In the context of casino gambling, a soft hand is a blackjack hand with an ace. Because of the versatility of an ace in blackjack (it can be worth either 1 or 11 points), the presence of an ace is important for players as it influences the optimal decision that is to be made according to basic strategy. Dealers will often be instructed to hit on a soft 17, but not on a hard 17.
A hand that does not contain an ace is called a hard hand.
- a blackjack hand that contains an ace.