Posts Tagged ‘soft 18 strategy’

Hit on Blackjack Hand of 18?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

There are a lot of mistakes that new players make in the game of blackjack, but perhaps the biggest one is not taking the larger picture into consideration. Often people simplify the game by saying that you “try to get as close as you can to 21 without going over.” That is not the object of the game. The object is to beat the dealer by any means necessary. To do that, either the dealer busts or you outdraw the dealer without going over 21. If the dealer busts, you can win with a 2!

This misguided thinking is very clear when you see people misplay a soft 18. Many new players will always stand on a soft 18. After all, 18 is a pretty high number and there isn’t a great chance of improving that hand. However, since it’s a soft hand, there is no risk of busting, so depending on the dealer’s hand, you might want to hit or even double down.

With a soft 18, you will stand if the dealer shows a 2, 7 or 8 as his up card. That is because if the dealer has a 2 as the up card, he has a good chance of busting, so you might as well stand. If the dealer shows a 7 or 8, there is a good chance that you have already outdrawn the dealer, so it is best to stand and not risk lowering your hand value.

If the dealer is showing a 3, 4, 5 or 6, you want to double down. That is because there is such a high probability of the dealer having a stiff hand, which usually results in the dealer busting. Since the dealer is likely to lose no matter what your hand value is, it is good to put double the money on the wager and hope for the best.

Lastly, you should hit if the dealer shows a 9, 10 or ace. That is because even with an 18, there is a good chance that the dealer already has you beat. If you simply look at your own hand, an 18, you will think that you have a good hand and should stand. However, in this case the dealer likely has a better hand, so you want to try to improve your hand.

Blackjack Strategy: Soft 18

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Being soft isn’t always good. Football teams with a soft secondary give up a lot of passing yards. District Attorneys who are soft on crime find themselves in a city with worsening crime. Parents who are too soft when punishing their children end up with undisciplined children.

With poker hands, though, soft is better. The advantage of a soft hand is that it removes the possibility of going bust by drawing a card. For that reason, you can be more aggressive in an attempt to improve your hand. If you draw a card that would cause you to bust, you simply change the ace to a 1 and now have a hard hand.

Blackjack basic strategy has specific moves for each soft hand. Earlier, I have written about what to do if you have a soft 13, 14, 15, 16 or a 17. Now I will cover the correct strategy for a soft 18.

If you have a soft 18, you should double down if the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5 or 6. If the dealer has a 2, 7 or 8 as his upcard, then you should stand. If, however, the dealer has an ace, 9 or 10, you should take a hit.

This strategy is a little more complicated than the soft hand strategies covered earlier. If the dealer shows a 3-6, he has a good chance of having a stiff hand, which has a high probability of busting the dealer. Combine that with the good chance of improving your own hand and the percentages say to put extra money on the bet.

If the dealer shows a 2, 7 or 8, you should assume that he has a 12, 17 or 18 (percentages say to assume a 10 in the hole). If that’s the case, then hitting your soft 18 has a better chance of doing harm than good. A 12 is a stiff hand, but is considerably less likely to bust than 13-16. The dealer will always stand on a 17 or 18, in which case you would either win or push with an 18 of your own.

If the dealer shows a 9, 10 or an ace, let’s face it: the dealer likely has a great hand. Standing on 18 likely means you lose from the dealer having a higher hand (assuming the dealer has a 19, 20 or 21). Your best chance is to draw another card and try to improve your hand.