Splitting your Hand in Blackjack

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Frequently Asked Questions on "Splitting" in blackjack:

Q. When can I split in blackjack?

A. You can split when your cards match each other and sometimes when the cards are equal in value. Some casinos allow you to split any two face cards even if they don't match each other.

Q. How do I split? How do I let the dealer know I want to split my cards?

A. Wait until it is your turn to verbally tell the dealer "Splitting" or "I want to split these". The dealer will ask you to place an identical bet next to your original bet, and he will physically separate the cards from each other to form two hands for you. He will also separate the original bet and the split bet and put them next to each hand.

NOTE: At a land based casino, it is very important that you do not touch your cards. I also suggest not putting your hands or chips around your original bet.

    Blackjack splitting example
When playing blackjack online the split option appears only when your cards match.
Screenshots taken while playing at Rome Casino
 

 

Q. What does splitting mean?

A. When you split your cards, you double your current bet and will now have two separate hands to play against the dealer. Each of theses hands will have one card and one bet, as seen below.

Blackjack-splitting-pictures
Here is an example of a split blackjack hand. You can see the two separate bets and hands after splitting.

Q. Can I double down after I split my cards? What about splitting again?

A. Most of the time, yes for both. When I split my cards, I am hoping for a double down chance. Here are some exceptions.

1. If you split Aces, most casinos will only deal you one more card for each hand and not
let you hit, split, or double down no matter what cards you are dealt.
2. Some online casinos do not let you split or double down after you have already split.

Q. When should I split my hand?

A. Like doubling down, splitting in blackjack is often misunderstood and misused. You do not have to split your hands every time they match, nor should you. To simplify this, here are some general guidelines to follow:

1. Always split Aces and 8's

2. Never Split 5's and 10's (10's include face cards)

3. Always Split 2's and 3's when the dealer shows 4, 5, 6, or 7

4. Always Split 6's when the dealer shows 3, 4, 5, or 6

5. Always Split 7's when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7

6. Always Split 9's when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 or 9 (NOT 7)

 

If you can double after you split, then you can add the following:

1. Split 2's and 3's if the dealer is showing a 2 or 3

2. Split 4's if the dealer is showing a 5 or 6

3. Split 6's if the dealer is showing a 2

 

Strategy card for splitting

Basic strategy chart for splitting in blackjack

Never Split 10s Under Any Circumstances!

Last but not least among pairs, and the pros and cons of splitting them, are the 10s. I have one thought to pass along to you: Never, never split 10s under any circumstances! It doesn’t matter if you’re playing Blackjack at a table or a game of Online Blackjack. Never, never split 10s under any circumstances! Period.

This isn’t open to discussion, either by card counters or mind readers.

I’ve heard that certain Online Blackjack books say there are times when you should split 10s. Baloney! I know of no card counters who practice this move.

When you have two 10s, you’re in great shape. You’re almost a cinch to win the hand. In fact, you can be darned sure of winning approximately 83% of the time. That’s five out of 6 hands. Terrific odds.

Do you want to clear a table of good Online Blackjack players in a hurry? Split 10s. It is probably considered the most foolish move in the casino and good players will run from a table when somebody does it.

Re-Splitting Is a Powerful Tool

All casinos in Las Vegas allow splitting after a split. This is not so in Atlantic City. Those casinos offer doubling after a split, which interestingly is not allowed in most Las Vegas casinos at this time.

Suppose you were in Atlantic City and dealt a 4 against the dealer’s up card of 6. By sliding another chip on the board, you can split the 4s. If the dealer gives you a 6 on that first 4, you put another chip in action and double that 10 against the dealer’s 6.

You’re getting maximum chips at risk when the dealer is bobbing and weaving, which is a key move when you play blackjack.

But back up to where you split those 4s. Let’s say you called for a double down bet, but the dealer gave you another four. Here’s where re-splitting comes in, which is right now only allowed in Las Vegas.

Since the four was the same value as your split cards, you can now re-split again. You now have three hands of 4-4-4.

If another 4 shows, you can again put a chip up to signify an additional split hand. Keep in mind that some Las Vegas casinos only allow two extra splits, but that’s a house rule that varies from place-to-place, depending on where you play blackjack.

In any event, now you have four hands of which each is starting with a 4, and if your next card is an Ace, 5, 6, or 7 giving you soft 15, 9, 10, or 11, you may now double against the dealer’s weak 6 in some places.

Re-splitting is a powerful tool when you play blackjack, especially where you can double after a split and where you have Surrender. It allows you to get maximum money in play against the dealer’s weak up card.

If a house allows re-splitting but no double after a split, go somewhere else to play blackjack. You’ll find casinos that allow re-splitting and doubling after a re-split and Surrender.

That’s where you should play blackjack.


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  Screenshot of splitting a hand of blackjack  
     

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