How to Win at Blackjack Hitting and Standing on Soft Totals

A soft total is any original hand that contains an ace, which is being counted high, i.e. as an 11 point card. In this way, an 8-A would give you an original hand of a soft 19. Whyís it called soft? Because that ace could change if you wanted it to, to a value of one. Thereby, whilst it would be unadvised with such a strong hand, the above hand if hit could turn into a 9; if for example a 9 was added to it, it would then become an 18 value hand - 8 + 1 + 9.

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Blackjack strategy does vary somewhat depending on the specific rules of the casino relating to doubling down, and to how many decks are in use. For the most part however, if you follow these general rules, you will soon find that you will start to win at blackjack.

All soft totals with the value of 17 or less should be hit, or when there is the option, doubled down. Only double down on these 17 or less soft totals when the dealer is showing an upcard 4, 5, or 6. Therefore, you should realize that a soft 17 will never every be stood on - you will either hit on it or double down on it. The reason being, that there is simply no reason to stay on it. 17 is where the dealer has to stop hitting, so why risk a draw when you have a good chance of a win. Remember, in the above example, the 11 will become a 1 giving you the ability to pull nearly any other card and not bust out. It is precisely for this reason that doubling down is such a good option - you will only need one more card: if itís a high one, the ace becomes a 1 and you have a good hand, if itís a low one, the ace stays at 11 and you have possibly even a better hand.

If a soft 17 is a strong position, a soft 19 or 20 is even better. There is no reason not to stand on them. What falls between them however causes the problems: a soft 18. A soft 17 will never be stood upon, whilst a soft 19 or 20 will always be stood upon; what of the soft 18? If the dealerís upcard is a 9 or 10, you should hit on it. If the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6, you should double down. If the dealer is showing anything else, i.e. a 2, 7, 8, or A, you should stand.

As was said before, these blackjack strategy guidelines will differ depending on the casinoís rules; for example some casinos only allow doubling down on a 10 or 11 value card.

Practice playing blackjack online with this blackjack strategy. Preferably start of with freeplay blackjack sites, and then only once you feel like youíve internalized the response should you move onto pay sites.