Playing 12 vs. 3 in Blackjack

Here's the situation:

You're in a four deck game, with standard rules. You've been dealt a seven and a five for a hard 12, while the dealer shows a three as his upcard. He might bust, and then again he might not. You're mulling it over. What do you do here?

Well, you're going to have to hit the hand, but make sure you take just one hit. Any card you draw will take your new three-card total beyond what would call for a hit in your Basic Strategy.

This is somewhat similar to the dynamic involved in the 12 vs. 2 situation. If you do not hit this hand, you WILL win about 1.5% more of your hands. So why don't I stand here, you ask?

Well, the flip side is that you're going to lose about 3.5% more if you stand pat.

You will push 5% of the time with the dealer. Sometimes the reason you make a certain play is NOT to win more than you lose (because it's not always possible), or to win more often than you would otherwise.

Sometimes you make a play because it will cause you to lose less than otherwise. Pushes are not a bad thing for you here. "Pushing" the hand means that you don't lose; you just get your original bet turned back to you and you start all over again.

Unless your potential gain can outweigh your potential loss, don't move against the recommended Basic Strategy. Remember that you will at times be called upon to hit a potential busting hand against a dealer's "stiff" upcard.

If there is an overriding lesson to be learned here, it's not to be afraid to do it if the percentages dictate it!

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

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