Perhaps more than most games at live and online casinos, blackjack is deceptively simple. Ostensibly, all a player needs to do to win a hand is have his or her cards come closer to 21 than the dealer’s cards do. While these basics may be enough to get a player started, one need only glance at the amount of books and other publications devoted to blackjack strategies to see that there is a lot more to the game than meets the eye. While in theory players could study for years and still not master the game, what’s certain is that they won’t get far without learning when to split pairs in blackjack.
What Does Splitting Mean in Blackjack?
Put simply, splitting is a play that can only happen when a player is dealt two cards of the same value and opts to use each of them as part of a separate hand. Upon splitting, you’ll then be dealt two additional cards, one for each new hand. This will also mean you’ll need to double your original bet, as now you’re playing 2 hands against the dealer in the same betting round. This strategy’s main advantage is that it effectively gives players two chances to beat the dealer, which of course means potential for doubled winnings.
However, that doesn’t mean that splitting a pair is always the best blackjack strategy. Here are some tips on when you should and shouldn’t be splitting pairs while playing blackjack.
Do: Split Aces and 8s
In blackjack, as in poker, a pair of aces is a welcome site for players. This is a hand that you’ll always want to split, as each ace’s maximum value of 11 means that a player will never bust out when taking another card. Splitting aces also puts you in the unique position of possibly hitting two separate blackjacks in the same hand. And as everyone knows, it’s impossible to lose with blackjack.
While a blackjack isn’t possible with a pair of 8s, splitting them does put you in a strong position to hit a big hand without fear of busting on either bet; a risk most players are more willing to take than the alternatives of hitting or standing on a 16.
Don’t: Split 5s or 10s
As the old saying goes, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. This logic definitely applies to pairs of 5s and 10s at the blackjack table. Since a pair of 10s is worth 20, it’s typically a winning hand. While it may seem like a good idea to split this hand in order to have a strong start on two separate hands, it’s a usually a better idea to stick with a winner than potentially lose double on a needless gamble. Similarly, a pair of 5s is a great hand to hit on, as you have a roughly 24% chance of drawing another 10-value card, and similarly strong chances for higher hands (18, 19, etc.)
Pay Attention to the Dealer’s Up Card When Deciding Whether of Not to Split
When a dealer is showing 8 or better, there is a decent chance that he or she could be heading for a bust out. In these scenarios, and only these scenarios, more daring players could see strong rewards from splitting lower pairs like 2s, 3s, or 7s. It’s a bold play – one that may not work out in the long run – but if you have a strong feeling that the dealer will bust, this slick strategy could double up your money when you’re playing blackjack at Titan Casino.
When Unsure If to Split, Just Take a Hit
Though it may be tempting to split every pair that comes your way, some hands simply fall into too much of a gray area to do so. When in doubt it’s probably best just to hit rather than risk confusing yourself in the middle of a hand and potentially lose twice your original bet.