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Blackjack: To split or not to split? Situations to consider

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Blackjack: To split or not to split? Situations to consider

Blackjack: To split or not to split? Situations to consider

Mon Dec 05 2022 02:01:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Blackjack is more than just a game of chance. It is one of the few casino games where you can apply a blackjack strategy to increase your chances of winning. The golden rule of every blackjack strategy is to turn aggressive with your bets when the dealer flashes a disadvantageous hand value in the upcard.


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Splitting is one of the most excellent strategies in a blackjack player's arsenal, but only if you know how to use it right. Split in blackjack not only gives you the advantage of beating the dealer but also lets you win double your expected payout. 

This is statistically one of the best blackjack moves to make for every card combination, according to professional blackjack players. You must know how to make the right call to pull this strategy off. This article will tell us easy-to-spot situations where splitting cards in blackjack will favour your game. Get to know more about it below:

What is a splitting in blackjack?

We've been talking about the blackjack split strategy for some time now, but what is it? A split is a situation wherein you are dealt two cards of the same value. By choosing to split your cards, you now have two hands and one card dealt for each of your hands. Placing a similar bet amount on the second hand is a must. In layman's terms, it is like playing two bets at once. 

Blackjack basic strategy splitting pairs

Only the player can play a split in blackjack. To split your hand, you must have two similar value cards. Signal your split by pushing out the card with the same value and placing equal amounts to your first wager. 

The advantage of splitting

What makes this play style advantageous is it allows you to have twice as much money on the table, which is perfect if you think you can beat the dealer's hand. Presuming the dealer's hand ends in a bust, you can win twice as much payout in your game. 

The disadvantage of splitting 

Don't get overexcited with your splits. This move, just like every blackjack strategy, comes with its own set of disadvantages. If you're not careful, you might fall victim to losing more money with your double bet. After all, if you can win double the amount, then logic only dictates that you lose twice as much if the strategy fails. 

This risk is why you must be careful in eyeing the situation on the table. Learn how to judge your game wisely and read through what moves will bring you the most advantage. Additionally, even if you play your cards correctly, the small part of the game left to chance can still bring the dealer luck to win with a hand value close to 21. 

You must never let your frustrations get the best of you in these situations. The best weapon of a winning gambler is their ability to maintain good judgement throughout the game while keeping calm no matter what happens at the table.

The benefit of splitting

Splitting is a strategy introduced by mathematicians as a way to lower the house edge. Splitting can help you increase your chances of winning the game and level up your wins with two equal bets. 

Take a look at the list below to see the benefits of splitting in blackjack:

  1. Maximising profits

Splitting lets you divide your single hand into two hands with similar bets. If you win against the dealer with these hands in the next hit, you will earn twice as much payout in the game. 

  1. Minimising losses

Maximising profits comes hand in hand with minimising losses. By having two hands, you now have two separate bets that both have the possibility of winning against the dealer. If either one of these bets wins, it can shoulder the lost wager of the other bet. Fortunately, you can still be lucky enough for both hands to win against the dealer. 

  1. Convert losing hands to winning ones

If you have a pair of cards you need more confidence in, splitting can help you at least score a win without going bust first before the dealer.


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Blackjack split rules: What you need to know 

Checking the dealer rules is a must in every blackjack game. These rules can help you determine if your moves are within acceptable bounds or violate a set standard in the casino.  

The rules for strategies like splitting can vary from casino to casino. Double-check the rules to know when you should split in blackjack. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind: 

  1. Some casinos only allow card splitting if you receive ten-value cards from the same rank. 
  2. Depending on the casino, the option to double down and further splitting can be limited after the first split. 
  3. Depending on the casino, the ten-card and ace can be regarded as a non-blackjack 21 after the first split. 
  4. You are generally not allowed to hit more than once after you split an ace.

The splitting stoplight: How to split in blackjack

You might ask yourself, how does split work in blackjack? Splitting in blackjack is about finding the right moment to split and recognising the blackjack hands for what it's worth. This splitting stoplight in blackjack will tell you when to go, wait or stop with splitting based on the game cues. 

Check out the perfect moments to know what happens when you split in blackjack below: 

Go: When you should split in blackjack 

Splitting in blackjack is the strategic art of solving mathematical puzzles to get the best possible results in the game. The first thing to consider when deciding on a split is the dealer’s faceup card. Knowing what cards to split in blackjack will help you score a win in the game. Below, we listed down what cards should you split in blackjack

  1. Blackjack split eights 

Having a pair of eights in one hand means that you already have a hand value of 16, which is considered a fairly poor hand in blackjack regardless of whether you split the initial hand.

Two eights barely give you any wiggle room before you reach 21. Any card dealt to you after the initial two-card need to have a value of 5 or less, or else it's a bust. Splitting your two eights gives you a better chance of a more competitive hand.

  1. Blackjack split aces 

Splitting aces can never go wrong, so don't hesitate to do it if you are ever blessed with two aces. In blackjack, an Ace has a value of 1 or 11, making them the ideal cards to split. By hitting a picture card in either of your split hand, you'll reach 21 immediately without any problems. 

Wait: When splitting depends on the dealer’s hand 

As we have said before, the dealer's card is the most important factor you need to consider when deciding whether you should split. Below are some of the situations where splitting should be done based on the upside card of the dealer: 

  1. Dealer has two to nine and you have a pair of nines 

Nine isn't the best value to split in blackjack, but there are cases where it might just work in your favour, and this is when the dealer looks as if they are about to go bust or get a firm hand. 

  1. Dealer has two to seven and you have a pair of twos, threes or sevens 

A pair of twos, threes and sevens equals 4, 6 and 14 hand values, respectively. Those are regarded as bad hands; therefore, it's the best time to split your hand, especially if you see that the dealer also has low-value cards. Splitting your hands will at least give you two different decent hands instead of one terrible hand. 

  1. Dealer has two to six, and you have a pair of sixes

If you have a pair of sixes and notice that the dealer has a low hand, the best action is to split and wait for the dealer to bust. This way, you will at least have two hands that might give you a value of up to 16. 

Stop: When to avoid splitting in blackjack 

While splitting sounds like a generally rewarding move to make in blackjack, there are times when there are better choices for your game. Below is a list of what pairs should you not split in blackjack

  1. Never split fives 

On the one hand, two fives already give you a value of 10, which is a relatively good hand in and of itself, which is why in blackjack, split fives are a no-go. The best way to play this hand is to double down unless the dealer has an ace, ten or a nine. 

Splitting your fives only results in either a lower-value hand or a hand that increases your chances of getting a bust later on, which are both not ideal if you want to score a win.

  1. Never split fours

A pair of fours might be one of the best hands you can get in blackjack, which is why it's included in the blackjack never split list. It doesn't have any possibility of going bust in the next hit. The most frequent value you can get is 19, a relatively decent number that might even result in your win. However, blackjack split fours will put you on a limit where you need to get either a five, six or seven in the next hit to beat your original pair of fours. 

  1. Never split tens 

In blackjack, split tens are a crime against winning. A pair of tens is as close as you can get to 21, which makes it one of the most promising hands in the game. Splitting it is unlikely to give you a better hand than your original pair of tens, so it is better to leave it as it is. After all, the only way for the dealer to beat this hand is if they can present the exact value of 21, and that is not likely to happen.


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Frequently asked questions 

Having a rough time grasping the concept of when to split in blackjack? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and their answers that might help you: 

Why do players split their pairs? 

Splitting can help you achieve your goal of winning and prevent any possibility of a bust in case the pair's total needs to be a better value to take a hit or is close to 21. 

Do I have to split every pair? 

No, you have the option to split your pairs and utilise them in whatever way you see will benefit your game. 

Is it wise to split jacks in blackjack?

While it is entirely up to you, there are better choices than splitting your pair of jacks (valued at 20) since it is already one of the best hands. If you split it, the possibility of having a better hand than your pair of jacks is low. 

Can the dealer split in blackjack?

No, only the player can split in the game.  

Words by: Ana Gabrielle Gundran


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Blackjack: To split or not to split? Situations to consider