Guide To Splitting In Blackjack
Guide To Splitting In Blackjack
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One of the most exciting aspects of blackjackis that we are sometimes presented with a chance to add to our original wager.

When we get the opportunity to double down or split, it is critical that we make the right decision.  We will have multiples of our usual bet riding on the outcome.

Sometimes with splits and double after splits,we may find that we have four or five times our average bet riding on one roundof cards, so it’s important to know what you should do.

WhatIs Splitting In Blackjack?

When you have two of the same cards, like a pair of 4s or 8s, you are allowed to split the pair and play them like two separate hands.

When splitting, you can only split for thesame amount as your original wager, unlike double downs, where you can betless.

We will go into greater detail about theproper playing of each pair below but if you don’t wish to learn the entirebasic strategy, the simplest way to play is:

  • Always split Aces and 8s.
  • Never split 10s.
  • Only split 4s if you are allowedto double on split hands.


Only players can split, never the dealer. Youmust have two of the same value cards. You must split for the same amount ofmoney as your original wager.

To signal a split, you can point at your betwith two fingers, or simply push out an equal amount of chips to your firstwager. The dealer will know your intentions.

BlackjackBasic Strategy For Splitting

Fortunately, the basic strategy for splits is simpleand straightforward.

There are some house rules that we will discuss a little later that slightly alter our decisions, but for most blackjack games, you should follow these basic rules when dealt pairs.


Fun fact, in blackjack, all 10-value cards aresplittable.

This means you don’t need to wait to be dealta Jack and another Jack. You could, in theory, split your King and Queen, oryour 10 and Jack.

You shouldn’t, but you could.

20 is a great hand. Yes, several more 20smight also be great, and if the dealer has a 5 or 6 up, perhaps you might betempted to get more money on the layout.

But the math is clear. Stick with the bird inyour hand, don’t go gunning for the one in the bush.

Should you decide to split your 10s, you mayhear – over the groans of your fellow players – the dealer calling out“splitting 10s.”

This is because card counters know that a deck rich in 10s does mean that you should split 10s.

Dealers call this out to their floor peoplefor management to determine if you are a complete novice or someone they needto watch closely.

Pair of 9s

Basic strategy says split 9s against anydealer upcard, except for 7s.

This is easily remembered by the fact that youdon’t want to give up your 18 against a possible dealer 17.

Is it hard to split 9s against a dealer 10 or Ace?

Yes, but again, we have to trust the math.

Pair of Aces or 8s

These two pairs are often heard together, aswe will always split Aces or 8s no matter what the dealer turns up.

It’s important to note that Aces are usuallyonly allowed one card each, and a 10 card dealt to a split Ace is 21, not blackjack.

All other pairs can be split up to four hands.

Pair of 7s, 3s or 2s

If you have any of these pairs, you’ll want tosplit if the dealer has 2 through 7 for an upcard.

Otherwise, just hit.

Pair of 6s or 4s

If you have either pair, you will want tosplit if the dealer has a 2 through 6 as an upcard.

Otherwise hit.

Pair of 5s

With a total of 10, it is much better todouble a pair of 5s than split. You should double this pair against 2 through 9;otherwise, just hit.

And that’s it.

That’s the basic strategy for splitting pairsin four through eight decks, where you can double after split.

These rules should work on over 90% of thegames you come across. Most of the other rules don’t change the strategy much.

What To Do When You Encounter A NoDouble After Split Rule

Some casinos have tweaked the rules so thatyou aren’t allowed to double after splitting.

While this adds 14% to the house edge, it can cost them business. And because of that, it’s not a rule change that you see all that often.

Should you come across this rule, it might bebest just to find another casino. But if it’s the only one around for 100miles, then you will want to make a couple of changes on pair splitting.

Pair of 2s and 3s

With either of these pairs, you should now onlysplit on 4 through 7. Just hit against a dealer’s 2 or 3.

Pair of 4s

If you can’t double after split with your pairof 4s, only split against 2 through 4.

Hit against a dealer’s 5 or higher.

Pair of 6s

With a pair of 6s, we will hit against a dealer’s2 and split against 3 through 6, then hit again against any dealer’s up cardhigher than 6.

Double Deck

If you’re only playing against two decks andnot against a shoe, you only have a couple of changes to strategy.

You should now split against a dealer’s 2through 7 upcard with a pair of 6s. And if you have a pair of 7s, be a bitbolder and split against a dealer’s 2 through 8.

Suppose this game doesn’t allow double aftersplits.

In that case, use the same rules as we justwent over for no double after splits and forgetting about splitting 6s againsta 7 or splitting 7s against a dealer’s 8.


While not a common rule, it can still be foundin some places.

Just for the sake of completeness, we willcover the one slight basic strategy deviation when surrenderis offered.

Regardless of the number of decks, and only ingames where the dealer hits soft 17, you should surrender your pair of 8sagainst a dealer’s Ace.


This should cover all the likely blackjackrules you are likely to encounter.

Remember: Using this basic strategy for pair splitting is essential because it can help you get more money, often much more money, on the layout when the odds are in your favor.

So it’s best to stick with it wheneverpossible.

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