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Black Jack School

Splitting Pairs

BlackJack Splitting Pairs
by Jerald of Predictem.com

There are several reason to split pairs when you are playing BlackJack. On some hands you are trying to maximize profit because you have 2 good cards, for example a pair of 9s against a dealer up card of 8. Other times you are taking a bad hand and trying to minimize the losses by trying to a get a least one winner out of the 2 hands. In this article we will look at when we should split pairs and when we should leave them together and try to explain why this is the case.

There are several rule variations when it comes to splitting pairs than may affect our decision. The first rule is when splitting Aces. Nearly every casino that I have played in only allows you to draw one card on each Ace so that is how we will approach this situation. It should also be noted that if you split Aces and receive a 10 you do not get paid 3:2 for BlackJack. Another rule variation is whether the casino allows you to resplit if you draw another card of the same value. The last variation is whether the casino allows you to Double Down after a split. We will discuss how these rules affect your decision.


Lets look at each pair scenario to explain what play will maximize our bottom line.

Pair of Aces I am sure you have heard the saying always split Aces and 8s, is this correct? If you have a pair of Aces you have a powerful advantage and should always split them even if the dealer has a good card up. You will maximize your profits by splitting Aces.

Pair of Face Cards or 10s You should never split these pairs because you are on 20 and have a great chance of winning. I know it is tempting if the dealer has a 5 or 6 up but even if that is the case, you take a highly probable winner and turn it into a hand that could easily win 1 hand and lose one hand or even worse. The only possibility of changing this is if you are a card counter and the deck is highly in your favor.

Pair of 9s This is a tricky situation. If you dont split you are on 18 which is mediocre. The answer lies in what the dealer has for an upcard. If the dealer has a 2-6 up you should you will make more money by splitting. If the dealer has a 7 up then you should stand on 18 because there is a 31% chance that the dealer has 17 and must stand. If the dealer has an 8 then we maximize our wins by splitting because the 9 is a powerful card against the 8. If the dealer has a 9 up it is a bit more tricky because it is likely you are on a losing hand but the dealer is sitting pretty good. It will slightly minimize your losses long-term if you split against a dealer 9. If the dealer has a 10-Ace then you are better off just standing on 18, you most likely will lose but you dont want to place another bet with a strong hand out there.

Pair of 8s Here is the other half of the old adage always split Aces and 8s. It is true that you are always better off splitting them. With 16 you have a poor chance of winning and you maximize your profits against a dealer 2-7. If the dealer has an 8-Ace then you minimize your losses by splitting the 8s and trying to make at least one of the hands a winner.

Pair of 7s This is a really poor hand. You should split against a dealers 2-7. If the dealer has an 8-Ace you are better off just hitting and hoping for the best.

Pair of 6s Another bad hand. You should only split if the dealer has a 3-6. In this case you are hoping that the dealer will bust if you dont catch a good hand. If the casino allows you to double down after a split then it is also advantageous to split against a 2. If the dealer has a 7-Ace then you are better off to hit and hope for the best.

Pair of 5s You should never split this hand because you have a strong hand to draw to.

Pair of 4s The only time you should split 4s is if the casino allows you to double down after the split. If they do then you can split against a dealer 5 or 6. If they dont allow double down then you should never split the 4s.

Pair of 3s You should always split 3s against a dealer 4-7. If the casino allows double down then you should also split against the dealer 2 and 3.

Pair of 2s This is the same as a pair of 3s. You should always split 2s against a dealer 4-7. If the casino allows double down then you should also split against the dealer 2 and 3.

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Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?