Soft vs. Hard Blackjack: Why the Difference Matters


Soft vs. Hard Blackjack: Why the Difference Matters


Soft vs. Hard Blackjack: Why the Difference Matters


Blackjack Ace cards and casino chips against a black background.

Blackjack is one of the world’s most popular online casino games, and it’s not hard to understand why. While getting the basics right is easy, mastering blackjack presents a true challenge. This makes it a game that welcomes beginners and keeps seasoned players on their toes.

As a beginner, you’ll come across “soft” and “hard” hands in blackjack. Understanding these terms is crucial for developing successful strategies. In this blog post, you’ll learn the art of distinguishing between both hands and discover the best way to play each with finesse.

Basic Blackjack Rules

Blackjack table with playing cards, money and dice.

Before diving into strategy, it’s always a good idea to brush up on the fundamentals:

  • Face cards are worth 10 points.
  • Aces can be worth one or 11 points.
  • You can hit (take another card) or stand (keep your current hand) until you reach or go over 21.
  • If you go over 21, you bust and lose the hand.
  • If the dealer goes over 21, you win the hand.
  • If neither you nor the dealer goes over 21, the hand is a push, and you neither win nor lose.

Why Is Blackjack So Popular?

Most casino games at online casinos are based entirely on luck. The player has no control over what cards are dealt or how the dealer plays their hand. But blackjack is different.

In blackjack, you do have some control over the outcome. You can decide whether to hit or stand, double down or split your hand — and these decisions impact your odds of winning.

This is why blackjack is such a fascinating game. You feel like you’re calling the shots, but an element of chance is still involved. This makes for thrilling and unpredictable casino table games that have kept players coming back for more since the 1600s.

Decoding Soft and Hard Hands

The difference between the two hands is simple: a soft hand has an ace that can be counted as either one or 11, whereas a hard hand does not have an ace or has an ace that must be counted as one.

Tips for Playing Soft Hands in Blackjack

Blackjack table with playing cards and casino chips.
  • The most basic rule of thumb when playing soft hands is to hit until you reach 17 or higher. By hitting until you reach 17, you’re giving yourself the best chance of not going bust.
  • An aggressive but effective strategy is to double down on soft from 13 through 18. By doing this, you’ll then only take one more card.
  • A common mistake many beginners make is doubling down on soft 17 or 18. Don’t do this. When you have a soft 17 or 18, you’re already sitting pretty. Doubling down now would only increase your risk of going bust.

Tips for Navigating Hard Hands

  • Hard hands are more likely to bust than blackjack soft hands, so you should only hit if your hand totals 11 or less.
  • Try doubling down on hard nine, ten, or 11. While this is a risky move and only works if the dealer has a weak upcard, it also dramatically improves your chances of winning if you have a good hand.
  • Stand on 12 or higher, as you’re less likely to go bust and have a good chance of winning.

The Best Online Blackjack Strategy

Whether playing in an online blackjack live dealer game or an adrenaline-inducing blackjack tournament, having effective strategies ready is essential to maximizing your winnings.

Let’s explore some of the most commonly used strategies.

1. Basic Strategy

This beginner strategy involves making decisions based on the total value of your cards and the dealer’s up card. This strategy helps to minimize the house edge.

2. Card Counting

While frowned upon in some casinos, this strategy entails tracking the ratio of high to low-value cards left in the deck. When done correctly, it can give players a significant advantage.

3. Martingale Strategy

This one requires you to double your bet after each loss. The idea is to recover all previous losses with a single win. Bear in mind that a long losing streak can quickly deplete your bankroll.

4. Blackjack Tournament Strategy

A hand holding blackjack playing cards.

Online blackjack tournaments demand a strategy that keeps on evolving as the game progresses. These fast-paced and competitive games are all about outsmarting your opponents. Sometimes, this means deviating from your usual strategies in a regular game.

5. Shuffle Tracking

Shuffle tracking is an advanced strategy where players keep tabs on certain cards during shuffling. Skilled players can get a sense of what’s left by watching the cards going back into the shoe. It takes a sharp eye and mental agility, but it can give you an edge when done right. However, keep in mind that not all casinos allow shuffle tracking, and its effectiveness will depend on the rules of each game.

If you’re looking for extra excitement in your blackjack game, check out the Super 7 Side Bet, where you can get a payout if your first card is lucky number seven. While it’s not a strategy per se, it sure adds some intrigue.

Elevate Your Blackjack Adventure With Borgata Online

When it comes to online blackjack strategy, there’s no foolproof formula for guaranteed success. However, understanding the hands you’re dealt and knowing the best way to play them can significantly improve your chances.

Ready to put your newfound insights to the test? Borgata Online brings the authentic casino experience to your fingertips through live dealer casino games and online blackjack. With real dealers and real cards, Borgata Online recreates the casino ambiance within the comfort of your home.
Register today to discover your online blackjack potential.