Playing A-7 vs. 9 in Blackjack

Here's the situation:

You're playing in a multiple deck game where doubling down on soft hands is allowed. You're dealt a two card hand of Ace and seven, which represents a total of 8 or 18.  The dealer has an upcard of nine. Because of that, you don't feel particularly strong, with an 18 likely being the best total for you. What play would improve your predicament the most - doubling, standing or hitting?

What could possibly help you if the dealer achieves 19? Another ace? A two? A three? There are simply not enough cards to help you there.

As if you haven't guessed it already, you probably have a losing hand here. You're in a position where you have to protect yourself - make the play in which you can keep your losses to an absolute minimum. That play is definitely not to double - on that maneuver you'll lose 15% more hands than you'll win; compound that with the fact that you're doubling your bet, and you're going to wind up a bigger loser than otherwise by doing it.

Standing doesn't do you any good, as the dealer will give himself a 19 or better 53.5% of the time, and 18 (a push) at about an 11% rate. No, your best play here is to HIT the hand. That way, you'll only lose 10 more hands per hundred than you win.

Remember - always take a long look at the play which will help you MINIMIZE your losses, and preserve your precious playing bankroll.

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

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