In blackjack, splitting cards is when you are dealt two of the same cards. You “split” them into two new hands. Because of this, you will play each card as a separate hand.
Example of what splitting cards mean
If you are dealt a pair of threes and made a bet of ten dollars and decide to split, you will have to bet another ten dollars. The dealer will treat each three as a separate hand, and you will win or lose based on each hand. You can lose on both hands, win on both hands, or win on one and lose on one.
Why should you split your cards in Blackjack
The main reason you would split your hand is to increase your winnings and your chance of winning. It is also to help improve a weak hand and make it stronger. On the other side, when you split cards there is a chance you will lose but that can happen even if you do not split.
Common rules of splitting your cards
Although every casino may have its own rules on splitting cards, all casinos use some common ones.
- Aces cannot be re-split
- When splitting aces you only get one extra card
- On all split hands you can double down and hit as you would with a regular hand
- You are allowed to split two times
- You can split 10=value cards that are not identical
When you should split your cards while playing Blackjack
Aces – you should split them, no matter what the dealer shows. This is a very popular hand in which to split. Doing so will give you a better chance of getting at least one strong hand. If you decide not to split aces then your hand becomes a 12. One ace is played as a one while the other is played as an 11. The only way you can get 21 is to get a nine. If you are dealt a 10-value card, the aces will return to have a value of one each so you still have a 12. If you decide to split the aces, it will give you four ways to get 21 with either hand.
Eights – it is hard to get a good hand if you decide not to split your eights but neither is splitting them although you will stand a better chance of winning at least one hand. If you play them as one hand, you automatically have a 16 so anything over a five will cause you to bust. If you split them, you do not have a chance on busting on the first card, giving you a chance of getting a stronger hand and maybe winning.
If after splitting your eights or aces and you are dealt another pair of either, then split them again. The downside of this is that instead of doubling your bet you are tripling it but the payouts can be worth it.
When not to split your cards
Tens – you should never split 10’s as you have a value of 20 so there is a strong chance of winning unless the dealer gets 21. If you decide to split them, you will need to get an ace to improve your hand. Technically speaking if you split 10’s you are most likely to have two worse hands. There are two types of blackjack players who will split 10’s, which are the pro who knows the game and the one who does not understand the strategies for playing blackjack
Fours – when you split these two cards it gives you two weak hands and because you have to double your bet doing this is generally a money-losing deal. Remember if you hit on a pair of fours, it is impossible to bust but you can improve your chances of getting a 19 if your next card is an ace.
Fives – if you are dealt two fives do not see them as separate cards but as a 10 so it is advisable to double down unless the dealer has an ace, nine, or 10-value cards.
When to split depending on the dealer’s hand
Sevens, twos, or threes – you should split if the dealer’s upcard is a seven or less but if it is more then take a hit.
Sixes – they should only be split when the dealer has an up card from two to six but take a hit if it is more. Looking at it from a mathematic point, you are more likely to beat a dealer if he has a weak hand.
Nines – only split nines if the dealer’s upcard is eight, nine, or two through six. Anything else you should just stand on the 18 you were given because if you ask for a hit you need a three or less to not bust.
Summary of the basic strategy to split cards in Blackjack
When you look at your cards and decide to split them, you wait until it is your turn and then tell the dealer that you want to split the cards, and put an identical bet next to your original one. Do not put it on top of the other. The dealer needs to see both bets. At this time, the dealer will separate your cards into two hands and place a bet beside each hand. One important thing to remember is that at no time do you touch your cards. You should also not put your hands around the original bet. Seeing any of this could constitute you are cheating or trying to cheat. If you can remember these simple strategy rules for playing blackjack and splitting cards there is a better chance of you winning. When you play blackjack, it is not so much a game of luck, although it plays a part in it, the strategy and skill are what can help you win your hand and win bigger pots. Always check the casino’s rules on splitting as some may have different rules. So enjoy your game of blackjack, play smart, and you have a bigger chance of walking out of the casino a winner.