Blackjack Strategy: Hard 12

Learning the correct moves in blackjack, those moves that have the highest odds of success, is the key to being a good player and having the most success. Too many people try to go with their gut or just wing it, but blackjack basic strategy was created for a reason. It has been shown time and again to be the best way to reduce the house edge and the moves are those that give you the highest percentage chance of success.

Earlier I dissected the strategy for soft hands and right now we’re dealing with hard hands. In this case, it is a hard 12, which is any hand with a value of 12 that does not use an ace as an 11. The correct moves can be found on any blackjack basic strategy chart, but here they are in more detail.

If the dealer shows a 4, 5 or 6 as an upcard, you should stand. If the dealer shows anything else, you should take a hit.

This is the first hard hand we’ve covered where you would stand in any situation. That is because, unlike those hands, with a hard 12 there is a possibility of going bust. A 10 card is the most prevalent card in the deck, and receiving one would give you a total of 22, which would cause you to lose.

Basic strategy recognizes both the good possibility of being dealt a 10 card and the good possibility of the dealer having a 10 in the hole. For that reason, a dealer showing a 4, 5 or 6 has a good chance of having a stiff hand (12-16). Stiff hands have a high probability of busting, since the dealer is unable to stand on them. Because the dealer has a high probability of busting, there is no reason for you to risk busting as well by taking a hit. For that reason, you should stand in this situation, even though a 12 isn’t a very high value.

If the dealer has any other card as an upcard, his chances of busting are severely diminished. Since the odds are now against the dealer busting, you need to realize that a 12 is an easy hand for the dealer to outdraw. For that reason, you should take a hit in the hopes of improving your hand. You could bust, but only if you draw a 10 card. Anything else would still keep you under 21. Therefore, you have better odds of winning by trying to improve your hand than by standing pat.

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