Splitting In Blackjack

Blackjack Splitting

Here at Slot Boss, our speciality is slots, but we also have a very soft spot for our live casino games where the likes of Poker, Blackjack and Roulette live. This is why our expert has set out to dissect every section of one of the greatest casino games of all time and provide our players with tricks, tips and strategies to having a successful Blackjack experience. A successful Blackjack experience can be a result of many different aspects, the fact of the matter is that in reality, as long as there is a 0.1% chance of something coming off, it can happen. So as we dictate the mathematics of Blackjack, bear in mind that your experiences might not replicate ours. Blackjack is a game of probability and chance, not certainties.

What is Splitting?

That brings us onto our sub-section topic, which is splitting. Splitting is where players are given a chance to split a pair and create two hands instead of one, using one of the cards provided in each hand. If you decide to take a second hand, you'll double your wager, which doubles your winning potential but also doubles your potential losses.

When Can You Split? Why Should You Split?

Players can split whenever two cards of the same value are dealt in your initial hand. To split, players must double their wager. This begs the question of why do players split? Realistically, it depends on the player. Some players will split simply because the opportunity of winning double outweighs the risk of losing double, no matter what cards they hold. This is the wrong approach and something we definitely hope you avoid. Other players calculate the risks and know exactly what hands give them a substantial chance of winning double rather than losing or breaking even. This is how you should be thinking whilst playing our casino games. In our opinion, these are the top three reasons to split:

1. Win Double or Possibly Quadruple Your Money

Splitting is one of the only ways in Blackjack to increase your stake during the game. If players split, they begin to play two hands at once and have the opportunity to win both hands, no hands or one hand. This means that players will either win double their money, lose their money or break even. If you look at the dealer's up card and believe you have the advantage, push for the bigger win, as you may not get a better chance.

2. Your Best Chance of Shifting RTP & the House Edge

In order to keep any casino sustainable, there must be an RTP under 100% and a house edge. Online casinos tend to have a smaller house edge but it still exists. The best way of pushing the house edge closer to your favour is by doubling down and splitting, but the most important thing is making that decision when you're likely to win. There is no point in splitting on a pair of 2’s when the dealer's card is 10, as you're very likely to lose all of your stake.

3. Watching the Dealer's Hand

If you're looking to win by doubling down and splitting, you must pay attention to the dealer's hand. The up card will demonstrate exactly what you should do with your hand. Lower down in this article you can find information about when you should split each type of pair. There are some hands which you always should split, some which you should never split and some that vary on the dealer's hand. The cards that vary are the ones that can make or break your Blackjack experience.

Rules of Splitting

If you're looking for a full set of Blackjack rules, we recommend checking out our blog that answers the question - What are the rules of Blackjack?. However, if you're simply looking for the rules for splitting, these will vary from casino to casino. The rule that differs the most is the option to double down after splitting - some casinos allow it, some do not. Here at Slot Boss, it depends on the game that you play, but for the most part, players are allowed to double down after splitting. Here are four rules to look out for when checking a game page:

In some casinos, you may only be allowed to split 10-value cards if they're the same. Players may split a pair of kings but not a king and a jack. After splitting, doubling down and further splits may be prohibited. If players split and land a Blackjack, this may be regarded as 21 rather than Blackjack. Players may only hit once if they split aces.

Be sure to check out the information page of the Blackjack game you're playing for any potential rule changes. Alternatively, if you're looking for information on doubling down in Blackjack, be sure to check out our blog - How to double down in Blackjack.

Best Blackjack hands to Split: Aces & Eights

If you've played Live Poker in the past, you'll be very aware of the term Aces & Eights. That is what makes this strategy extremely easy to remember; players should always split a pair of aces and should always split a pair of eights. Why? Because if you have a pair of aces, your chances of winning are at their peak, with more 10-value cards in the deck than any other value. You also have a decent chance of winning if you land an 8 or a 9, meaning that unless the dealer lands a great hand, you have a 6/13 chance of landing a hand with a value of 19 or more and 4/13 chance of landing 21.

Eights are slightly more complicated than aces, but at the same time, quite simple. If you have a pair of Eights, you will be playing with a total of 16, which in most cases - unless the dealer has a 5 up-card - is unlikely to win. So, the common sense approach is to give yourself a bigger chance of winning. With the second card you want to avoid totals between 12-16, so anything except 4-8 is significantly better than what you had, with a 9/13 chance of bettering your chances of winning. In Blackjack, 9/13 could be the best odds you will see.

Good Blackjack Splitting Hands: 9's and 6's

When doing our research, we found out that 9's and 6's were the second and third most wrongly split hands in Blackjack, which wasn't a surprise, but we thought a few different pairs might have taken their spot. The reason this makes a lot of sense is that what the player should do vastly depends on the dealer's up-card. For example: If the dealer has a 10, you shouldn't split because statistically, you have a very poor chance of victory. Here is a table with what you should do with a pair of 9's depending on the dealer’s up-card.

Dealer's Up Card Decision Reason
Ace Stand Dealer will likely end up with a high total, so don't take the risk
Two-Six Split Dealer needs 17+ and is likely to go bust. The higher the dealer's number, the better the odds
Seven Stand Dealer needs 17; you're in a good position with your current cards. Could be worth splitting
Ten Hit Dealer is unlikely to go bust and in most situations will win here

The Method for 6's is very similar to that of 9's, they are:

Dealer's Up Card Decision Reason
Ace Hit The dealer will likely get a good total, you'll need higher than 16
Two-Six Split Dealer needs 17+ and is likely to go bust. The higher the dealer's number, the better the odds
Seven-Ten Hit Players will likely need more than 16 to win

Average Hands to Split: 7's, 9's and 10's

If you have a pair of 7's, 9's or 10's, the temptation to split will be very high and in some situations, players should do this. However, these two rules apply for all three totals.

Dealer's Up Card Decision Reason
Ace Hit The dealer will likely get a good total, you'll need a high score
Two-Six Split The dealer will need to hit to get another total. Bust is likely

If the dealer has 7 or more, this can make a difference to the strategy. These are our strategies for the three numbers.

If the dealer has above 8 and the player has a pair of 7’s. Hit If the dealer has a 10-value card and the player has anything less than 10’s. Hit If the player’s pair has an average higher than the dealer’s up card - Split

Bad Blackjack Hands to Split: Anything below 6

If the player has a pair valued below 6’s, then in our opinion you should hit, as it will likely take more than two cards to make a winning combination. While with 5’s or 6’s you have a good chance to win in most situations, 4’s and below may cause some problems, but that is just the luck of the draw on this occasion.