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Doubling With Soft Hands in Blackjack For Maximum Value

By: Joe Valentino, Friday August 30th 2013
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If you want to really pack on the value when you play blackjack, then you've got to learn when to be hyper-aggressive with soft hands. Because you can hit or double without any risk of going broke, you have a really good chance to open it up and put in a lot of aggressive actions with these hands. However, you have to learn when to be super aggressive with the doubling if you want to get as much value out of these profitable scenarios as possible. By applying basic principles of blackjack, you can play these spots extremely well.

Remember that the weakest cards that the dealer can hold are the twos through the sixes, and the higher the card inside of that range, the weaker it becomes. Also remember that with soft hands, the larger your hand is, the stronger it is. With this in mind, you can easiliy see that you should double more when the dealer has the weakest up cards and when your total is higher. For example, if you have a soft total of 13 or 14, then you should only double if you're facing a five or six. With soft totals of 15 or 16, double with a four, five or six. Then if you have a soft total of 17, then double when you're facing a three, four, five or six.

How you play with 18s and 19s depends entirely on what the rules are about the dealer standing or hitting on a soft 17. If the dealer stands in these scenarios, then you should follow the same rules with 18 as you do with 17 and never double when you have a soft 19. However, if the dealer hits, then you get to be more aggressive. Double with a soft 18 against all of the weak dealer cards, and double with a soft 19 against a dealer six.

A lot of people can't believe that you should ever double with a 19, but when the dealer hits on a soft 17 and you're against a dealer who has a total of six. It's the right play to make. However, realize that if you don't have the option to double, you should always stand if you already have 18 or higher. Along these lines, you should also always hit if you have 17 or less if you don't have the option to double.

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