- 16th Century Saying
Common Blackjack Split Rules Allowed to split twice (up to three hands). You can split non identical 10 value cards. Splits Aces cannot be re-split. Blackjack Basic Strategy for Splitting Pairs of Twos How to Play a Pair of Deuces in Blackjack Hard hands: Hard 8 or less - Hard 9 - Hard 10 - Hard 11 - Hard 12 - Hard 13 - 16 - Hard 17 to 21. Blackjack Variants which Call for Players to Split 10’s The only blackjack game variant which is going to have a perfect playing strategy that will occasionally see you being able to split a pair of 10’s as the correct playing decision is the game of Double Exposure Blackjack. When it comes to splitting 10s in the game of blackjack, the bottom line should be: Average players should never split and should always stand on 20. Card counters will sometimes split in ten-rich decks. Smart tournament players will sometimes split when they need to bet more chips, especially if it’s the last hand. When you have ACES: ACES are rare in blackjack, but with so many pair of 10-value cards in the deck, it’s easier to get 21 when you have an ACE. Splitting ACES is one of the best cards you can play in blackjack. You should also re-split your ACES. When you have 8’s: having two 8’s would make a total of 16, however, it is.
|Another big error I see all the time is the splitting of 10's. Once again, only if you are counting cards and only if the deck is very rich in 10's and even then only if the dealer has a very bad upcard should you even consider splitting 10's. 20 is a good hand!!! Why break it up??|
Think about this for a moment.. you don't get good hands all that often! When you do you certainly don't wish to make it any easier on the dealer by breaking up your good hand!
I asked a girl the other day why she did this and her answer was, 'Because I have a chance to win more money.' Hey, she's right! On one occasion she kept splitting her 10's, seven times on one hand alone, and therefore had $7,000 dollars riding on that particular hand! Obviously, she now has a greater chance to win $7,000 than she did if she had not split in the first place. (Her chances of winning $7,000 before she started splitting were zero, since she only had her $1,000 out there!) However what she fails to realize is her chance of losing $7,000 also increase! And with a bunch of bad hands out there now, her chances of losing are now greater than her chances of winning! In fact in this case, she was splitting 10's when the dealer had a 9 up which made it even worse!
As it turned out, she lost almost every hand when the dealer flipped over a 10 for a total of 19. Her original 20 would have been a winner. But hey, like she said, she 'had a chance' to win more money.
Never split 10's. It's a sucker play. The people who you see do it almost always have a large negative total in front of them. Doesn't that alone tell you something?? I've accumulated $303,000 in the past couple of weeks playing blackjack at Yahoo! (I currently have $343,000 but about $40,000 of that was earned at the poker tables, before blackjack was available) and I have yet to split 10's!
Jeff here had a great hand here, 20 against the dealer's upcard of an 8. So what does he do? He breaks up this great hand into three hands, all of which were worse than what he had in the first place. He should have won $1,000 here. Instead he lost $1,000 for a difference of $2,000 dollars.
This happens often when 10's are split.
|Fgalvis lost $5,000 on this hand, when he should have won $1,000.. for a difference of six grand! That's an expensive mistake!|
|Splitting 10's may be fun.. and at times it may also produce a big win. But your main objective should be to make the play, each and every time, which is best in the long run. And splitting 10's is not the way to go.|
When you check out the Basic Strategy chart, located on a separate page, you'll see 10's are not to be split, no matter what the dealer upcard is.
If you’ve spent any time studying blackjack basic strategy, you’ve probably heard that you should always split aces and eights. The goal of this post is to explain why this is the appropriate move in almost any variation of blackjack. It doesn’t matter what the dealer’s face-up card is, by the way. Splitting aces and eights is always the right move.
A Note on “Basic Strategy”
If you’re new to blackjack, you might not have heard what basic strategy is. In brief, it’s a table of the mathematically correct moves to make in any blackjack situation.
You have 2 pieces of information, which are cross-referenced on a blackjack basic strategy chart:
- What’s in your hand
- Half of what’s in the dealer’s hand
In your hand, you have a soft total, a hard total, and possibly a pair of cards of the same rank.
In the dealer’s hand, you know one of his or her cards. In almost all blackjack variations, the dealer gets one card face-up.
The correct decision in any of these situations is the one with the highest mathematical expected return.
If you make the correct mathematical decision on every hand, you reduce the house edge that the casino has over you to its lowest possible number—usually between 0.5% and 1%, depending on the rules at the casino.
How Splitting Cards in Blackjack Works
One of the options you have in blackjack is “splitting” a pair of cards of the same rank. When you do this, you start 2 hands. The first card of each of those hands is one of the 2 cards from your original hand.
You also must put up another bet when you split your hand. You then play each hand independently of each other.
You could win both the new hands, lost both the new hands, or lose with one and win with the other.
Basic strategy tells you that you should never splits 4s, 5s, or 10s. It also tells you that you should always split aces or 8s.
Why You Do the Things You Do in Basic Strategy
Basic strategy has been derived by mathematicians and computer programs who run simulations of millions of hands. They look at the results of those hands to determine the playing decision which wins the most or loses the least amount of money in each situation.
But some of the thinking behind basic strategy makes sense, too.
Here’s an example:
You should never split 10s, no matter what the dealer’s upcard is.
You have a hard total of 20. The only possible hand that could beat that 20 is a 21. It’s such a good hand that it’s hard to imagine improving your chances by creating 2 new hands—even though any hand which starts with a single 10 is going to turn out pretty good.
Let’s think about how many cards left in the deck will improve on a hard total of 20.
If you get a 10 on your new hand, that’s great. You now have what you would have had originally. You have 14 cards left in the deck which are worth 10 points. (There are 16 of those cards to begin with, but you already have 2 of them.)
If you get an ace, that’s even better. You get 3 to 2 on your payout. That’s not as likely as getting another 10, though. There are only 4 aces in the deck.
All the other cards, though, give you a worse hand. That’s a total of 32 cards which will give you a hand that’s not as good as your original hand. That’s about a 65% chance of getting a hand with a total not as good as you started with.
And some of those cards are rough, too. You get a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, and you have a stiff hand. That’s a hand that’s unlikely to beat the dealer unless you hit it. But it’s also a hand that has a good chance of going bust if you hit it.
This kind of thinking—about how good your total is, and about how the remaining cards in the deck might affect that total—is crucial to an understanding of basic strategy.
Let’s look at one more example:
You should also never split 5s. That’s a hard total of 10.
That’s a lousy total as it stands, but it’s a total you can’t bust with an additional card. Any card will improve your total, and a lot of those cards will give you a hand you’ll feel good about standing on. You have 16 cards worth 10 left in the deck, and 4 aces. That’s 20 cards that will give you a total of 20 or 21.
If you get a 7, 8, or 9, you also have a solid total you can feel good about. That’s another 12 cards, for a total of 32 cards which will improve your total.
Even if you get a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, it’s not the end of the world. You’re liable to get a stiff hand, but it’s not as likely as getting a good hand.
But what would happen if you split those 5s?
You’d wind up with 2 hands with a starting card of 5. It’s impossible to get a card on top of that to make you feel good about your hand. If you get an ace, you have a soft 16, and that’s probably the best you can hope for. If you get a 10, you have a total of 15, which is awful. It won’t beat the dealer, and it’s likely to bust when you take another card.
The other, lower value cards don’t help much either. A 9 gives you a total of 14, which is also awful. An 8 gives you a total of 13. Nothing to write home about there, either.
What Happens When You Split Aces
A hand of 2 aces that you don’t split is just a soft total of 12. That’s not terrible, because it’s hard to bust. But it’s not likely to win.
On the other hand, if you take a mediocre hand and turn it into 2 really good hands, you’ve accomplished something.
And let’s face it—anyone with a brain in his or her head knows that an ace is the best possible starting card in blackjack. Montreal casino french restaurant pennsylvania. If you get a 10 on top of that ace, you have a blackjack, which pays off at 3 to 2.
In fact, in a lot of casinos, you can split those aces and then immediately double down on them.
Remember, you have 16 cards worth 10 points each in the deck—more than any other specific total. Most of the cards aren’t worth 10 points, but enough of them are that you can be optimistic about getting that natural at least some of the time.
But if you miss your 10, you still wind up with a good hand almost every time. If you get a 9, you have a total of 20, which is a great hand. If you get an 8, you have a total of 19, which is good. Even a 7 leaves you with a total of 18.
If you get a 6 or less, you don’t have such a great hand. But because one of the cards is an ace, you’re going to be able to try to improve that hand with little fear that it’s going to bust.
What Happens When You Split Eights
First, if you have a hand made up of 2 eights, you have a hard total of 16. That’s a lousy hand. You’re probably going to stand rather than take an additional card. Either way, you’re unlikely to win. If you stand, the dealer will probably wind up with a better total than you. If you hit, you’re probably going to bust.
On the other hand, if you split this into 2 new hands, each with a starting card of 8, a lot of good things can happen.
16 of the cards in the deck are worth 10 points, so you have a reasonably good chance of getting a total of 18 on your new hand.
If you get a 9, you have a total of 17, which is also a big improvement.
If get another 8, which is unlikely, since you already have 2 of them, you’re no worse off than you were to begin with.
But What If the Dealer Has a 9 or 10 Upcard?
Thoughtful blackjack players might wonder why you would split 10s or 8s in the face of a dealer’s upcard of 9 or 10. After all, the odds are good that the dealer will beat you. Aren’t you just losing twice as much money by splitting in this situation?
The crucial factor to keep in mind is whether you’ll win more in the long run or lose more in the long run by making a specific decision. In the case of a dealer 9 or 10, you’re not trying to win more often. You’re just trying to lose less often.
This is built into the logic of the game and into the logic of basic strategy.
Here’s an example:
Any total of 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, or 17 is probably going to lose to the dealer—more than 51% of the time, anyway. And you’ll see one of those totals a little more than twice out of every 5 hands.
The best you can do in that situation is try to lose less often than you would if you made another decision.
Let’s say you face a dealer upcard of 9, 10, or ace with a pair of 8s. If splitting weren’t an option, the correct strategy would be to hit the hard total of 16. You’d lose $52 out of every $100 you bet in this situation. (It seems like you’d lose more often than that, even, but remember—the dealer doesn’t always have an ace in the hole.)
But if you split that into 2 hands that each start with an 8, you’ll lose $43 of every $100 you bet in this situation. Yes, you’ve put twice as much money into the situation. But each of those should be thought of as 2 bets with a better on-average outcome than the one bet with a terrible possible outcome.
These are both losing situations, but one situation saves you $9 on average per $100 bet.
In fact, you’ll sometimes get some grief from the other players or even the dealer when you make this decision. The best thing to do is ignore them. They mean well, but they clearly don’t understand the math behind the game or behind basic strategy.
Splitting Tens In Blackjack
As an aside, I used to employ a former blackjack dealer to clean my house. Her understanding of the game and the math behind it was abysmal. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because someone deals blackjack for a living means they understand how to minimize the house edge.
Always follow basic strategy, and always ignore other people who advise you to do something different.
Splitting Aces Is a No-Brainer, Though
Even people who are a little confused about basic strategy in blackjack understand the logic behind splitting aces. You’ll occasionally run into someone who’s too timid or too under-bankrolled to make the mathematically best choice. If you’re in a helpful mood, you might offer to cover the extra bet for that person at no risk to them. The dealer might or might not allow this. The player might or might not take you up on it.
But if he or she does, it’s a good deal, because you have an excellent chance of getting that 3 to 2 payout for a blackjack.
If you’re counting cards, you might even be in a situation where the deck is rich in 10s. In this case, such a play makes even more sense. That’s the reason card counting works, after all—it measures the ratio of 10s and aces in the deck to the number of lower cards in the deck.
Splitting and Re-Splitting Aces
It’s possible when you split aces to get another ace on top of one or both of your new hands. In that case, if the casino allows it, you should split again. You could easily wind up with 4 hands in play at a time, all of which stand an excellent chance of turning into a blackjack.
Not all casinos allow this, and it’s easy to see why. At many casinos, after you split aces, the casino only lets you take one additional card. If you were to get another ace and not have the option of re-splitting, the casino has you. A total of 12 versus almost any dealer total is a likely loser.
Luckily, that doesn’t come up often enough to worry about it. Just remember that you always split aces, regardless of the dealer’s upcard, and you’ll be fine.
And that’s my explanation of why you should always split aces and 8s when playing blackjack. The dealer’s upcard doesn’t matter in any situation. You’ll either win more money more often or lose less money in the long run.
Splitting aces is an aggressive move that increases your winnings dramatically. Splitting 8s is a defensive move that helps to minimize your long-term losses.
Both are the mathematically correct play.