If, while playing blackjack, you receive two identical cards or two cards with the value of 10, you are offered the option to split the hand into two separate hands. Subsequently, you continue playing with both hands separately.

There are, of course, rule variations that, for example, limit the number of times you may re-split or do not allow the re-splitting of aces.

As with any other scenario in basic strategy, the decision to split a particular pair depends on the pair itself and the dealer’s up-card.

Go to:

Splitting 10s
Splitting 9s
Splitting 8s
Splitting 7s and 6s
Splitting 5s
Splittings 4s
Splitting 2s and 3s

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Should You Split 10s?

Of course, splitting a 10-10 makes no sense at all unless you are a card counter. So, for the followers of basic strategy: never ruin a nearly perfect hand. Simple mathematical calculations show that the odds of the dealer beating your 10-10 are minimal…

Card counters tend to split 10s once they have identified a situation where splitting their hand gives them an extra advantage in the game. If you are not counting cards, you have no reason to split 10-10.

Should You Split 9s?

According to basic strategy, you should split 9-9 against any up-card from the dealer except a 7. The reason is that if the dealer has a seven, he has a good chance of turning a 10-card and will have to stand at 17, so your 9-9 will win.

Splitting your 9-9 against a dealer’s 9 is a good choice because the dealer can easily beat your 18 if he turns a 10-J-Q-K-A.

Should You Split 8s?

Splitting 8-8 is tricky, but it’s the right choice! An 8-8 is the hardest stiff hand (a stiff hand is a hand worth 12,13,14,15, or 16) to play. This is simply because, on this hand, there are the most cards that will turn you dead. Furthermore, playing with 8 is much easier, and it has a decent chance of turning into a great hand.

So by splitting 8-8, you significantly increase your odds and end up losing less money.  With an 8-8 hand itself, you are very likely to lose. You might win only if the dealer himself has a stiff hand and then turns dead as well.

If you split and draw a 10-card, or a 9, you have a strong hand and a high probability of a push or a win. In addition, if you draw a low card, meaning an ace, 2 or 3, you can ask for another card and get a 19, 20 or 21. If only one of your two hands develops as described, you will win nothing and lose nothing, which is a good result considering that otherwise, you would have had to play with a stiff 16.

Should You Split 7s and 6s?

Splitting 7-7 and 6-6 is wise if the dealer’s up-card is one of the following: 2-3-4-5-6-7. First, 7-7 and 6-6 are terrible starting hands (both stiff) which means you can easily bust. If the dealer has a 2 through 7, then he has a chance of a stiff hand. So it is wise to try your luck with a better hand, i.e. split, while hoping for a stiff hand for the dealer.

Should You Split 5s?

Splitting fives, like splitting tens, should be avoided. A 5-5 hand offers a good chance to double up, as you have a high probability of getting a strong hand (18-21).

Meanwhile, if 5-5 splits, you have two hands that can easily become stiff (a 10-card, 9, 8, or 7 will make for a stiff hand).

Should You Split 4s?

Splitting a 4-4 hand generally depends on whether doubling after splitting is allowed. If allowed, you should split 4-4 against the dealer’s next up-card: 4, 5, or 6. If you turn a 5, 6, 7 or an ace after splitting, you have a good chance of doubling. At the same time, the dealer will most likely have a stiff hand.

If doubling after splitting is not allowed, a 4-4 hand should not be split. Since a starting hand of 8 is better than two starting hands of 4.

Should You Split 2s and 3s?

If doubling after splitting is allowed, 2-2 and 3-3 hands are split against a dealer’s following up-cards: 2,3,4,5,6,7. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, playing a 2 or a 3 gives you a good chance of getting a hand with which you can double against a weak/stiff hand from the dealer. Second, 2-2 or 3-3 are bad starting hands because if you turn a 10-card, you have a stiff hand. Third, with an up-card of 2 through 7, the dealer has a good chance of getting a stiff hand.

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