Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

In Blackjack, pair splitting is a move that allows a player who received a pair to split it into two separate hands with their own lifecycle.

Do you want to turn your blackjack misfortune upside down? Then, pair splitting is a trumping technique! However, this master trick requires a witty mind to deal with luck.

You must be well aware of when to split and when not. The selected pairs of Splitting can change the whole game. Before that, be cautious with your blackjack hand.

Pair Splitting in Blackjack

In Blackjack, splitting is a move that allows a player who received a pair to split it into two separate hands with their own lifecycle.

Among the four main strategies of Blackjack, splitting a pair is a game-changing move. When a player receives an initial hand with 2 cards of the same face value, then the player has the opportunity to split that pair and receive a new card separately on both hands by the dealer. 

Although splitting is a wonderful strategy, it is useful only when used at the right time with the right pair in the right move! Basic strategy and counter handling are the two most important concepts to win Blackjack. You have to consider many factors before splitting, which would reward you a winning move.

Blackjack Pair Splitting Rules

To opt for one of the tricky tools of Blackjack; splitting, you have to follow some basic rules.

  • Put an additional bet equal to the initial bet amount for splitting the pair.
  • During an Ace splitting, follow the house-rule. You can hit only once after splitting an ace.
  • Only similar rank cards can be split. For, e.g. 10 and 10 can be split, but a queen and jack can't be.

Influence of Double Down After Splitting (DDAS)

Double down after splitting is allowed in some casinos only. DDAS lets you place an additional bet equal to your original bet on either of your hands, provided you have to stand after receiving one more card.

If you are going to double down after splitting, then you must go for a small amount. Take more steps but in little amounts, even a penny. The consequences of double down after splitting depends on the pair you have split.

Pair Splitting Chart

The optimum basic strategy for pair splitting in blackjack revolves around three actions:

  • Always split
  • Never split
  • Only split if you can "double after splitting" (DAS)

See the recommended Blackjack pair splitting matrix most professional players follow.

pair splitting in blackjack
The optimum pair splitting strategy chart for Blackjack.

When To Split Pairs in Blackjack

What matters the most in splitting is a favourable chance with favourable pair. Splitting in Blackjack is not always a winning move.

Splitting a pair relies on certain circumstances:

  • the dealer's hand,
  • your pair's rank,
  • the bet's size,
  • and luck!

Therefore, you must be crystal clear with your probability of winning a split. If you are doing card counting, that tally will come in handy to decide whether to split a pair or not. There are certain pairs which you should never miss to split regardless of what the dealer's hand is. They are statistically more likely to bring you a profit over the course of time.

It can take some time to memorize the scenarios when and what hand to split in blackjack. Fortunately, there are blackjack strategy charts you can consult frequently when playing a game.

Always Split

Eights - This is one of the worst hands in Blackjack. However, you can turn this hand to be most useful too.

Without splitting, any card with a face value above 5 would bring a huge loss to you. But by splitting, you could find an additional card constituting a hand close to 21.

Aces - A pair of ace together make one ace of face value 11 and another of 1. If you don't split, then you need a hit of 9 to increase your probability of winning.

However, 10 has the most probability to come. So splitting is the best option; an ace and a card with a face value of 10 would reward you 21!

Never Split

Fives - A pair of 5 opens up the opportunity for a double down. Together they make 10, so never split them. Splitting would give you only lower value face cards. Splitting fives is useful when the dealer has an ace, 9, or 10.

Tens - You have got a master hand, then why even think of splitting? This time you should stand and wait for the dealer's move. Don't hit, split, or double down as it would only worsen the situation.

Fours - Why split when you already have a score of 8? This time you should opt for hitting, as the maximum face value you might achieve is 19. Splitting with fours offers the least probability of any profit.

Split Based on the Dealer's Card

Dealer's up card is from 2 to 7

In this situation, if you have a pair of 2, 3, or 7, splitting is the best option to escape yourself from a bust. These pairs possess great potential to bust in just one or more hits. It's wise to split them at first glance itself.

Dealer's up card is from 8 to 9

In this situation, if you have a pair of 9, then hitting could be the most disastrous move ever. Together it makes a winning hand of 18. However, splitting is a great option when the dealer has these face-up cards.

Dealer's up card is from 2 to 6

This time if you have a pair of 6, then go for splitting without any doubt. Together it would not offer much probability of winning, but splitting allows a big face value. On the other hand, dealers have a high chance to bust.

Benefits of Splitting Pairs

Mathematicians introduced this technique to lower the house edge. Splitting enhances the chance of winning when you only need a kick to win. When all the hands are odd for you, it reduces your amount of loss. Apart from this, it offers an additional opportunity to try your luck once more in the manner you want. Let's grab this mathematical logic through the following points.

Maximizing profits

Let's assume a blackjack table with eight decks. In case you are having a pair of 9, and the dealer shows 6, still, you have high chances of winning without splitting. But, if you split, it might reduce the chances of winning but would maximize the value of profits. And if you win, you would earn much more profit than the offered chance

Minimize losses

Suppose this time the player has a pair of 7 and dealer's up card with face value 2. Now, you are not in a great position to win. But the dealer has a high chance of winning. This is the best time to split as it would further the chance of winning and minimize the loss amount.

Convert losing hands to winning ones

In case the dealer has a six and yours is a pair of 7, the probability of winning at both ends is almost equal. Then splitting is a good option, as you don't have much advantage with 7. This would turn your losses to profit by opening greater options for winning without going bust.

Blackjack Pair Splitting - FAQ

After playing a tricky round of Blackjack, you might have encountered some tough situations. Here are ways to get rid of them.

Why do blackjack players split their pairs?

Splitting pairs protects a player from getting busted and helps to win. Splitting is an important tool to turn losing chances into winning ones. It gives the players another chance at defeating the dealer. Thus, it helps players to earn profit and minimize losses even in the worst hand as there is a chance to double your winnings.

Is pair splitting mandatory in blackjack?

Splitting is optional in Blackjack. It is completely up to the player to choose whether to split a pair or not.

Splitting is an important asset of a wise blackjack strategy that helps to maximize profits. It is a good way for the player to get an advantage. However, one should carefully consider before choosing to split. It is important to split on the right hand.

Do you split a pair of 10's in blackjack?

One must never split a pair of 10s in blackjack. 20 is a great initial hand and will be hard to improve if split. This pair automatically brings the maximum winning opportunity for a player against the dealer. The best option in this situation would be to stand.

Should you split Jacks in blackjack?

Splitting jacks is entirely a matter of choice of player. But from a winning perspective, you should never split jacks. Together they make 20 and bring one of the best hands for you. The chances of improving your hands after splitting are low. Therefore, it is better to stand and not split.

What pairs should you not split in blackjack?

A pair of tens, fives, or fours should not split in a game of blackjack. These are the pairs that have a high probability of going bust, regardless of the dealer up cards. Two tens together make 20, one of the best hands to start with, and two fives on splitting reduce the chances of winning, just like fours.

One of the most useful mathematical, logical tricks in blackjack is splitting. It aids in rescuing a player in their worst hands from loss. If used wisely, it will not only maximize your profits but also reward you with some winning chances. Just follow these rules, know your chances to split, and make it rock 22!