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For Smart Women Only: Make Blackjack Pay

Your Blackjack Hand: 12

Posted by blackjackguru on June 17, 2009

6 decks, S17, DAS, No Surrender, Peek
Estimated casino edge for these rules: 0.44 %
Dealer Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
12 H H S S S H H H H H

All your “stiff” totals are those from 12 to 16. Mathematically these are losing hands over the long run. But to minimize your losses, always play Basic Strategy correctly and if you win with these hands, count yourself lucky.

If you stand with your stiff total you can only win if the dealer busts. You cannot even push since the dealer must hit to 17. At an average full table, the dealer that initially shows stiff upcards (2 to 6) will end up with pat hands 61% of the time and busts only 39% of the time.  Each dealer upcard will have slightly different results, as follows:

Your 12 vs dealer’s 2: If you stand the dealer will bust 35% of the time and wins 65% of the time. If you hit, you will bust about 31% due to the 10-value cards only. The other 69% of the time, a hit will place you somewhere between a worse stiff (13 to 16), or within the “pat hand” zone between 17 and 21. Therefore, you will lose less in the long run by hitting your 12 one time, since you sometimes improve your hand enough to tie or beat the dealer’s total. But make no mistake, getting a 12 vs dealer’s 2 in the long run still loses 25% of total wagers placed using Basic Strategy, whereas you lose 30% of total wagers placed by standing. So hit your 12 vs dealer 2.

Your 12 vs dealer 3: If you stand, the dealer will bust 37% and win 63% of the time. Your long run loss rate is 25% of total wagers placed by standing. If you hit your 12 once, your loss rate is reduced to 23%. You will still lose in the long run, but you will lose less, by following BS. So hit your 12 vs dealer 3.

Your 12 vs dealer 4 to 6: The dealer’s 4, 5, and 6 will yield bust rates of 40%, 42%, and 42% respectively, meaning the dealer will stand pat 60%, 58% and 58% respectively. By standing on your 12’s against these upcards you will still lose in the long run, 20%, 16% and 16% respectively. But you will lose less by standing than if you hit your 12’s here – remember the 31% bust rate if you hit. So, stand on these totals.

Your 12 vs dealer 7 to A: You gotta hit your 12’s here, because you will lose less by hitting here.

Common Loser Mistakes:

Standing on 12 vs 2.

Standing on 12 vs 3.

Assuming there’s a 10 “in the hole” (under the dealer’s upcard). Although a 10 valued card is the most common of all values, the fact is there are more non-10’s than 10’s in a neutral shoe. That is why when a dealer shows a 2 or a 3 upcard, the dealer frequently ends up with pat hands, and why losers are frustrated when the dealer did not bust as s/he expected to.

Did you know..?

Being the Advantage Player, when you hit your 12’s vs 2 and 3 according to basic strategy and you bust trying to improve your hand, will need a thick skin for what is known as “ploppy heat”. “Ploppies” are losing players who do not know basic strategy. They will complain “you took the dealer’s bust card”. However, the reason they lost was purely because they stood on their 2 card totals, many of which were stiffs themselves, and their hopes for a dealer bust was only 39% but they expected the dealer bust rate was greater than that.


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