Playing A-4 vs. 7 in Blackjack

Here's the situation:

You are playing in a multiple deck game and the option of soft doubling is allowed. You are dealt an Ace and a four, which will give you a starting point that you can use as either 5 or 15. Meanwhile, the dealer flips over a seven as his upcard.

Now you're thinking - do you get more mileage out of hitting the hand, where you can put to use the flexibility of having the 4 or 14, or do you double down, in which case your total is more or less dictated to you by whatever single card you receive?

Hey, don't make any mistake as to whether this situation represents a doubling opportunity. There is a correct play here, and no, it's not to double but to HIT the hand.

Let's explain it:

This decision, if made properly, represents a very big gain for the player. If you go ahead and double here, you're going to be facing approximately a 42%-52% ratio of win/loss in terms of the results of the hands themselves. That's 42% on the winning side, which puts you behind the eight-ball, so to speak. That's not good, and will bring the player a sizable loss.

In sharp contrast, when you HIT this hand you're going to have a positive expectation on your return, as you'll win 48% of the time and lose a little more than 43% (the remaining 9% are hands you'll 'push', or tie).

Your gain is more than 25% in this situation. That's absolutely huge. Hitting is the only way to go here!

US vs. THEM Blackjack Strategy Series
An Analysis
By Charles Jay

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