When should you split in blackjack?

Blackjack is a highly entertaining game, and a favourite with casino players. However, there is a lot of strategy and decision-making that must be applied by players to be successful. From deciding to whether to hit or stand, to choosing whether to take insurance, many situations occur.

Another is deciding whether to split, and here we will give you the lowdown on what to do when you next face the choice on our fantastic blackjack tables.

What does ‘split’ mean in blackjack?

Firstly, it only occurs in certain situations – when you get two of the same valued cards on your initial hand. You are then given the choice to split, which will separate the cards and leave you with two independent bets, so the obvious risk is that you will have doubled your first stake, whilst the benefit is that you stand to double your win if both hands win (or break even if one hand wins and the other loses).

You don’t have to, and if you don’t the hand will continue as normal, but in some cases it can be very beneficial to split.

Here’s when you shouldn’t split

Well, as we know, the aim is to get 21, so obviously if you had two 10s it would be extremely unwise to split. The only way you could possibly improve your hand is with an ace, so it’s clearly not worth the risk, but we’d have hoped you’d know that yourself.

It’s also not wise to split 4s or 5s, because the next card isn’t going to bust you anyway. This means that you’re doubling your bet when there’s no real definite advantage going to arrive, it’s better to continue as you were.

When to split

You should always split when you are dealt a pair of aces
You should always split when you are dealt a pair of aces

On the other hand, when you are given two aces, you should split, and again it’s self-explanatory. They will be worth 12 or two as a pair, (remember they can be worth one or 11) but if you split it gives you a lot more freedom, and a 10 could arrive which would give you the perfect 21.

Another one to split is 8s. That’s because 16 is a relatively weak hand, and if you decide to hit, the odds of going bust are over 60%, so therefore it makes perfect sense to split. That will leave you with two hands where the likelihood of getting closer to 21 is high.

What about the rest?

With 9s, it can depend on what the dealer has. If they boast a higher number then it’s possible that they could beat your 18, therefore you should split. If they hold lower numbers, then it’s better to stand, as they must hit more cards to try and beat your 18, which could leave them bust.

With 6s, there’s only a 30% chance of busting as you would need a 10 or an ace, so there’s little point in splitting, although it’s not a disaster if we do.

The trickiest number to be dealt is two 7s, as 14 is unlikely to win, and there’s an over 50% chance of going bust. Yet, it can be hard to build up from 7, so again it will depend on what the dealer has. If they have an eight or higher, as they’ll win with a 10 or ace. With 2s and 3s, there’s little to lose, but also little to gain, so it’s entirely up to you.

There you have it, splitting is an important part of blackjack, but it can be difficult to know what to do. This guide should help you out, so be sure to follow it. Good luck.