The game of blackjack is one of the more simple casino games to play, but surprisingly one of the most strategic. If you can really grasp the rules and percentages of an outcome then you game opens up to a whole new level. As goes with any competitive game, the more you know the better your experience will become.
In this article I aim to help you better understand when to split cards in a game of blackjack. Splitting cards is an option available to participants who are dealt two of the same card. It essentially means that you have the option to play with two separate hands, in doing so you are required to wager the same stake again for your second hand. This is a very useful strategy if you understand when to split and making the odds work to your advantage. Remember that in blackjack there are only 10 card values, so it is not difficult to memorize strategies and the likelihood of an outcome.
When you should always split in blackjack
In blackjack there are circumstances in which splitting makes perfect sense, regardless of your dealers hand on show.
Always split aces - In splitting the hand you give yourself a much higher chance of acquiring a strong hand. As a starting hand two aces leaves you with a value of 12. To get 21 you would therefore have to be dealt a nine as your next card, anything higher in value would mean you had to play your second ace with a 1 value. This again leaves you with a starting total of 12.
In splitting the hands you now have four possible ways in which to land on 21, by being dealt a 10, Jack, Queen or King in either hand.
Always split eights - The reason for this is down to the fact that 16 is a poor starting hand. The likelihood of being dealt a card with a value above 5 is around 60%. Splitting the pack gives you a stronger mathematical chance of hitting a good hand. Not only that but in splitting the hand it is no longer possible to go bust on your next card. This gives the player another opportunity to get a stronger hand.
Always re-split aces or eights - It is highly unlikely that you will be dealt two aces or 8’s, followed by another pair of 8’s or aces. In the event it does happen i always advise splitting again. The method for this is exactly the same principle as above. It is important to note that in doing this you are now playing with three hands. This would require you to treble your original starting stake.
When you should never split in blackjack
Never split tens - Two 10’s gives you a fantastic starting hand of 20. The chances of beating this hand are very slight. In splitting the pack you are left with two starting hands of 10. The only way in which you can better your original standing is by landing an ace with your next card, this is very unlikely. Any other card gives you a value of less or equal to your original hand.
Never split fours - In splitting fours all you are doing is giving yourself two poor hands, bearing in mind that you are required to double your starting stake for the privilege. This is likely to leave you out of pocket and is not advisable.
It is impossible to go bust in one more hit when you have a hand value of 8. The highest value you can achieve is 19, by being dealt an ace, this is quite a good hand. Were you to split the 4’s the likelihood is that you will be left with a less-valuable hand. In order to acquire a better hand than your original one you would need to be dealt a five, six or seven.
Never split fives - Quite simply put starting with a 10 is quite a strong hand. I always advise doubling down on a 10 unless the dealer is showing a nine, 10 or an ace. If the dealer is showing any of them cards then hit rather than double down.
Splitting fives is even worse than splitting fours. You are giving up a good hand for a poor chance of getting a better hand. It is impossible to go bust on two fives and you have a decent chance of landing 21 in one hit. In splitting you are left with two poor hands and a much increased chance of busting when attempting to get a strong hand.
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