Dealer Rules Affect Blackjack

When playing blackjack, many players become familiar and comfortable with certain strategies. However, when house rules dictate that the dealer must stand or hit on certain combinations, these strategies may become null and void.

Hard and Soft 17

The problem often begins when the dealer has a hand of 17, whether it is a soft or hard hand. If a dealer has a hard 17--or a 17 without an Ace--house rules will often force them to stand. However, in the case of a soft 17--or a 17 with an Ace--house rules often state that the dealer must hit. Though most blackjack strategies are based upon these assumptions, not every casino abides by these rules. Players must never assume that their strategies for a dealer 17 will hold up in every scenario.

The Benefit for the Dealer

When a dealer is holding a soft 17, there is a certain benefit if they are required to hit. This is because the Ace can quickly transition from a card worth 11 points to one that is only worth 1 point. It is beneficial to determine the dealer rules before playing in order to change the strategy where it is necessary. After all, when the dealer is forced to hit on a soft 17, the player may need to make more aggressive moves in order to keep up.

When to Forego Aggression

Many blackjack players feel at home when they have a hand between soft 13 and 18 and the dealer is only showing a five or six due to the increased odds of the player winning. When the dealer stands on soft 17, the player with the strong hand should always double. Conversely, if the dealer hits on the soft 17, players should forego aggression and stand; the odds of the dealer busting here are significant.

All in all, when a player needs to modify their strategy for blackjack, they must consider the odds of the dealer busting. When a player has a hand lesser than that of the dealer but the dealer has a good possibility of going over 21, it may be best for the player to stand and wait.


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