Hard vs Soft Hands

The basic description of whether a hand is described as either hard or soft is if it contains an ace or not.

A hard hand is defined as one not containing an ace, as the value of the cards in the hand is fixed at their face value. A soft hand is one that contains one or more aces and so its value can be altered depending upon whether the player decides to treat the ace as one point or eleven points.

The advantage of a soft hand is that should a player wish, they can hit a third card without fear of busting in order to obtain a higher value hand. For instance, an ace and a five would score soft sixteen, a risky bet. By hitting, the player gambles on being dealt another five to score eleven and then to hit again in the hope of being dealt a ten for a hand of twenty one points.