July 27, 2023

Comparing Soft 17 and Hard 17 in Live Online Blackjack

Ethan Lim
Written byEthan LimWriter

In live online blackjack, every hand counts, and understanding the nuances of different card combinations is crucial. Among these, Soft 17 and Hard 17 stand out as hands that often confuse players, especially those new to the game. Knowing the difference between these two hands and how to play them can significantly affect your strategy and, ultimately, your success at the blackjack table. This guide will delve into the intricacies of Soft 17 and Hard 17, helping you navigate these situations with greater confidence and strategic insight in your next live dealer blackjack session.

Comparing Soft 17 and Hard 17 in Live Online Blackjack

What is Soft 17?

Soft 17 is a hand in blackjack that includes an Ace counted as 11 and additional cards that total six. For example, an Ace combined with a six or an Ace with a four and a two. The 'soft' aspect comes from the fact that the hand won't bust with a one-card hit, as the Ace can convert to one, keeping the total below 21.

  • Impact on Strategy: The flexibility of Soft 17 influences player decisions. In live online blackjack, where quick thinking is key, deciding whether to hit or stand on a Soft 17 can be crucial. Conventional strategy often recommends hitting on a Soft 17, as the chance of improving the hand is significant, and the risk of busting is low.
  • Game Variation Influence: Different live online blackjack games may have specific rules regarding Soft 17, affecting how you should approach the hand. It's important to be aware of these nuances before playing.

What is Hard 17?

In contrast, a Hard 17 is a blackjack hand that does not contain an Ace counted as 11. It could be a combination like a 10 and a 7 or a 9 and an 8. The 'hard' part implies that the hand has a fixed value; hitting on a Hard 17 carries a high risk of busting.

  • Strategic Approach: Playing a Hard 17 requires a more conservative approach. The standard strategy in most live online blackjack games is to stand on a Hard 17. The risk of exceeding 21 is too high to justify taking another card, and standing gives you a chance to win based on the dealer's hand.
  • Understanding Dealer Rules: It's also vital to understand how the dealer plays a Hard 17, as this can influence the overall house edge and your strategy.

Dealer’s Rules on Soft 17

The way a dealer handles a Soft 17 can vary between online live casinos and has a significant impact on the game's dynamics:

  • Dealer Hits on Soft 17: Some live casinos require the dealer to take an additional card on a Soft 17. This rule slightly increases the house edge, as the dealer has additional chances to improve their hand.
  • Dealer Stands on Soft 17: In other live casino settings, the dealer must stand on all 17s, including Soft 17. This rule is generally more favorable to the player, as it limits the dealer's ability to improve a weak hand.

Understanding these rules is crucial for players, as it can influence decisions, especially in close-call situations. Always check the table rules in your chosen live online blackjack game to tailor your strategy accordingly.

Comparing Soft 17 and Hard 17 Strategies

Dealing with Soft 17 and Hard 17 requires different strategic approaches:

  • Soft 17: Given its flexibility, players often choose to hit when dealt a Soft 17, seeking to improve the hand without the risk of busting. The strategy can change based on the dealer's visible card, with players sometimes standing if the dealer shows a weaker hand.
  • Hard 17: Conversely, the strategy for a Hard 17 is typically more conservative. The common advice is to stand, as the risk of busting is high with any additional card. The strength of the dealer's hand can influence this decision, but standing is usually the safest bet.

Adapting your gameplay based on whether you have a Soft or Hard 17 is a key skill in live online blackjack, influencing both the immediate decision-making and overall gameplay strategy.


Understanding the nuances between Soft 17 and Hard 17 is vital for any player looking to excel in live online blackjack. While both hands total the same, the presence of an Ace in Soft 17 offers more flexibility, impacting how you should play the hand. The dealer's rules on Soft 17 also play a crucial role, affecting both the house edge and your own strategy. By adapting your approach based on these factors, you can make more informed decisions and enhance your chances of success at the live blackjack table. Remember, every hand counts in blackjack, and mastering these subtleties can significantly improve your gameplay experience.

About the author
Ethan Lim
Ethan Lim

Ethan Lim, a native of the Lion City, is Singapore’s rising star in the domain of online casino guide localization. He masterfully blends his intimate knowledge of local culture with international gaming standards to produce content that resonates deeply with Singaporeans.

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