Are you new to blackjack? Splitting strategy is a fundamental tool in blackjack every player needs to know about before playing, whether in online or land-based casinos.
The bottom of a basic blackjack strategy is always to be aggressive whenever the dealer looks weak. There are different actions you can take when the dealer shows weak hands, and splitting is one of the best moves. When splitting, you get two separate hands and an additional card, thus creating more opportunities for winning. However, there are specific times when splitting is recommended in blackjack. Do remember that there are different versions of blackjack, and different rules apply to how splitting should be done. Our complete guide covers everything, including when to split in blackjack and more.
What is Splitting in Blackjack?
Splitting in blackjack happens if your opening two cards have the same value. In this case, you are dealt an additional card. If you decide to split, you must be ready to place a second bet of the same value as your original bet. This will double your bet. The two split cards are treated as the first card of new hands that are played separately. If one of the hands happens to be a pair, you can resplit and triple your bet.
In blackjack, you are allowed to hit or double down on a split hand, except if you have split two aces. These cards are not allowed to have more than two cards. Nevertheless, splitting opportunities are rare in a standard blackjack game. A player has a 0.5% chance of receiving a pair from aces to 9 in the two opening cards. The opportunity for receiving two cards valued at 10 is 9.4%.
When to Apply Blackjack Split Strategy
As aforementioned, splitting does not occur regularly in a blackjack game. There are certain hands when probability dictates you should split or not split. The best two scenarios when splitting is recommended is when you are dealt a pair of aces or a pair of eights. Though there is no guarantee that splitting will win everything, you are more likely to profit in the long run. In a blackjack game, you should always split when:
Blackjack has many cards with the value of ten, so it makes sense to always split when you are dealt a pair of aces. Splitting aces gives you a chance of getting a stronger hand than the one you would have played. If you fail to split your aces, one receives the value of 1 and the other the value of 11. In this sense, it's only a nine that can give you 21 on your next card. If you draw a 10 value card, you must count both hands as one, which brings you back to 12.
The other pair that any blackjack expert will advise you to split are two eights. Two eighths are considered a reasonably poor hand in blackjack; that's why you need to split them and not play as one hand. Though chances of winning are not guaranteed, you stand a better chance mathematically. If you play two eight as one hand, you start at 16 (weak hand), and hitting, in this case, is risky as you can lead to a bust. While splitting can also lead to a bust, it leaves you with a better hand at winning.
Re-Splitting Aces and Eights
You can re-split aces and eights if you are dealt a second pair. When splitting, the dealer gives you a second pair, and you must triple your original wager. However, the house rules may vary as you can only split a maximum of three times.
When Not to Split in Blackjack
There are certain unfavorable situations when splitting is not recommended in a blackjack game. Some of the scenarios where you should never split are:
Never Split Tens
Splitting tens is a common mistake made by amateur players. When you split tens, you sacrifice a promising hand for a minimal chance at even better ones. Playing a pair of 10 gives you a hand value of 20. However, splitting tens requires an ace to maximize the chance of winning. Mathematically, splitting tens gives you a worse hand than the initial one.
Never Split Fours
When you split a pair of fours, you get two weak hands, which is meaningless. In splitting, you must double your original bet, and splitting fours is the start of your money-losing streak. It's impossible to bust out when hitting on a pair of fours since the highest hand you can get is 19.
Never Split Fives
Whenever you are dealt a pair of fives, it is good to consider them as a single ten. You can double down on a 10 against anything but not the dealer's 9, 10, or ace. Overall, avoid splitting fives at all times.
Blackjack Splitting Rules
Blackjack games have different rules when it comes to splitting. In some cases, casinos set splitting rules. So, here are the basic split rules you must know before you start playing:
- Re-Splitting: This rule allows splitting pairs in one hand up to three times maximum.
- Re-Splitting Aces: This rule allows resplitting a pair of aces, though it's very rare.
- Split Anytime: You can split a hand after drawing additional cards if you have two cards of the same value.
- No Ace Splits: Certain casinos forbid splitting aces, though in very rare cases.
- Split Any 16: With this rule, you can get rid of all the worst hands.
- Discard Split: This allows you to discard one of your hands after splitting.
When Splitting Depends on the Dealer's Face Up Cards
Split twos, threes, and sevens: Players can split twos, threes, or sevens when the dealer's up card is two to seven. These blackjack hands are called the trio, and they come with the potential to bust after one or more hits. You should split these cards when the dealer shows a low card.
Split Sixes if the dealer shows a two to six: Players should hit if the dealer has a seven or better hand. Splitting your sixes offers better chances of beating the dealer's weak hand.
Split nines: Players can split nines if the dealer's up card is two to six, eight, or nine. It is recommended to stand if the dealer has a seven, ten, or ace.
Downsides of Splitting Cards in Blackjack
Similar to other moves in blackjack, you must calculate the risks involved when you split a hand and when you play it as it is. Though splitting can double your winning, it can be an opportunity to lose your money if it fails. This explains why we don't recommend splitting all your hands in blackjack. Choose the right time to split wisely; if you are not sure, avoid splitting and play as a normal hand. Additionally, you must understand that the dealer can still get lucky even if you apply the split strategy correctly. However, you should not be frustrated because you made the wrong decision. This is how the game is designed to work.
The secret to becoming successful in splitting is by applying in your gameplay. The good thing with online casinos is that you can practice risk-free with the free mode games. You can also try in real mode but with few hands and minimal bet size; once you see that you have mastered the skill, proceed to play big stakes. Nevertheless, you should understand that not all online casinos are safe. You must consider several factors when sourcing for a reputable and reliable online casino. Make sure your chosen casino is licensed by a recognized authority, safe and secure, supports multiple payment options, rewards huge bonuses, and above all, has a reliable support team. Please, remember to gamble responsibly.