Blackjack is one of the most appreciated games in any gambling establishment. Due to its ease of play and prevalence in gambling venues, blackjack is many players’ go-to game. Casinos take full advantage of this fact and find creative ways to advertise blackjack to its customers. After poker, which is the most popular card game worldwide, blackjack is the second most common form of card entertainment.
A big reason for the game’s popularity is that players can use strategies and skills to improve their chances of winning, rather than just relying on luck. Some people choose to create probability tables.
Even if they don’t win big, they can at least feel as if they have some influence over the game’s outcome. If a player is willing to take the time to learn how to count cards, they can greatly increase their probability of winning. All it takes is a little practice in blackjack split to gain an advantage over the house.
Splitting a pair, on the other hand, gives you the power beat the dealer and double your win. When dealt two cards that are the same, you have the option to split into two new blackjack hand. Knowing the basic strategy of when to use blackjack double down and splitting a pair would give you a significant advantage against the dealer. In blackjack, the standard rule is that if the player is dealt a pair of identically ranked initial cards, known as a pair, the player is allowed to split them into separate hands and ask for a new second card for each while placing a full initial bet identical to the original wager with each.
A Bit of History
Before you learn how to split in blackjack, let’s take a step back. Nobody knows exactly when or where blackjack originated, due to the lack of relevant historical documents. Some experts have speculated that it first became popular in France. Back then, it wasn’t originally called blackjack.
Rather, its name was «Vingt et Un» which translates to «Twenty-One». Regardless of the game’s name, its goal was the same. The main purpose was to gain the right amount of points, and not to bust.
Until the 19th century, the game did not really go through any significant changes. However, when the French migrants moved to New Orleans, they took the card game with them. Twenty-One became hugely known in the US, and it underwent quite a few changes.
In the US, rather than keeping the game’s original name, players changed it to “blackjack.” This name references the best possible combination: a player can get in the game a pair of Jack of Spades and Ace of Spades.
An interesting fact is that many blackjack terms were actually taken from the world of baseball. For instance, the player sitting on the left side is on the first base, while the person on the right sits on the third base. The third base player is in a position that makes it easier to count cards. Thus, they have an advantage over the casino.
Famous Blackjack Players
Now, let’s look at the two most influential people throughout the game’s history. The first one is Don Johnson. This man raked in a huge sum of $15 million after only five months of playing blackjack regularly.
The second one is Kerry Parker. This Australian mogul and billionaire brought the MGM casino to its knees in 1997. Parker won a whopping $30 million initially and later went on to win even more.
Thankfully, Parker wasn’t selfish about his money. Whenever he would win big, he would leave up to $1 million in tips to that night’s staff. Eventually, Parker ended up becoming the owner of Crown Casino.
Perhaps you have heard of the Sports and Rock & Roll Halls of Fame. Blackjack actually has its own hall of fame as well. The Hall’s first nomination was in Winter 2002. In homage to the game’s goal and original name, 21 candidates were proposed.
Some candidates were players, and others were experts in the field. The voting took place online, and seven of the nominees ended up becoming inaugurated into the Blackjack Hall of Fame in January of 2003.
Addressing the Rules: When Can you Split in Blackjack?
One of the reasons for blackjack’s huge international success is the simplicity of its rules. If you score 21 points, and there isn’t a draw, you are guaranteed to win. You could also score less than 21 and win, as long as you have enough points to beat the dealer.
Even a complete novice can understand blackjack split rules in just a few minutes. All you have to do is remember how many points each card could bring, which just requires a simple calculation.
Players must remain attentive and vigilant in order to properly track each card. You must put in effort in order to rake in the winnings. Cards are initially distributed from six or eight decks that are contained in a blackjack shoe.
The average player won’t be able to remember these cards right off the bat. It takes some practice to be able to hold all of these numbers in your head. Yet, after practicing and learning how to memorize correctly, players can achieve great success.
Computers have given us the ability to analyze millions of matches in order to create algorithms that help us implement the best strategies. Bear in mind that the dealer can’t reflect on whether to take another card. In many venues, the house splitting rules for blackjack state that they have to draw more cards until the total value of his points is 17 or more.
Check the table below to see how an open card affects the dealer’s chances of winning. Here are the chances for the opposite side to lose with these dealer’s upcards:
Blackjack Split Rules: How to Split?
Let’s put aside the vague concepts of good luck and bad luck and agree that knowledge of these basic truths is necessary for a systematic player of the game. Save the table if you can’t remember its values. Now, using this knowledge, let us turn to the strategy on the blackjack splitting cards.
When can you split in blackjack? Check the explanation in the form of a blackjack split chart below.
There are some best hands to split in blackjack. Looking at the table, consider that ace and 10 are the strongest cards or combinations, and 4, 5, and 6 are the weakest. This statement is based on complex mathematical calculations and should be accepted as an axiom.
Let’s see the explanation for when to split in blackjack:
- Against a range of 4-6 at the dealer, takes advantage of an increase in the bet due to the opponent’s weakness;
- 2s and 3s against the dealer’s weakest hand, since each of these cards, is better than a combination of 4 or 6;
- 8s, which separately are much stronger than the low-perspective 16;
- Aces: as the strongest card (with some exceptions);
- 4s, only against the weakest cards of the dealer (5 and 6), counting on his excess (in other cases, it makes no sense to deprive himself of the average strength of 8).
Can a dealer split in blackjack? For better or worse, the dealer never doubles, splits, or surrenders. As for players, it is better to learn the table and the following basic rule that must be remembered:
- Never play split fives because instead of a strong ten, you will get two very weak cards.
- Never play a split on ten-value cards — it is a ready 20 with a high probability of victory. If you stop, the mathematical probability of winning will be higher than when playing the two tens separately.
We have collected the most common splitting options that you can find in casinos, both land-based and online. We recommend that you always check the rules of the game variation you’re going to play to know in advance which splits are available and which are not.
All face cards (i.e., queens, kings, and jacks) are worth a 10. Almost all online casinos have the option of splitting these cards when they are dealt to your first hand. But the strategy of splitting dozens statistically leads to failure. Try not to use it.
Let’s say you fell out of two eights the first time you have got the cards. You asked to split them into two hands, and the next time the dealer gives you a card, you get a third eight. Therefore, you have the opportunity to split the hands with the pairs of eights into a third hand. So, you’ll already have three hands, which means three chances to win.
Rather than doubling your bet, you have to triple it. There can also be limits on the number of splits, so read the rules carefully so that then there is no surprise. And remember, when new hands appear, you always need to add to your initial bet.
It is a very rare rule. It only applies to the late rejection rule.
An Extra Card After an Ace Split
In almost all casinos, after you’ve had a pair of aces, you need to split them into two hands. In some gambling houses, this rule is not implemented, and you can continue playing without any restrictions.
Prohibition on Ace Split
That is a very rare rule but, in some gambling establishments, you still can come across it. It ends with a ban on splitting aces. We recommend that you avoid casinos that have this rule.
Split at Any Time
If the casino is using this rule, you have the option of splitting the cards into two hands even after you give them away. Let’s say you got 10 and 2 cards at the start of the game. And after the dealer gave you a third card, you got a double again. You have the right to make a split into two 2s on the second hand.
A Ban on Splitting
This rule is very rare; at the moment, it can be found in the UK casinos only.
Canceling the Split
It is a very useful option, which is presented in some casinos. Thanks to it, you have the right to cancel one of the hands that have been formed during the split.
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Blackjack Splitting FAQ
You might still have some questions regarding these techniques. Let us elaborate on some of them.
What Does Split Mean in Blackjack?
Do I Need to Have a Certain Amount of Money?
Is There Any Correlation Between a Set of Rules and a Minimum Bet?
Do You Have the Best Chance to Beat the Casino Compared to Other Games?
It varies case by case, but on the whole, it’s a true statement.
To Sum Up
Why do some people lose? The reasons might be:
- Not fully understanding the rules and strategy;
- Not having or maintaining the original plan at all;
- Not setting a game timeline beforehand;
- Not adequately assessing their capital.
Did you know that casinos keep 20% of the money players use to play based on statistics? That is, they take $50 or $100 euros with them, they bet 10 each time, and as soon as they lose the money, they leave. If somebody has enough money, they may continue to play even after losing 5 or 10 times in a row. So, it’s essential to manage your capital properly.
Despite being around for centuries, blackjack maintains its popularity in the world. Simplicity and efficiency make it a favorite online choice for gamblers.
If you haven’t played online blackjack yet, it is time to try your luck at Bob Casino. All you need is an online casino with blackjack, our split strategy, your talent, excitement, and a bit of luck.
Please remember, no strategy can guarantee 100% results. Manage your money wisely, so that way stress will not affect your decisions in a negative manner. We wish you good luck and the biggest winnings!
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The rules of blackjack dictate that when a player is dealt two cards of the same value at the start of a round, they have the option to match their original bet and split the identical cards into two separate hands. Splitting pairs not only increases the entertainment value of the game but also works to the players’ advantage and decreases the house edge, i.e. when executed correctly.
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The trouble is most novice players experience difficulties with pairs and often do not know how to play such hands optimally. Misplaying paired Aces is one of the most common mistakes among blackjack rookies which ultimately causes them to lose money in the long term instead of profiting. This article teaches you how to approach a pair of Aces optimally and explains when and why you should refrain from splitting them.
Casino Rules on Splitting Aces
Splitting Aces is considered a very powerful move on behalf of players, so it is only natural for the house to try and do anything possible to prevent them from taking full advantage of this pair. In the majority of landbased and online blackjack variations, casinos prohibit players from hitting their Aces after a split. Instead, each Ace receives no more than one additional card, similarly to what happens after doubling down.
There are certain online variations of the game, like Microgaming’s Super Fun 21, where players get to enjoy more liberal rules when splitting this particular pair, like doubling down on each Ace and resplitting.
The ability to hit split Aces leads to a reduction of 0.19% in the casino’s advantage whereas that of resplitting them decreases the house edge by 0.08%. That being said, the software developers have compensated for the advantage these moves give the player by changing some of the other rules with more unfavorable ones. Worse of all, you get even money for your blackjacks which gives the casino a monstrous advantage over you.
Another peculiarity of Ace splitting results from the payouts you receive when you are dealt a ten-value card next to a split Ace. You have a two-card total of 21 but this is not treated as a natural in this case because it is not based on your original two-card holding. Instead, it is treated as a multiple-card 21 which returns even money instead of the higher 3-to-2 payout awarded for blackjacks.
An Ace is a good card to start a hand with, which is why most casinos do not allow their players to resplit pairs of Aces. This naturally makes doubling on split Aces impossible which also takes away some of your edge. Now that you have read about all these restrictions, you are probably wondering if splitting pairs of Aces is a good idea at all. It is. In fact, splitting Aces is always a good idea from the perspective of a basic strategy player.
Basic Strategy Players Should Always Split Aces
The optimal move for paired Aces is among the simplest ones to learn because it never changes in accordance with the playing conditions, the deck number, and the upcard of the dealer. You inevitably split the pair of Aces regardless of whether you are playing a single-deck H17 game or an eight-deck S17 game. No upcard of the dealer is powerful enough to intimidate you when you start a hand with an Ace.
A pair of Aces is actually a soft hand where the Aces have flexible values of 1 or 11. Thus, the total of the pair can be either 2 or 12 depending on which of the two values you choose. The thing about a 12, soft or hard, is it is not a good enough starting total. On the contrary, players end up busting in many cases with this hand.
Splitting Aces gives you the opportunity to create two brand new hands with a more advantageous starting point of 11. Players are always better off when the first card in their hand has a value of 11. This results in significant gains for them over the long haul which explains why most casinos would impose restrictions on how to play out this soft hand. Regardless of the casino rules for hitting, resplitting and doubling on split Aces, the mathematically correct decision for this hand is to always split.
The ten-value cards outnumber any other card denomination in the deck or shoe. There are four ten-value cards from each of the four suits in a single deck that can help you improve your total to the unbeatable 21 when you start with an Ace.
This corresponds to nearly one-third of the cards which means players stand a good chance of catching a 10 to each split Ace. Suppose you pull two Aces out of a 52-card deck along with a third card to represent that of the dealer, a 7, for example.
What are the odds of you catching a 10 as the next card on each Ace? There are now 49 cards left in the deck and 16 of them have a value of 10, which means the likelihood of you improving to 21 with your first Ace is 16 / 49 * 100 = 32.65%.
Basic Strategy Players Should Always Split Aces Additional TipsSuppose you indeed catch a Jack on the first Ace. This slightly reduces the likelihood of you pulling another ten-value card on the second Ace but you still stand a good enough chance. With 15 ten-value cards out of 48 cards left in the deck, the probability of you succeeding with a second score of 21 now stands at 15 / 48 * 100 = 31.25%.
A total of 21 is an excellent hand to obtain even if one does not receive a bonus payout of 3 to 2 after splitting like they normally would when they get a blackjack. In the worst-case scenario, you will end up pushing with your dealer and receiving your two bets back.
Even if you fail at catching ten-value cards, there are plenty of other cards that can help you improve to a total beyond the average winning hand of 18.5. There are four 9s you can draw for a total of 20 and four 8s for a total of 19.
Let’s assume you pick the discards from the previous round, put them back into the deck, and reshuffle. You again pull two Aces and split them against a 9. So what is the likelihood of improving each hand beyond the average winning total of 18.5?
There are 49 cards left and 23 of them can take you into the safe zone beyond 18.5 (four Queens, four Kings, four Jacks, four Tens, four 8s, and three 9s). The likelihood of you pulling one of them next to your first Ace stands at 23 / 49 * 100 = 46.93%! Assuming you get a 9 for a total of 20 on your first Ace, the probability of you drawing one of the “good” cards on your second Ace is now 22 / 48 * 100 = 45.83%.
The peculiarity of splitting, though, is that players are required to post another bet to cover the second hand that results after the pair split. Underbanked and casual gamblers are often reluctant to reach deeper into their pockets to cover their second hand and expose more money to risk, which naturally causes them to draw (or worse, stand) on their paired Aces.
The trouble is not splitting Aces improves only your chances of becoming a long-term loser in a game where the house has an edge against you even if you are a perfect basic strategy player. Just take a minute to ponder the following question – “If splitting Aces was a bad move for blackjack players, would the casino rules for split Aces be so rigid?”.
We think you are able to arrive at a conclusion on your own. The bottom line is despite the casino restrictions, splitting remains the best long-term decision when you hold a pair of Aces.
A Couple of Exceptions to the Above Rule
Some gambling authors argue Aces should not always be split and indeed, they are correct. There is one exception to the always-split-Aces rule and it is made for games like European Blackjack where there is no hole card. Here the dealer draws their second card after all patrons have played out their hands.
Certain basic strategy moves have undergone adjustments to accommodate the absence of hole cards. One of the adjustments concerns the pair of Aces against a dealer who starts their hand with an Ace, which, as you saw, is a very powerful card to start a hand with.
Blackjack Split Rules
Instead of splitting, the strategy recommends hitting your soft 12 against an Ace and splitting against dealer upcards deuce through 10. The logic behind this adjustment is the following: the dealer cannot peek under their Ace for a blackjack after offering insurance – they get their second card only after you have completed your hand.
Hands To Split In Blackjack
Additional Exceptions to the Above RuleSplitting becomes more volatile in this case because the dealer also stands a chance of drawing to a blackjack, in which case you lose two bets after splitting instead of one. Even if you have pulled a 10 next to each of your Aces, your “regular” total of 21 loses to the dealer’s blackjack. It is not worth the risk of pouring more money during this round.
There is a separate category of players who can justify deviating from the basic strategy play for paired Aces. These are the card counters most blackjack huffs have heard about. Some of you have probably even watched slightly exaggerated stories about them in Hollywood movies (who can forget the brilliant Dustin Hoffman as Tom Cruise’ autistic card-counting brother in Rain Man?).
Rules Of Blackjack Split
The thing is counting enables these players to keep an accurate track of the cards. If there is a surplus of small cards, with fewer face cards left, a card counter would deviate from the basic strategy and refrain from splitting their Aces.
They would know there is a higher chance of them drawing a small card and getting stuck with bad totals on two hands instead of one. Until you get there, we suggest you take our advice and stick to basic strategy when you get a pair of Aces. Playing hunches inevitably results in depleting your bankroll in the long haul.