When it comes to playing blackjack, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is when to split your pairs. But this is also one area where many players can get confused about what they can (and should) do with a pair.
In this article, I’ll go over the blackjack split rules (which are pretty simple) and how to actually do it.
I’ll also recap some basic strategy when it comes to splitting, and give you some simple key takeaways to remember which will give you better results.
Blackjack Rules (Split)
The blackjack split rules are simple enough. Whenever you have a pair of cards of the same value (suit is not relevant in blackjack) then you have the option to split.
This means that you’ll effectively be splitting your hand into two separate hands, each with its own bet.
You’ll then play each hand out as normal, and if you win both you’ll obviously double your money.
If you win one and lose one, you’ll break even. But if you’re unlucky and lose both hands you would lose twice your original stake.
For this reason, it’s important to use the option to split pairs wisely, and only do it when you are in a strong position.
Refer to the full blackjack rules to find out about other options and when they can be used.
How to Split in Blackjack
Splitting in blackjack is actually very simple. Once the dealer has dealt your initial two cards (and you’ve checked for a blackjack) then you can declare that you want to split if you have a pair.
You’ll then need to place an additional bet, equal to your original stake, in the betting circle next to your original chips. This will be used on the second hand. The dealer will then deal you a second card for each hand.
If you’re playing online blackjack, or on an app, a split button will be displayed whenever you have a pair. Simply click or tap this and the game will automatically enter your second stake, and deal the additional cards.
From here, you’ll play out each hand as normal. You can hit or stand on each hand as you see fit, and if you go over 21 (bust) then you’ll lose that particular hand.
See the blackjack casino rules for more information about table etiquette when playing at a real-world casino.
Blackjack Split Strategy – Key Points
In general, you should split pairs when the dealer is showing a weak card and you have a strong hand. However, there are other factors to consider as well, such as the type of blackjack game you’re playing and your own level of experience.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you make the right decision when splitting pairs in blackjack:
– Always split aces and eights. This is a strong hand that you can use to your advantage.
– If the dealer is showing a four, five, six or seven, consider splitting your twos, threes, sixes or sevens.
– If you’re playing a single deck game, you should also split nines if the dealer is showing a two through six, or an eight or nine.
– Don’t split tens or fives. This is a strong hand that you don’t want to risk losing by splitting.
If you can’t remember every single combination from the blackjack split charts, then this simple 4-point blackjack split strategy will give you most of the advantage you need, and is much easier to remember.
Remember, the idea is to get extra chips on the table if the dealer’s hand is weak. When they are showing a 4, 5, or 6 this is what gives them the best chance of going bust, so you want to maximize your own profits if this happens.
The following blackjack tables show the full range of basic strategy actions for every possible scenario, in both single-deck and multi-deck games.
Blackjack Split Chart – Single Deck
Blackjack Split Chart – Multiple Deck
What are the Downsides of Splitting in Blackjack?
There are a few potential negatives to splitting in blackjack, which you need to be aware of before making the decision.
Firstly, as we’ve already mentioned, if you lose both hands then you’ll obviously lose twice your original stake. This is a bigger risk, and you need a big enough chip stack to cover those times when it doesn’t pay off.
Secondly, splitting pairs can often confuse new players and make it harder to remember basic strategy. If you’re just starting out then it’s probably best to play online first, that way there is no time limit to make your decision, and you can keep the blackjack charts handy so you always know what move to make.
Finally, some casinos actually penalize players for splitting certain pairs, particularly aces. For example, you may not be able to double after splitting, and if you split aces you may only get one more card. Be sure to check the blackjack rules at your chosen casino before playing, so that you’re not caught out by any unexpected surprises.
In general, though, splitting in blackjack can be a very profitable move if you know when to do it and how to play the resulting hands correctly. Just be sure to practice first so that you’re comfortable with the strategy, and always split aces and eights.
Last Updated on September 15, 2022
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