Playing 12 vs. 4 in Blackjack

Here's the situation:
You're playing in a four-deck game, and receive a 3 and a 9 for a two-card total of 12, while the dealer flips an upcard of 4. You have a tough decision here, but basically it's a choice between hitting the 12 or standing on the hand. Which option do you choose?

This may look inviting, since when you've got 12 there's only one card value on which you can bust with one hit, that being a ten value card (which encompasses tens and all picture cards).

However, in the final analysis, you have to stand with your 12.

When the dealer has an upcard of 4, there's a 40% chance that he or she will bust. Therefore, you know that if you stand, you're going to be a loser 60% of the time. If you always hit the 12 in this situation, you will win a little less and lose about 58% of your hands (pushes count for the difference).

This is a very close call. As a matter of fact, it's almost as advantageous (if that's even the proper word) to hit as it is to stand. There is only a very slight edge to standing here - about a half a percent, as a matter of fact.

And you'll find out, if you ever get into card counting, that if you have a rather low negative count (meaning a higher ratio than usual of low value cards to high value cards remaining to be played), you're going to wind up hitting this hand.

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

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