Hitting Soft 18
  • What is the reason or math advantage for hitting the soft 18 when the dealer has 9 or higher? I was in a tournament on Saturday and every time I hit it I ended up losing with a 14, 15, or something lower? I hate to deviate from basic strategy but this one seems so frustrating. Any comments appreciated and thanks.
  • Soft 18 versus a dealer's 9 is a losing situation no matter how you choose to play. On average, however, you can expect to lose less by hitting your soft 18.

    i) the relative Expected Values for each play:

    Hitting: -0.10
    Standing: -0.18

    Though it is a close call, you will win your hand about 45% of the time if you hit, and about 40% of time if you stand. It may seem counter-intuitive, but trust the math and you will minimize your losses in such situations.
  • I am guessing that you busted and did not lose with 14 or 15, but if you stayed with the 14 or 15, why?
    As said before, you are behind on the hand either way but I have had days where I hit a 6 and then a seven or something similar and land up with 21. Of course you could just hit an A,2, or 3 also. It does take 2 cards to bust you.
    Bust and the dealer shows a 16 and your pissed but bust and the dealer shows 20 or beat the dealer and you know you did the right thing.

    Also benificial for pissing off other players, just like splitting 9's, double soft 18 and other perfectly good basic strategy plays.

  • Thanks for your replies. I now know what I did!!! I hit the soft 18 with one card and freaked out that it was less than 18 and didn't keep hitting. Glad you brought THAT to my attention. Don't know what I was thinking! Okay, from now on I do it right.
  • redstar: I suggest you review and work on basic strategy till it becomes second nature to you. That way, if your soft 18 does turn into 14, there will be no freaking out, just the automatic knowing that you hit 14 vs 7-A.


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