Basic strategy is often abused. Players think they are adhering to it when they are not. And when you do not play basic strategy perfectly, the house edge cannot be lowered to 0.5%. Two of the most commonly misplayed scenarios are a hard 12 against a dealer 2 or 3.
Hard 12 is one of the stiff hands, meaning it is one of those hands with a high shot of losing but still has a shot at winning. In other words they are underdog hands. Basic strategy for those hands was calculated to give the play that would do the least amount of damage should the player lose. And, let’s face it, those hands do have a larger chance of losing than winning.
Most hard hands are played like this: if the dealer has a 6 or less, then stand; but if he has a 7 or greater, then go ahead and hit. The only stiff hand that is the exception to that rule is the hard 12; for that hand players are advised to hit against a dealer’s 2 or 3 rather than stand. This is because the average amount of money lost when hitting is less than average amount lost when standing. Check it out (figured from a $100 wager):
Average amount lost when hitting against a 2: $25
Average amount lost when standing against a 2: $29
Average amount lost when hitting against a 3: $23
Average amount lost when standing against a 3: $25
When put into money terms it is easy to understand. However, many blackjack players, experienced ones too, will stand against a 2 or 3. I think players make the mistake because all of the other stiff hands are advised to stand against a dealer 2 or 3; so they play a hard 12 in the same way even though a hard 12 is better off being hit against a 2 or 3. All it takes is sticking to what the basic strategy chart says. The good thing about basic strategy is it can be used in online casinos like Online Vegas without it being illegal or frowned upon by the online casino.