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Player Vs. Dealer: 13 Vs. 3

HERE'S THE SITUATION: You're playing in a multi-deck game with standard rules. The dealer has an upcard of three, while you've been dealt an eight and a five for a two-card 13. How do you go about dealing with this?

THE CORRECT PLAY: Stand here with your 13

THE EXPLANATION: Whenever you have a 12 against a 3, the proper play, according to the Basic Strategy and all logic, is to take ONE hit. But it's interesting - when you have a 13, it's a totally different story for the Basic Strategy player. Whether you hit or stand, you're going to lose about the same number of hands per hundred. But the difference lies in the number of hands you will win. When you ALWAYS hit this hand, you will win a third of the hands and push 5%. if you stand, you're not going to push, since the dealer must play through, hitting 16 and standing on 17. Therefore, your win/loss is going to be dictated by the dealer's breaking percentage with the upcard of 3. In this case, it will yield a little over 37% winners, which is an improvement over what you would have otherwise. The gain with standing is small, but it is nonetheless the play that must be followed. Remember, sometimes the idea behind Basic Strategy is to lose less on certain hands.