When to split in blackjack


Blackjack is one of the most thrilling and exciting casino games around and it’s relatively easy to play. Although, in certain situations you will have to make quick in-play decisions that could seriously influence the outcome of each hand and that includes deciding whether to split.

What does it mean to split in blackjack?

Firstly, splitting in blackjack can only occur after you’ve been dealt a pair of the same value cards on your initial hand. For instance, two 8s, two 10s, two Jack’s etc. When that happens you will immediately get to split, if you want, because it’s always optional. Should you split, the two cards will make separate hands and the dealer will give you a further card for each. Then the game will commence as normal, with the same rules applying.

However, when you split, the second hand will require a wager of the same amount as your initial bet. So, the risks are clear, as you could lose double what you had initially staked. Although, it will enable you to win on two hands as well.

So when should I split?

As mentioned, you can only split when you receive a pair, so it’s not that common an occurrence, but it’s important to be prepared and understand how it works. Yet, in some cases, common sense will apply.

You should always split a pair of aces!
You should always split a pair of aces!

If you’re dealt two aces, splitting is inevitable. You would then need two cards worth 10 to hit the magic 21 on both hands and you wouldn’t go bust regardless of the next card. But, we hope you didn’t need to be told that anyway! Alternatively, splitting a pair of 10s would be a bad decision. Again, it’s pretty obvious to why, 20 is a strong hand and only an ace would better it. However, it’s not always as easy as that.

Here we will look at all the pairs and advise you the best course of action to take.

Pair of 9s

Deciding on 9s is tricky. It would certainly represent a risk because 18 is a good hand, but it can often be beaten, which means you need to analyse what the dealers face up card is. If it’s a high card you may be more inclined to split, given the chance that one card could beat you. If it’s a low card, it’s worth holding your 18, because they will need to receive a further card which increases the possibility of going bust.

Pair of 8s

These should always be split, and the logic is simple. Standing on 16 is tough, because it’s a fairly weak hand, but another card encounters the strong possibility of going bust. Therefore, it’s best to split.

Pair of 7s

This is another difficult choice. If you decide to hold, you’ll need another card and the probability of going bust is over 50%. However, it’s hard to turn a 7 into a good hand. That means, you’ll have to check what the dealer has again. The higher card should lead you to split, because it increases their chances of getting close to 21. Conversely, a lower card will require them to hit, which is similar to yourself, so splitting has no real benefit.

Pair of 6s

On the whole, it’s best to not split when holding 6s, because only a card with the value of 10 will see you go bust. Whereas, starting hands with two cards worth 6 isn’t ideal and could see you put in an awkward position after your next card is dealt. However, if you want to take the risk of splitting, it’s best to do so if the dealer has a low card on show.

Pair of 5s

You should never split 5s, it’s a good position to be in. Again, it’s fairly obvious, because you can’t go bust, no matter what the next card is and a high value could win you the hand. Should you split, you will need more than one card to hit a high score.

Pair of 4s

Similar to splitting 5s, it’s wise to not split 4s too, for much of the same reasons. You won’t go bust on your next card and it’s possible to end up with a high number. By splitting, you double the wager and start from 4 which is a tough position.

Pair of 2s and 3s

Splitting 3s won't have as much significance as other pairs.
Splitting 3s won’t have as much significance as other pairs.

We’ve brought these together because the same reasoning applies to both. You can split without worry because there’s no way to go bust from your next card. However, starting from 4 or 6 is still tough, so you have to weigh up whether you’re prepared to double your stake for no real benefit.

That covers every scenario in blackjack and as you can see there’s an important decision to be made for each pair. Some are more obvious than others and have a major impact on the outcome of a hand, so it’s vital you know what to do, whilst considering what the dealer has. Either way, splitting in blackjack is a key part, so read this guide and apply your knowledge when you hit the tables with Lucky Nugget Casino.