Most blackjack players know that basic strategy is the best way of lowering the house edge so you can play the game while losing only a small portion (0.5%) of your money. However, in the heat of the moment, when sitting at the blackjack table surrounded by players and a quick-moving dealer, people can make bad decisions. Of course, you don’t have this problem playing at an online casino.
A common mistake for people who play at a blackjack table for the first time is to look at only your cards and not bother checking the dealer’s up card. This seems really foolish, because basic strategy tells you what to do when you have certain cards versus certain dealer cards, but when you’re put under pressure it can happen. To be honest, it happened to me the first time I sat at a real blackjack table.
Forgetting to check the dealer’s cards can lead to a lot of mistakes, with one of the most common being hitting a 12-16 versus a dealer 2-6. If you have studied blackjack basic strategy, you know that 12-16 are stiff hands and they are not high enough to beat the dealer unless he busts. Therefore, though hitting gives you a high risk of busting, it is usually the better option. Usually.
If the dealer shows a 2-6, though, he is likely to have a stiff hand as well, taking into account the high probability of the dealer having a 10 in the hole. You have an advantage over the dealer, though. You have the option of standing. The dealer, on the other hand, has to hit until he gets a 17 or better. For that reason, if you both might have stiff hands, the right play is to stand and hope the dealer busts.
The exception is if you have a hand of 12 and the dealer shows a 2 or 3. In this case, though it is a stiff hand, it is less likely to bust, both for the dealer and for you, as in any of the other stiff hands. For that reason, in this situation you should take a hit. For any other hands in this range, you should stand and cross your fingers (crossing your fingers is optional).