When To Split In Blackjack

When To Split In Blackjack

When it comes to blackjack, pair splitting is a potentially advantageous move that is frequently misused. Ever wondered when splitting is optimal or whether or not you should split a pair at all? Let’s dig deep and unearth the logic behind pair splitting to help you find out when to split in blackjack.

When it comes to blackjack, pair splitting is a potentially advantageous move that is frequently misused. Ever wondered when splitting is optimal or whether or not you should split a pair at all? Let’s dig deep and unearth the logic behind pair splitting to help you find out when to split in blackjack.

How to Play Blackjack

The objective of blackjack is simple: obtain a hand with a value of 21, or closest to it, and beat the dealer without going bust! Cards two through nine have their face value, 10s, jacks, queens and kings are worth 10 points each, and the ace is worth one or 11 (depending on the point total). Blackjack variants include bonus side bets, unique rules and may permit additional moves, such as doubling down or surrendering. If you wish to play blackjack at an online casino, then all you need to do is register an account and make your first deposit.

What Is Splitting In Blackjack?

Splitting is as straightforward as it sounds! When a player is dealt two cards of identical value, they may have the option to split the pair into two separate hands. If the player chooses to do so, then a wager equal to the original bet must be placed on the newly formed hand. For example, let’s say that you placed a €1 wager and your first two cards were a three of clubs and a three of diamonds, constituting a pair. If you choose to split, you will have to place an additional €1 wager and continue playing with two new hands, each at a value of three with a €1 bet. You will then play out your first hand (on the right) before playing out the second hand. You can think of it as playing twice in one round, that’s all there is to it!

Despite the simple logic behind splitting, there’s method and strategy to be found here as well. Just like surrendering a hand can be a strategic move in Blackjack Surrender, so is splitting. Whether you play defensively or offensively, there are three logical reasons why you should consider splitting pairs:

  • Offensive Strategy — If you have a reasonable chance of turning a losing hand into a winning one.
  • Defensive Strategy — If you will lose less money, on average, by splitting your two cards.
  • Bold Strategy — If, on average, you will win more money.

When To Split Pairs In Blackjack?

Deciding when to split pairs will depend on the number of decks used, the game rules, house rules, your initial cards and the dealer’s upcard. Tables that allow doubling after splitting (DAS) are more favourable to the player; thus, you will be splitting pairs more frequently. If you are playing No Double After Split (NDAS) blackjack, then your pair splitting strategy may be more conservative. Since most online casinos feature multi-deck shoes, we will outline the corresponding splitting tactics.

Split When:

  • You get ace-ace — With so many 10-point value cards in the deck, this pair can be the ace up your sleeve! An ace can be worth one or 11 points, depending on the value of the hand, so splitting two aces yields reasonable odds of hitting blackjack. Playing your pair of aces as a single hand gives either two or a soft 12, both of which are difficult hands to play, whereas split aces will triumph with a 10-point card on the next hit. Keep in mind that some players may only allow a single hit (drawing an additional card) after splitting aces, in addition to limiting doubling and resplitting.
  • You get 8-8 — A single-hand total of 16 is problematic if you are dealt a pair of eights, as the likelihood of a push if the dealer stands on 16 is relatively high. It is more advantageous for the player to split and hit instead, aiming for a hand value of 18 on the two hands. The logic behind splitting two eights is aimed at limiting the losses and improving the hand. A split pair of eights is predicted to win if the dealer shows two through seven, and is likely to lose against the dealer if their upcard is eight through ace; however, in both scenarios splitting the eights is financially more advantageous, as the player is expected to lose less frequently than when playing a pair of eights in a single hand.

Don’t Split When:

  • You get 5-5 or 10-10 — If you are dealt a pair of 10s (or two 10-point cards), then you have a strong hand of 20, which is difficult to improve if you choose to split and hit. A hand of two fives yields 10, which is a great hand for doubling down on (if allowed). If you choose to split a pair of fives, each hand is likely to result in a hand of 14-16, which is complicated to play.
  • You get 4-4 — Similarly to the logic behind splitting eights, a pair of fours (eight-points) is a decent hand to aim for 18 with. And like splitting fives, two separate four-point hands are relatively weak since they have a reasonable chance of ending up with problematic hands after a hit.

Aside from the above dos and don’ts above, splitting other pairs largely depends on the dealer’s upcard and whether the player is permitted to double down after splitting. Here are the general splitting guidelines for DAS and NDAS tables:

Double After Split

  • With 2-2, 3-3 and 7-7 — Split against the dealer’s two through seven.
  • With 4-4 — Split on dealer’s upcard of five or six.
  • With 5-5 and 10-10 — Never split.
  • With 6-6 — If the dealer’s card is two through six.
  • With 8-8 — Always, with the exception of H17 and an ace upcard (in this case, split eights if surrender is not permitted).
  • With 9-9 — Split if the dealer’s card is two through six, eight and nine.
  • With ace-ace — Always split.

No Double After Split (if the dealer must hit on a soft 17)

  • With 2-2 and 3-3 — Split against the dealer’s four through seven.
  • With 4-4, 5-5 and 10-10 — Never.
  • With 6-6 — Split if the dealer’s card is three through six.
  • With 7-7 — If the dealer shows a card that is two through seven.
  • With 8-8 — Always. Split on ace only if surrender is not permitted.
  • With 9-9 — Split on dealer’s two through six, eight and nine.
  • With ace-ace — Always.

How Splitting Affects The House Edge

There are many factors that may impact the house edge in blackjack, but splitting does not directly affect it. However, allowing doubling down after splitting lowers the house edge by about 0.12%. Resplitting aces, if permitted, lowers the edge by approximately 0.03%. While splitting a pair does not result in a reduced house edge, you can think of it as a favourable move that may improve the likelihood of hitting one or two stronger hands, as opposed to playing with a single, weaker one.

Where To Play Blackjack?

Players can enjoy a variety of table games at LV BET, one of the fastest-growing online gambling platforms in Europe. Our premium blackjack tables are hosted by leading industry providers, like Evolution and LiveG24, and offer our players an unforgettable and authentic casino experience. Check out LV BET and keep an eye on the ‘Promotions’ page, where you may come across a fantastic Welcome Offer or a Free Spins Bonus on hundreds of awesome games!


What is splitting in blackjack?

Splitting is the action of dividing one hand into two when the dealer draws a pair (two cards of identical value) to the player.

When to split pairs in blackjack?

Playing decisions, such as splitting, rely on various factors such as game rules, the number of decks used, which pair is dealt, which card the dealer shows and whether or not the table allows doubling down after splitting. Research which circumstances are favourable to the player, keep a handy table nearby and don’t go bust!

Does splitting affect the house edge?

No, but players may use it to improve their chances of forming stronger split hands, depending on their card and the dealer’s face-up card (upcard).

Where can I play blackjack?

You can play blackjack at land-based casinos or online gambling platforms, like LV BET, where you will find dozens of blackjack tables to choose from.

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