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Blackjack splitting

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What is Blackjack splitting and when should you do it?

Pair splitting in blackjack is one of the things that make the game fun to play. Whenever you get a pair (two cards of same value), you are allowed to "split" them and to play two separate hands.

When you split, you have to add a new bet equal to your original bet as you are now playing two hands at once. The dealer will give you two new cards, one to complete each hand, and you are now all set to play each new hand normally.

Ok, so except that it is fun, what is the point of splitting pairs? As always in blackjack, it is a matter of statistical expectation. There are situations when you should go for splitting your pair, but there are other situations when it is a very bad idea to split as this choice has negative expectation. Knowing when to split is part of basic strategy.

Pair splitting strategy

There are cases when it is quite obvious that you should not split, such as a pair of tens. No matter what the dealer has, 20 is such a good score, it is always bad to take a chance by splitting. Similarly if you have a pair of fives totaling ten, it is much better to use the doubling down option than to split. Never split TT or 55.

Conversely if you have a pair of aces, it is quite clear as well that splitting is the way to go as it is great to have one ace in your hand. Likewise if you have a pair of eights, your score is the worse possible at 16 and you should always split. Always split AA or 88.

Another interesting case is a pair of fours under the standard rules. You should always hit a pair of 4s.

The above five cases are easier to remember as they do not depend on what the dealer's cards are. The other five pairs depend on the dealer's hand and a little memorization is required.

If you have a low pair like 2s, 3s, 6s or 7s, you should split unless the dealer has 8 or higher, in which case hitting is the safer route. You should also hit a pair of sixes if the dealer has a seven.

Finally the pair of nines. You will mostly split them, as having a nine is a great first card to have. The exception is if the dealer as seven, ten or an ace, in which case you will stand.

Note that after splitting, you can get as many cards as you want except if you have a pair of aces. With aces you only get one more card.

Remember these basic rules to split pairs optimally. Visit one of the best online casinos for blackjack and practice what you just learned about pair splitting.


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Good Luck at the blackjack tables.