 17 in blackjack, you must be curious if the game will be over when the dealer hits this type of bet. Well, the game is not necessarily over when the dealer hits a Soft 17, however, at the same time, it will significantly boost the chances of them doing so, and the similar is true when the player hits on a Soft 17. 

One reason behind why Soft 17 is so powerful is because you are protected when your hands are out of 21. This is very different from hitting on a Hard 17 (for instance, 10 + 7 cards). 

If you were to get 5 or above in those cases, your card hand will go above 21, and you will bust. It means that you are out of the game, however, an Ace is more versatile, you can decide whether your Ace is 11 or 1, meaning that your hand has a better possibility of surviving. 

Yes, your hand being lower will potentially put you at a disadvantage when trying to reach a total of 21. On the other hand, you are also able to argue that it offers you some more room for maneuver. So, that is what is a Soft 17 in blackjack. 

How Common is the Soft 17 Appears in Blackjack?

Getting what is a Soft 17 in blackjack is quite rare, and the reason is that getting an Ace in your hand is typically not a very common way. In a deck of 52 cards (that is what most versions of blackjack use), you will only have 4 Aces. Therefore, you can easily go multiple games without having the chance to hit a Soft 17. 

That way, you also need to have the other cards that make a total of 17. It can be two 3s, a 6, or something else. However, it is by no means guaranteed that you will have those at your disposal. 

Strategy for Soft 17 Rule

In a multi deck blackjack game, there are 3 main cases where the optimal basic strategy decision is based on whether the dealer has to hit or stand on what is a Soft 17 in blackjack. All of these basic strategy cases involve playing the hand more aggressively by doubling down

If your table offers the Surrender rule in blackjack, there are 3 more cases where the strategy charts suggest you should adjust your basic blackjack strategy. 

Soft 17HandHard 17
Hit11 vs AceDouble
HitSoft 10 vs 6Double
HitAce-7 vs 2Double
Split8s vs AceSurrender
Hit15 vs AceSurrender
Hit17 vs AceSurrender

Single deck games are a dying breed, however, if you are lucky enough to find one, the advice in what is a Soft 17 in blackjack basic strategy will change again. This time, your main plan will only need to be adjusted twice. 

Both increase when you have specific variations of 18 when the dealer’s up card is an Ace. You need to hit Ace-7 vs Ace instead of standing, and you need to split a pair of 9s vs Aces when you will normally stand. 

Counting Cards and Soft 17 in Blackjack

If you understand how to count cards in blackjack, you will have a great idea of how many high and low cards are left in the deck. This will allow you to change your bet size and hand strategy decision to exploit those moments if the deck is favorable. 

As we know, card counting is an advanced blackjack skill and there are many variables to consider, not least what the dealer does with what is a Soft 17 in blackjack. For instance, when you have 11 if the dealer’s up card is an Ace, you can double based on the True Count. 

About what is a Soft 17 in blackjack, the True Count has to be +1 or higher, but in a Hard 17, it only requires to be -1 or higher. There are some cases like this in the illustrious 18 counting strategy, where the True Count deviation from the basic strategy is lower for Hard 17 games. 


As you already know about what is a Soft 17 in blackjack, it features heavily in blackjack rules and is plastered all over every table. However, in reality, it is never used on its own to boost the house edge, and the bottom line is that there is a minimal impact on playing strategy. 

As long as you are aware that Soft hands will work and the special exceptions to the blackjack basic strategy, you will not ever need to pay it much attention. 


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