In most versions of Blackjack, when you get a pair of cards (two of the same card), you have the option of splitting the two cards into your two hands. You can add two cards (one card each for each hand) and your bet will be doubled. You play each hand normally – you have two chances to beat the dealer (or lose). Knowing when you should split the twins in blackjack is very important in high-level games. The good news is, since the cards only go up to ten, it's not hard to remember what to do in each situation.
Method 1 of 3: When Should You Split
Step 1. Always do splits on aces
There are certain conditions in blackjack that it always makes sense to split, no matter what the dealer's cards appear to be. For example, you should always split when you have twin aces. Splits can give you a much better chance to strengthen the cards in your hand. Pay attention to the following:
- If you played two aces on just one hand, you would start with a value of 12 (one would be worth 11 and the other would be worth one). You'll only get 21 with a 9-value card. A 10-value card or picture card will let you play your second ace as a one-value card, and you'll be back at 12.
- On the other hand, if you do splits, you have 4 ways to get 21 on "both hands" (when adding 10, J, Q, or K).
Step 2. Always do a split on an eight
In addition to the US, another twin card that blackjack experts use as a benchmark is the twin eight card. It can be difficult to play a good game when you are playing your eight-card twin on only one hand. Your odds won't be so fantastic when you play separately, but mathematically you have better odds. Note the things below:
- Playing both of your eights on one hand you will initially have a value of 16 (a very weak value). At this point it is a very risky plan. Any card that is worth more than 5 will make you lose, you have about a 60% chance of losing your hand from the start.
- On the other hand, if you do a split, it's unlikely that you will lose the first time you add your card, at least you have a better chance of getting a hand.
Step 3. Always re-split an ace or eight if you get a second twin
When you split, the dealer will deal you two cards – one for each hand. If the dealer deals another ace or eight, treat it as one hand and split again.
- Be aware that this method requires you to double your initial bet 3 times (the first split requires you to double your bet).
- The rules in each casino house may differ from one another. Most blackjack games allow you to split a maximum of three times (to play a total of four hand).
Method 2 of 3: When You Shouldn't Split
Step 1. Never do splits on twin 10 cards
This is a common mistake beginners make when playing blackjack. Splitting a 10 is essentially sacrificing a very strong hand for a very small chance at better odds. Note the things below:
- If you play twins of 10, your hand will be worth 20, which is pretty good value. If you split on a 10, you need to get an ace to add to your value – a card other than an ace will only make your hand worth the same or less. Statistically, splitting twin 10 cards will only give you two hands that are worth less than the previous hand.
- Some card counting experts suggest separating 10 cards only in certain situations. For example: if you're counting cards and know that there are still 10s left in the pile, it would make more sense to split 10 against a dealer showing a 5 or 6 (suggesting a weak hand). That way, you have a more reasonable chance of getting at least a card worth 20, while the dealer will have to rely on luck to match or beat you.
Step 2. Never do a split on a twin card 4
Splitting a twin of 4 will only give you two weak hands, and this makes absolutely no sense. Keep in mind that splitting requires you to double your initial bet – meaning, splitting 4 twin cards will usually only cost you your money.
If you add a pair of twin 4s, there's no way you'll lose – the highest value you can get is 19 if you get an ace, which is a pretty decent hand. If you split your 4's, all that's left is a hand of less value (if you get a 2 or 3) or a hand that allows you to lose when you add cards (if you get an eight or higher). You need to get five, six, or seven to make your situation better than it was before
Step 3. Never do splits on twin 5 cards
When you see a 5's twin, forget it's a twin and think of them as a single card that's worth 10. A double down on 10 can go against anything but the dealer's 9, 10 or ace. For these three possibilities, just add a card.
Splitting quints is like splitting quads, even worse – you're giving up a strong starting hand for very low odds when you could have had better odds. With quintuplets, you will not lose and you have the opportunity to get 21 when you add your first card. If you do a split, all you have left in your hand are weak cards (if you get two, three, or four) and/or hands that might lose when you add cards (if you get six or more). There's really no way out for you if you split the quints
Method 3 of 3: When Doing Splits Is Sometimes a Good Idea
Step 1. Split twins, triplets, or sevens if the dealer shows a seven or lower card
The examples in the section above are absolute rules that should rarely be broken (if ever). For other twin cards, the best course of action usually depends on the card shown by the dealer. For example, twins, triplets, and sevens should be separated when the dealer shows relatively low cards. If the dealer shows a card of eight or higher, simply add a card.
some sources recommend splitting doubles and triplets (but don't recommend sevens) when the dealer shows an eight
Step 2. Split hexagons when the dealer shows cards two through six. If the dealer shows seven or more, just add a card. Mathematically, you're more likely to beat a weak dealer's hand if you split your hexagons. If the dealer tends to have a strong hand, the best bet is simply to add cards and strengthen your hand – you will only lose if you get a 10 or a picture card.
Step 3. Split twin nines against cards two through six, eight, and nine. If the dealer shows a seven, ten, or ace, don't add a card – instead, just stand (no more cards). Adding a card with a value of 18 is tantamount to suicide by exceeding the limit. Anything other than a two or three card will cost you.
- Play blackjack using strategy rather than relying on hunches, luck or guesswork. Blackjack offers a lower house edge (percentage of house/casino profit margin) than other games, so if you think about it carefully, this game is your best chance to make money at the casino.
- Note that some casino house rules require that you treat any combination of aces or picture cards you get after splitting as just a regular 21, not a blackjack.