How To Play Soft 19 In Blackjack | LeoVegas

How To Play Soft 19 in Blackjack

As simple as the blackjack game is in theory, the highly popular game involves significant strategy. While playing just for entertainment value is fine, for those who employ strategies, one of the most frequent errors occurs when a player is dealt a soft 19. This is a complex blackjack hand to navigate and requires a strategic approach for those looking to maximize their chance of winning.

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Here, we will discuss some of the most effective blackjack strategies to help you make the right decision when you are dealt a soft 19 while playing blackjack.

What is a Soft 19 Hand in Blackjack?

In blackjack, a ‘soft hand’ refers to a hand containing an Ace, which can be considered 1 or 11 without causing the player to bust (by going over 21). In other words, a soft hand means the player will not bust if they take an additional card. Therefore, a soft 19 hand in blackjack can be formed by an Ace and an 8, where the Ace amounts to 11, and the 8 maintains its face value, making a total of 19.

Soft hands are a crucial concept in blackjack because they offer the player increased flexibility in their decision-making. In contrast to a ‘hard hand’, which carries a fixed value, gamblers can play a soft hand in numerous ways depending on the dealer’s upcard. For instance, a soft 19 hand might be played more aggressively against a dealer’s weak upcard. On the other hand, it can be played more conservatively against a dealer’s strong upcard.

The value of a soft hand is subject to change during the course of a hand if additional cards are drawn. For instance, if a player has a soft 19 and then draws a 10, the Ace will automatically be counted as 1 to avoid going bust, resulting in a hard 19.

Fundamental Strategies for Soft 19

You can take three possible actions when holding a soft 19 hand: stand, hit, or double down.

The basic strategy for soft 19 is to always stand against all dealer upcards (2 through Ace) in double-deck and multiple-deck variations where the dealer must stand on soft 17. Since soft 19 is already a strong hand, it has a high probability of winning.

That said, in certain situations, hitting or doubling down may be the more viable option. For instance, if the dealer has a 6 upcard, it is best to double down on your soft 19. This is because the dealer is in a vulnerable position, and there is a high chance of winning a doubled bet.

On the flip side, if the dealer's upcard is a 10, standing on your soft 19 is recommended. This is because, in this situation, the dealer is in a strong position, whereas the player has a higher chance of going bust if they are dealt an additional card.

Stand Strategy for Soft 19

Standing on a soft 19 is a common strategy players use to improve their odds of winning at blackjack. While this strategy has its benefits and drawbacks, understanding them can allow you to make an informed decision on when to stand on soft 19. Below are the advantages and risks of standing on soft 19.

You have a better chance of making a strong hand if you stand on soft 19.You might miss out on an opportunity to improve your hand.
If the dealer has a weak upcard, standing on soft 19 can offer a better chance of winning the hand.If the dealer has a strong hand, standing on soft 19 may not be enough to win the hand.
Standing on soft 19 can enhance your odds of winning the game as it reduces the likelihood of losing the hand.Standing on soft 19 may result in a push, otherwise known as a tie if the dealer also has a total of 19.

When is it Best to Stand on Soft 19?

This might likely be your next question, but below are some factors to consider that can help you make this decision easier:

  • If the dealer has a weak upcard (2 through 6), it is generally better to stand on soft 19 since you are the favourite to win the hand.
  • If the dealer has a 7 or an 8 showing and you have multiple cards, standing on soft 19 would, again, be a good strategy.
  • If the dealer has a 9 showing and you have only two cards, it might be better to hit on soft 19 to improve your hand.Ultimately, you should base your decision to stand on a soft 19 depending on the dealer’s upcard and the specific game rules.

Hit Strategy for Soft 19

Hitting on soft 19 can be a good strategy in specific situations, such as the following:

  • Hitting on soft 19 can improve your hand when the dealer has a strong upcard (10 or Ace). This is due to the likelihood of the dealer scoring 20 or 21 being relatively high.
  • If you are playing a game where the dealer hits on soft 17, hitting on soft 19 can offer a better chance of achieving a higher total than the dealer.
  • In specific blackjack variants where surrender is not allowed, hitting soft 19 against a strong dealer upcard might be the most suitable option, especially if doubling down is not allowed or recommended.

The Potential Drawbacks of Hitting on Soft 19

Below are the potential risks of hitting on soft 19:

  • If you are already in a position where you have a strong hand, and the dealer’s upcard is weak, hitting on soft 19 can be unnecessary, not to mention risky.
  • When you hit on soft 19, there is a chance you might receive a low card, which could make your hand even more challenging to play.

Double Down Strategy for Soft 19

When holding a soft 19, doubling down can also be a viable strategy in specific situations. By choosing to double down, you are essentially doubling your original bet and picking up one additional card. If you decide to double down, ensure the dealer’s upcard is favourable to your hand.

It is generally recommended to double down on soft 19 when the dealer has a weak upcard (5 or a 6). This is because the dealer is in a vulnerable position; therefore, you have a high chance of winning a doubled bet. On the other hand, if the dealer has a strong upcard, consider avoiding this strategy because the dealer is in a strong position, and the chances of you winning the hand are lower.


The following are some commonly asked questions related to playing soft 19 in blackjack.

What do you do with soft 19 in blackjack?

Standing on soft 19 instead of hitting is generally recommended when playing blackjack since the score is very close to 21 and is difficult to improve upon.

Does the dealer hit on soft 19?

This varies based on the blackjack version being played. In some variations, the dealer hits on soft 19, whereas in others, the dealer stands.

Do you double down on a soft 20 against a 6?

Doubling down on a soft 20 against a 6 is a reasonable action. Please always be aware that the dealer can beat your hand. This is a risk you will be taking when deciding to double down.

Do you hit a soft 18 against a 9?

It is advisable to stand on a soft 18 against a 9, as hitting could result in you busting when further cards are dealt. Plus, 18 is a reasonable total. Please remember there is no strategy designed for winning every blackjack hand.

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