When To Split in Blackjack | LeoVegas

When To Split In Blackjack


Always split:

  • Aces: You have a high chance of making 21 twice.
  • Eights: Starting with an 8 can easily lead to a good finishing total.

Sometimes split:

  • Twos, threes, or sevens: If the dealer shows a seven or lower.
  • Sixes: If the dealer shows a two to six.
  • Nines: If the dealer shows a two to six, eight, or nine.

Never split:

  • Tens: This is a strong starting hand that you’ll only weaken by splitting it.
  • Fours: The most you can get is 19, a decent total.
  • Fives: This is a strong starting hand that you’ll only weaken by splitting it.

It's perhaps no surprise that online blackjack continues to be regarded as one of the most popular card games around the world for gamblers. There are numerous reasons why blackjack has endured over the centuries, despite the advent of many other engaging games.

Primarily, many consider blackjack's rules to be easy to learn, which is obviously a major advantage for any novice. However, the excitement comes from the fact that every action has strategic repercussions.

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Of course, learning the game is a necessary first step, but it's not the only thing you need to think about if you want to win. When playing blackjack, knowing when to split is crucial.

The blackjack split bet is a powerful weapon in the blackjack player who's arsenal in the battle against the dealer. Read on to learn when to split in blackjack and why it makes sense as a strategic tool.


What Does Split Mean in Blackjack?

Firstly, you may be asking, “what is a split in blackjack?”. Well, in order to explain, you’ll first need to understand the game’s rules. Essentially, when a player receives a hand that has two cards with the same value, they may choose to "split" the hand into two new hands.

When this happens, players receive an extra card for each of their hands and have the option to raise their wagers on the improved combination. While you can bet less on a double down, you must only split for the exact amount of your original bet. If done correctly, splitting pairings can yield significant benefits for the player.

Blackjack Split Rules

There are some important blackjack split rules you must keep in mind if you’re looking to use this useful tool in your gameplay. Here are a few:

  • The dealer is never allowed to split, so it is exclusively a thing for the player.
  • When splitting, the two cards must be of equal value, and you must do it for the same amount you wagered.
  • It's acceptable to use two fingers to indicate a split, or to push out additional chips of equal value to the original wager.
  • Stick to the house rule whenever an Ace is divided.
  • When splitting an Ace, you get only one hit.
  • You can only split cards if they have a similar rank. If you have two 10s, you can split them, but if you have a Queen and a Jack, you can't split.

The rules for splitting in the blackjack games might vary widely from one variant to the next, so it's important to familiarise yourself with what’s applicable to your variant before you start playing. The criteria for splitting are sometimes set by casinos themselves.

There are blackjack variants where you can only split 10s if they have the same rank. For example, in blackjack hands if you have a pair of Jacks and a Queen with a Jack, you can split the pair of Jacks but not the Queen and Jack pair.

Blackjack Split Strategy Charts

The best way to learn the guidelines for when to split is to use a basic split strategy chart. The basic strategy rules are simply listed in a grid with corresponding colours to facilitate quick reference on the chart or sheets. A blackjack split chart will also account for variations in the number of decks in use, as that also affects the game’s turnout. There are also different splitting strategies based on whether or not doubling down after pair splitting is supported by the casino.

When You Should Always Split

In blackjack, whether you are allowed to split pairs is typically determined by your first two cards, the house rules, and the dealer's up card. Thus, there may be some cases in which a split pair is preferable. Some of the times when a split makes sense are as follows:

  • Always split Aces: The huge potential value of a pair of Aces makes splitting them an attractive option. Since an Ace can count as either 1 or 11, this pair can be used to make a two or a soft 12 when playing with just two hands. With two Aces, the number of 10-point cards is fairly high, making split-hand play much more advantageous. Bear in mind, however, that some blackjack tables support only one hit after an Ace split.
  • Always split an 8: If you have an 8, it is nearly always better to split it than to play it through, according to basic strategy. When you have a hand of 16, you're fairly far from winning, and you're taking a big risk by hitting because any card higher than a 5 will bust your hand. If you have a pair of 8s, you can't go bust on your first hit, so splitting them is a surefire way to increase your odds of winning. Remember that continuing with an 8 is still dangerous, particularly if the dealer's upcard is an ace, and that splitting this pair will help reduce some of the long-term impacts on your wallet.
  • Always split a 9 (unless the dealer shows a seven): Split 9s when the dealer shows any upcard but not a 7. Knowing that you shouldn't forgo your 18 for a dealer's 17 will help you retain this crucial information.
  • Split 2s, 3s, and 7s: If the dealer's upcard is between 2 and 7, you should split any of these hands.

When You Should Never Split

Knowing when to keep your hand is almost twice as much money crucial as understanding when to split. Not every pair should be split, as this could weaken your winning chances. Here are situations where you should never split:

  • Two 10s: It's usual for beginners to make the error of splitting 10s. The wisest play if you are dealt a pair of 10s is to hold on to them since a total of 20 is a solid beginning hand. Splitting and hitting make it difficult to strengthen your hand.
  • Two 5s: The sum of two 5s is 10. With this combination, doubling down is way easier than if you were to split and hit (if the casino allows doubling down after a split). You can't go bust with these cards, and you have a good chance of making 20 or 21 right from the bat. It's never a smart idea to split a pair of fives since you'll end up with a weaker hand.
  • Two 4s: For two 4s, use the same approach you would for dividing 5s. Splitting a pair of fours increases your chances of making two weak hands. To avoid going bust as quickly, it's best to play with a hand of eight points or higher.

When You Should Consider Dealers' Cards

The dealer's card also plays a role in determining whether or not you choose to split. If you want to win against the dealer, you need to start by looking at their weak hand first. Let's examine a few scenarios in which splitting up is the best option.

If the dealer is showing two through seven cards and you have a pair of 2s, 3s, or 7s, you are not in a great starting position, as the numbers 4, 6, and 14 are often considered to be bad hands. As a result, you should consider splitting them, especially if the dealer also has split ace or a low card. That way, you'll have the opportunity to make two good hands instead of just one bad one.

If the dealer's up card is between 2 and 6 and you hold a pair of 6s, you can beat them by waiting for them to go bust. Blackjack strategy dictates that if you have a set of sixes and the dealer has a poor hand, you should split and hope that the dealer's ace also goes bust so that you can make two blackjack hands that could add up to 16.

When you hold a pair of 9s and the dealer shows 2 to 9, what do you do? There are circumstances in which it could make sense to split a pair of 9s, such as if the dealer appears to be ready to go, dealer busts, or obtain a strong hand.

Blackjack Split FAQ

Why do you split in blackjack?

The primary benefit of a split is that you have twice as much cash on the table, which is useful if the dealer is showing signs of weakness. A player can improve a terrible hand by splitting it into two separate hands, each of which has much more money and a better chance of winning.

When do you split 10s in blackjack?

If you have two 10s, do not split them unless they are of the same value. For example, you may choose to double split if you have two Jacks.

Should you always split in blackjack?

In blackjack, you can create two new hands out of any pair dealt pairs of identical cards. This may not be the wisest course of action, though. Check both your hands and those of the dealers to determine if it makes sense to split your pairs.

What cards should you always split in blackjack?

You should always split Aces and 8s when you get either pair as your initial cards.

What is the best pair to split in blackjack?

Aces and 8s are the best pairs to split; however, depending on the circumstances, splitting other pairs may also be beneficial.

Do you split two eights in blackjack?

The first rule of every splitting strategy is to split eights. Basic blackjack strategy suggests that splitting aces into eights is almost always better than playing the hand.

Should I split 10s in blackjack?

In most cases, you should not split two tens.

What card should you never split in blackjack?

The card you should never split in blackjack is a pair of 10s.

Do you split 7s against 10?

You can split hands if the dealer's hand total is lower than 7.

Do you split 2s against a 2?

Similar to counting cards ( 7s, splitting pairs against the dealer's low value face cards ( 2 to 7) can give you an advantage.

Learn about other blackjack strategies in our guides: