When to Split in Blackjack: Easy-to-Follow Guide

Content Team 1 year ago
When to Split in Blackjack: Easy-to-Follow Guide

Blackjack is generally considered a game of skill rather than luck, although luck plays a role as well. Therefore, it’s important to understand the rules of the game and learn all the strategies you can use to your advantage. One of those strategies is knowing when to split in blackjack, so let’s go over the basics.

What Does Splitting Mean in Blackjack?

It’s possible to split two cards of the same number in blackjack, such as fours and eights, and play them like a separate hand.

You have to place the same bet on the new hand as the original bet you placed on the first hand.

The following is a more detailed explanation of how to play each pair, but you can learn the basics in the following way:

  • Aces and 8s should always be split
  • Don’t split 10s
  • Split 4s if you can double on split hands

When to Split in Blackjack?

It’s possible to split any pair of cards in blackjack. The question is, however, whether splitting every time is a good idea.

The answer to this question is no. To determine if a split is possible, you need to know the dealer’s card.

Let’s see when can you split in blackjack.

If You Get a Pair of Aces

It’s easier to hit 21 when you have an ace because the deck has many 10-value cards. Therefore, if you get a pair of aces, you shouldn’t second-guess your decision to split because any drawn card valued at 10 gives you 21.

If You Get a Pair of Eights

It’s always a good idea to split a pair of eights because you risk busting if you stand or hit. In other words, if you stand, the dealer will likely beat you with a higher total. On the other hand, if you hit, you’ll probably bust.

However, if you decide to split, you have a high chance of getting a 10, bringing your new total to a hard 18.

Furthermore, if you don’t get a 10, you have a chance of getting an ace, which results in a total of 19. Finally, even if you get a nine, your total will be 17, which is again a better outcome.

When Not to Split in Blackjack?

You already have a good hand if you’ve got nines or tens. With a pair of nines, you have the best chance of beating the dealer. A marginally stronger hand can be made by splitting them if you hit an ace or ten.

The same applies to tens. With 20, you have a great starting hand, and it’s hard to improve upon if you split. However, you may split high pairs when the dealer’s up card isn’t good.

If You Get a Pair of Fives

Most players decide not to split a pair of fives regardless of the number of decks in a game. They know they have a better starting point if they have a 10 as opposed to two pairs with fives. Therefore, instead of splitting, you can either hit or double down.

If You Get a Pair of Fours

Basically, if you split two fours, there’s a high chance of ending up with two 14s, which isn’t good for you. The best strategy, in this case, is to hit and hope to get a 10, resulting in a total of 18, which is a far better outcome. The bottom line is that this is a decent hand.

Splitting Depending on the Dealer

The dealer can also split hands when certain up cards are shown.

The following are three examples:

  • Dealer: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • You: 2-2, 3-3, 7-7
  • Decision: split

You have a better chance of getting a strong hand if you split these. However, take another card if the dealer shows an eight or higher.

  • Dealer: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • You: 6-6
  • Decision: split

Even if the dealer busts, it’s possible to win at blackjack. As a result, splitting 6s is a wise move. A dealer may have to hit again and lose if you draw a 10 to make 16.

  • Dealer: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9
  • You: 9-9
  • Decision: split

In general, nines are bad for splitting, but they can be good if the dealer gets a strong hand (18, 19) or busts (having to hit on 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16).

Blackjack Splitting Rules

The best way to learn blackjack split rules is to play at an online or land-based casino. Splitting is just one possible strategy, depending on the cards you’re dealt.

Keep the following rules in mind before playing:

  • Splitting 10-value cards is only allowed in some casinos if they rank similarly. It’s fine to split a 10-10 hand, but not a jack-queen hand.
  • Doubling down and splitting hands may be limited after the first split.
  • If you have a 10-value card on one or both of the aces or an ace on one or both of the tens, they’re considered non-blackjack 21.
  • You aren’t allowed to hit more than once after splitting aces.

Pros and Cons of Splitting in Blackjack

Pros:

  • Increases your chances of beating the dealer
  • Splitting doubles your winnings
  • It can turn a bad hand into a decent one
  • It can turn a bad hand into a decent one
  • Your initial hand is at an advantage as a result

Cons:

  • If you make the wrong move, you can lose twice as much as you bet
  • Since you’ll be doubling your bet, splitting requires a higher bankroll
  • Luck plays a major role in the game

FAQ

When should you split cards in blackjack?

It’s always a good idea to split aces because there’s a high chance of drawing a 10-value card and reaching a total of 21.

Should you ever split 10s?

Blackjack players are generally advised not to split 10s and to always stand on 20. This is because card counters sometimes split 10-rich decks.

What are the best numbers to split in blackjack?

It makes sense to split a pair of aces because there are a lot of 10-value cards in blackjack. A single ace receives a value of 1 if there is no splitting and a double ace gets a value of 11. With a nine, you can only get to 21 on your next card.

Should you split 7s in blackjack?

Knowing when to split in blackjack sometimes depends on the number of decks used. In multi-card games, it’s generally advised to split a pair of 7s when the dealer has cards 2–7. In double-deck games, on the other hand, split a pair of 7s against the dealer’s 2–8 if DAS and 2–7 if NDAS.

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