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Splitting in blackjack: When and when not to do it

When you’re playing blackjack, your goal is to have a 21-valued card hand without going over. However, as your hand grows in value to get 21, your chances of going over it and busting grows as well. Fortunately, you can split your big-value hand to avoid this. However, there are certain events when splitting places the odds better in your favour and there are times when it should be avoided.

Know the right time of splitting or not splitting your blackjack card hand by reading through this article.

What is splitting in blackjack?

Before knowing when to split or not, you have to know what it means first. Splitting in blackjack is an action you can do when you get a pair of similar-numbered cards that is then divided into two separate hands. Once the division is made, you place a wager equal to your first bet on the new hand.

Why do bettors split card hands in blackjack? 

Bettors split their hands to better their chances of winning by playing two hands in one round or stopping a busted hand outcome that loses the round. 

When to split in blackjack

Choosing to split your card hands can make or break your game since it can change a weak hand into a good one. However, when is the right time to do it? 

Find out the times when splitting is the right choice below:

When you receive a pair of Aces

In blackjack, Ace cards are valued at either 11 or 1, depending on if your hand will bust or not. So when you receive a pair of Aces, your hand is valued at 12. This is a low-value hand that you should split immediately. Splitting the cards better your chances of getting a natural or close to it since you’ll have low chances of busting and all you’ll need for a blackjack is a 10. 

For example, you receive a pair of Aces and split them. Afterwards, you choose to hit for both hands and receive a 9 and 10. Your first hand then becomes a 20-valued hand while the second becomes a blackjack. You then received a prize for both hands wagered. 

Though this kind of luck is not assured, you get closer to getting a high-valued hand by splitting your Aces. 

When you receive a pair of Eights

A pair of 8 add up to 16. This means that any drawn card over 5 will lead to a bust. And even if you do get a card lower than 5, your hand is still weak. Though you can still try your luck, the risk is high should you choose to hit with a 16-valued card hand. So when you receive this card hand value, you have better winning chances if you split up the card pair. 

When not to split in blackjack

While choosing the right time to split can be the key to your success, there are times when proceeding with your dealt pair is the better choice. 

Below are the instances when you should not split in blackjack: 

When you receive a 5-pair card hand

Having a pair of fives is great since it will lead you to a 10-valued card. This is an ideal value since there’s a low risk of going bust and whichever card you receive next can only get you closer to 21. Here, you can either hit for more cards or if the mechanics allow it, double down (double your bet for your current hand and get another card) if you think you have high chances of winning and want to increase your payout.

So whenever you get a pair of fives, keep this pair together and keep on hitting until you receive your desired results.  

When you receive a 4-pair card hand

A pair of fours is a great hand since it creates an 8-valued hand that’s almost impossible to bust even if you receive a high-valued card such as 10 or an Ace. 

Additionally, splitting this pair is not ideal since your chances of hitting and receiving a high-valued card are low. Even if you do receive one, the highest value you can get is 15, giving the dealer the chance to create a better hand. 

When you receive a 9 or 10-pair card hand 

A 9-pair hand (valued at 18) or a 10-pair hand (valued at 20) are excellent hands to have in blackjack since these are the closest values you can get to 21. And even if you don’t land a blackjack, the dealer only has a slim chance of getting a higher hand than you, so it’s best not to split them. Instead, stand and hold on to your high chance of winning.

Disadvantages of splitting

Splitting is an excellent way to win a blackjack game. However, this process also comes with some disadvantages when used since blackjack is a chance-based game. You can still lose even if you split on the most ideal situations.

For example, since you’ll have two hands after splitting, this also means that you could lose twice as much as well. 

This is why for many seasoned blackjack players, it’s never ideal to always split your current pair. So whenever you’re deciding whether or not to split your cards, follow the tips above since they’re calculated risks. 

Though as mentioned before, success isn’t assured when you follow the tips above, just making the odds better in your favour. Meaning, it’s still possible for you to lose the round even if you’ve followed the tips above. 

Fortunately, this also means you can still win even if you’ve accidentally made the mistake of splitting (or not splitting) your current hand. So trust your instincts or follow the tips in this article and split in blackjack should you think it’s the wise decision to do so.

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