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Blackjack Split Strategy – When to Split Your Hand

How To Split Blackjack Ever wondered what “split” means in blackjack strategies, or how to do it? Then we’ve got precisely the guide for you because we’ve got expert tips on blackjack splitting. In the game, you can “split” your starting hand to get two more chances at winning.

When you’re thinking of splitting a pair of cards into separate hands, there are some vital factors at play. Namely, what’s the total before you split, what will it be after, and do you have a pair of aces? In blackjack, the ace counts as either one or 11, which can win you the game if you’re careful.

However, splitting comes at a cost, so ensure that you have a clear strategy in mind and that you actually need the additional card. After all, the option to split after you’re dealt a pair is part of the draw.

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How To Split In Blackjack

Essentially, players can split a pair of cards (that are the same value) to make two hands. Any pair from Ace to nine and any two cards with a value of ten can be split.

However, if you decide to split, you will have to make a second bet on your new hand to double your stake. Then, the two cards are considered the first of your new hands, and you receive another two from the deck.

If one of your hands is another pair, you can split again and add another amount of your original bet to the pot. But, it’s rare to get a pair (about 0.5% for Aces, and 9.4% for a value of ten).

In every variant of this card game, the ace determines whether a hand is “hard” or “soft” because its value is either one or 11. When blackjack was first played, getting an Ace (11) and a Jack (10) would win and payout more.

Splitting in Blackjack

When To Split In Blackjack

According to pro blackjack players, there are two ideal scenarios for splitting in blackjack: with a pair of aces or eights. While you might get only one more card on two Aces, you will still have two blackjack hands you could win from.

Since there’s a rough chance of 30.4% to get a starting Ace hand and reaching 21, there’s a 51.6% chance one of your two hands getting Blackjack (21).

Meanwhile, a pair of eights is a total of 16, which is considered the “weakest” hand in blackjack because it’s under 17. In most variants, the dealer has to hit on 17, but they might go bust. So, splitting your eights solves the problem of your weak hand.

In every variant of this card game, the ace determines whether a hand is “hard” or “soft” because its value is either one or 11. When blackjack was first played, getting an Ace (11) and a Jack (10) would win and payout more.

As the objective of blackjack is to beat the dealer, your strategy depends on splitting when the dealer has specific cards.  So, you will need to hit when you have a hard or soft total compared to the dealer’s total.

Here’s a handy blackjack split chart to help you start practicing (this is for four to eight decks and a soft 17 dealer hit):

Blackjack Splitting Chart

When Not to Separate Your Cards

On the opposite side of the spectrum is when you absolutely shouldn’t split your cards. Most of the time, this is for three specific pairs:

  • Tens – when you have a 20 in hand, it’s better to keep your cards and wait to see the dealer’s cards. After all, you’re one number away from the goal of the game.
  • Fours – if you get a pair of fours, you can’t bust with a hit in the next round, because the most you can get is 19. Plus, if you split, only three cards can improve your total if you’ve been counting cards: a five, six, or seven.
  • Fives – you already have a total of ten, so double down instead if the dealer has anything under a nine.
Split Blackjack Hands

Popular Splitting Strategies

When you play blackjack, your decisions are integral to how often you win, so strategies exist. These should be taken with a grain of salt because there’s no guarantee of consistent wins. If you want to research a few and take a few tips from each, you’ll probably get better results.

Strategies for splitting, hitting, doubling down, and busting should always be combined in a way that works for you. More so, any progression betting systems should be ignored if you want to stick to a budget. Instead, focus on the playing decisions overall and how much it will cost you to play for an hour or more.

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