Play On a Table Where the Dealer Hits Soft 17's

NOTE: This information is no longer true... Yahoo! changed their code! I'll go ahead and leave this up here but then be sure to read my update at the bottom of the page.


A "soft 17" is a hand totaling 17 points, which includes at least one Ace, which can be valued at 1 or 11 points. Examples would be Ace, 6 or Ace, 4, 2 or Ace, 3, 3, 3, etc. The following hands are not soft 17's since, if the Ace is counted as 11, the hand exceeds 21: Ace, 5, 6 or Ace, 3, 9 etc.

Now, normally the opposite would be true. It is a slight advantage (.2% according to Million Dollar Blackjack by Ken Uston) to the player to play at a table in which the dealer stands on a soft 17.

The people at Yahoo! however, are either not up to speed on what a soft 17 is, or more likely, simply did not do enough error checking while testing their code. As I write these words (May of 1998) if you create a table in which the dealer must hit on a soft 17, the dealer will hit on a hard 17 if it contains an Ace !!!

Here's a screen capture I made, proving this:

I was dealt a Jack and a 5, for a total of 15, against the dealer's upcard of a 6. Basic Strategy calls for one to stand here, which I did. The dealer promptly flipped over an Ace giving him a soft 17. Because I specifically choose the option for the dealer to hit soft 17's the dealer then took a hit and received a 6 for a total of 13. He then took another hit and received a 4 for what is now a hard 17! The programming logic should have stood at this point... and I would have lost! As you can see, the dealer took another hit and busted with 26!


Because of this error (or flaw or bug or whatever you want to call it) it is now beneficial to play at a table where the dealer hits soft 17's.

Just this week alone I have already benefited from this numerous times. Since a 10 is a common card, it actually happens quite frequently! Many times the dealer has had a soft 17 of some type, taken the required hit and received a 10! And then on almost every occasion, when the dealer hits that hard 17, he proceeds to bust.

Note the dealer doesn't actually have to ever have a soft 17 for this to happen. Earlier today, I noticed the dealer held a 10 as an upcard, flipped over a 6, took a hit and received an Ace for 17 and then took another hit! At no time did the dealer ever have a soft 17!

The dealer hitting on all hard 17's which include Aces, is a HUGE advantage for the player!


UPDATE!   I was just informed from another player Yahoo! changed their code. The dealer no longer hits on a hard 17 which contains Aces. To confirm this, I decided to come back out of "retirement" and play for just a short while. He was right -- the dealer is now correctly standing when he should be. So all of the above is now incorrect. It is now beneficial... play at a table where the dealer STANDS on soft 17's !!!

Got it?? Good. Now explain it to me! <grin>