“Soft hands” are hands that involve an Ace and can be played as if that Ace were either one or eleven.
An Ace can change from a one to an eleven only when you decide, and you can go back and change your mind. For example, with Ace and seven, you could choose to play that hand as an 8 or an 18. Let’s say you take a hit, and the next card is an Ace. You are allowed to play this as 19 (a soft 19) or 9. If it is a 19, the Ace can act as the one, the other Ace being the 11, or both can be ones! Your A-7-A can be played as follows: Ace=11 Seven=7 Ace=1 Equals 19 or Ace=1 Seven=7 Ace=1 Equals 9.
Please note: Any hand with an Ace and a 6 or lower should be played like the Ace is equal to 1. Any hand with an Ace and a 7 or higher should be played like an 11. A hand with Ace and Ace can be played either way depending on what your next card is. If the next card is a 10, you would obviously play Ace-Ace (AA) as a two with the ten.
For example, if you were dealt an Ace and a 3, then this particular hand is a soft hand, which can be played either as 4 or 14!!! Most players will refer to this hand as “soft 14”.
When you are dealt A,2, A,3, A,4 and A,5 (soft 13,14,15 and 16), do not stand on these hands, no matter what the dealer has showing!! In fact, you must double down if the dealer is showing a 4,5 or 6 as his up card.
With A,6 you should always hit, but double down versus the dealer’s 2-6.
With A7 (soft 18, very tricky for some) it is recommended you stand versus 2,7,8 or Ace. You must double down versus 3-6. And, versus a 9 or 10 you should definitely hit!
With A8 and A9 (soft 19 and 20), you should stand against whatever card the dealer has.
The summary table below demonstrates what to do in all cases of soft hand:
Soft hand dealt Stand against dealer’s Hit against dealer’s Double Down against dealer’s
A,2, A,3, A,4, A,5 Never stand all except 4,5,6 4,5 and 6
A,6 Never stand 7-10 and Ace 2-6
A,7 2,7,8 or A 9 or 10 3-6
A,8, A,9, A,10 ALL Never hit Never
AA Split Split Split