Blackjack Strategy: Soft 15-16

As I wrote in an earlier post, soft hands are valuable to the players because there is no possibility of going bust. A soft hand is a hand in which an ace is given a value of eleven. However, if you draw a card that would make that hand bust, the ace is then given a value of 1. The adaptable value of a soft hand makes them a good hand to have. Yesterday, I wrote what to do if you have a soft 13 or soft 14. Here is what to do if you have a soft 15 or 16. The strategy for these soft hands, like all soft hands, can be found on any blackjack basic strategy chart.

If you have a soft 15 or 16 and the dealer’s upcard is a 4, 5 or 6, then you should double down. If the dealer shows any other card, you should take a hit.

Like a soft 13 or 14, you would never stand on this hand because it’s a weak total that is easy for the dealer to beat and you can’t bust by taking another card. By taking away the possibility of busting, you are removing the risk of drawing another card, so there is no reason to not attempt to improve your hand. If when you take another card it causes you to make the ace a 1, then you now have a hard hand and should play that hand according to the proper basic strategy.

If the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6, he probably has a stiff hand with a good chance of busting. That is because basic strategy recognizes that the dealer has a good chance of getting a 10 when taking a hit. If the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6, he either has a total that will bust if he draws a 10 or will bring him to another stiff hand, which again would bust if he is dealt a 10. Therefore, since you have a good chance of winning anyway even if you don’t improve your hand, doubling your bet is a good move. If you’re going to win, you might as well win more.

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