When To Split Cards In Blackjack

James Lopez
August 23, 2023
When To Split Cards In Blackjack


When To Split Cards In Blackjack: In the thrilling realm of blackjack game, where skill meets chance, mastering the art of card splitting can significantly elevate your gameplay and winning potential. Blackjack enthusiasts are well aware that splitting cards is a strategic move that can make or break a hand. This intricate maneuver involves turning one powerful hand into two separate ones, offering both heightened risks and rewards.

The decision of when to split cards in blackjack is a crucial aspect of the game, requiring a keen understanding of the odds, your hand’s value, and the dealer’s upcard. This introduction serves as your gateway to unraveling the mysteries of this tactic, guiding you through the principles that underpin successful card splitting.

With each split, players have the opportunity to transform a potentially weak hand into two formidable contenders. However, this advantage comes with its own set of considerations 

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of when to split cards in blackjack. We explore the scenarios that demand a split, offering insights into the logic behind these decisions. By the end, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed choices at the blackjack table, enhancing your ability to seize victory by splitting cards with confidence.

What cards should you always split in blackjack?

Always split

  • Aces. Cards with a value of ten are plentiful in blackjack, so it makes sense to split a pair of aces. 
  • Eights. It’s important at this point to acknowledge that two eights is considered a fairly poor hand in blackjack, whether you split your initial hand or not.

Strategically navigating the world of blackjack involves knowing when to capitalize on the opportunity to split your cards. While every hand is unique and requires careful evaluation, there are specific card combinations that almost universally warrant a split.

Aces are the most coveted cards in blackjack, and splitting them is not only advisable but typically mandatory. By doing so, you instantly transform a potentially strong hand into two chances at blackjack – the coveted 21. Similarly, eights should always be split. Turning this awkward hand into two respectable starting points sets the stage for a potential victory.

The decision to split nines rests on the dealer’s upcard. If the dealer shows anything from a two through six, splitting nines is a shrewd choice as it capitalizes on the dealer’s likely vulnerability. Meanwhile, avoiding a split when the dealer displays a seven, ten, or ace is usually wiser, as these scenarios present more challenging odds.

When To Split Cards In Blackjack

When can you split the deck in blackjack?

If you hold two cards that are the same number in your hand, like two eights or two sixes, you can split them apart and play each one like two separate hands instead of one. Once you split your two cards into two hands, you’ll place your original bet with one hand and place an equal bet on the second, split hand.

In blackjack, the notion of “splitting the deck” doesn’t refer to physically dividing the cards but rather to the strategic choice of splitting your dealt pair of cards into two separate hands. The decision to split depends on the specific pair you receive and the dealer’s upcard, following the rules of the game.

Pairs of cards that share the same value offer the opportunity to split, effectively creating two new hands to play independently. Commonly, pairs of aces and eights should always be split. A pair of aces, when split, transforms into two potential blackjack hands, the strongest combination in the game. Splitting eights, on the other hand, improves a weak total of 16 for each hand.

Pairs of twos, threes, sevens, and nines are also typically viable options for splitting, contingent upon the dealer’s upcard. However, the decision to split or not is influenced by the dealer’s potential to bust and the likelihood of improving your hand’s value.

Remember, splitting should be a calculated move based on both your cards and the dealer’s visible card. When the circumstances align, splitting pairs can significantly enhance your chances of winning by turning mediocre hands into promising opportunities. Being well-versed in when to split the deck is a testament to your strategic prowess in the captivating game of blackjack.

Why would you want to split in blackjack?

You are now playing two hands and must match your initial wager for the new, second hand. The key advantage of splitting is that you now have twice as much money on the table, perfect if the dealer looks weak. Presuming the dealer goes on to bust, you now win twice as much money than you would otherwise have done.

Splitting in blackjack is a strategic maneuver designed to capitalize on favorable opportunities that arise from being dealt a pair of cards with the same value. The primary objective of splitting is to improve your chances of winning by turning a potentially weak hand into two strong contenders.

When you split, you effectively create two separate hands, each with its own bet, from a single initial hand. This division can prove advantageous for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to transform a pair of aces into two separate blackjack hands, the most coveted combination in the game. 

Splitting also takes a lackluster hand like eights, which totals 16, and turns it into two potentially better starting points for each hand. This increases your chances of beating the dealer or, in the worst-case scenario, of losing less than you would have with a single hand.

Moreover, splitting pairs like twos, threes, and sevens can lead to better hands if the dealer’s upcard is favorable, increasing your odds of winning those individual hands.

In essence, the decision to split hinges on transforming disadvantageous hands into potentially lucrative opportunities. By understanding the principles behind splitting and mastering when to employ this strategy, you harness a powerful tool that can amplify your success at the blackjack table.

Should you split 20 in blackjack?

However, let’s look at your other option: standing pat on your 20. By standing, you will win around 85% of the time and make about $14 more per $100 wagered than if you split.  

Splitting a pair of 20s in blackjack, a hand that already totals a strong value, is generally not advisable and is a decision that deviates from conventional strategy. A total of 20 is already a robust hand, composed of two ten-value cards (e.g., two 10s, two face cards, or a 10 and a face card). Splitting this hand would separate those tens, decreasing your overall advantage and potentially jeopardizing your winning potential.

The primary objective in blackjack is to beat the dealer’s hand without exceeding 21. With a total of 20, you are already in a favorable position to win or, at the very least, push against most of the dealer’s possible hands. Splitting 20 would be an unnecessary gamble that could backfire, especially considering that you might draw cards that are less likely to improve your hands, such as low-value cards.

This strategy ensures you maintain the best chance of winning the hand or, in the worst-case scenario, tying with the dealer. While blackjack offers room for strategic decisions, the tried-and-true approach suggests that splitting a pair of 20s is a deviation that could potentially compromise your odds of success at the table.

Can you split a 10 and a king in blackjack?

Split tens must be same value – In most casinos, Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings all count as ten and can be considered the same for splitting rules.

In the game of blackjack, the decision to split a pair of cards can significantly impact a player’s strategy and potential for success. When dealt a pair of cards, like a 10 and a King, the option to split is not available. This is because splitting is typically allowed only for pairs of the same rank, such as two 10s or two Kings. 

In the scenario mentioned, where a 10 and a King are dealt, the best strategy would be to stick with the classic blackjack approach. A hand comprising a 10 and a King holds a total value of 20, which is an exceptionally strong hand in blackjack. Players often stand on this hand, as the likelihood of going bust by taking another card is very low.  

When dealt a 10 and a King in blackjack, splitting is not a viable option due to the dissimilar ranks of the cards. Players should typically stand on this hand, as it already presents a strong chance of winning against the dealer.

When To Split Cards In Blackjack

When should you split a pair in blackjack?

In the game of blackjack, the decision to split a pair of cards can be a strategic move that enhances a player’s chances of winning. The primary rule for splitting is to do so when you are dealt a pair of cards with the same rank. For instance, if you receive two 8s, two Aces, two 7s, or any other pair, splitting becomes an option.

The decision to split should be based on a combination of factors, including the dealer’s upcard and the overall game strategy. Generally, there are a few key scenarios when splitting can be advantageous:

Pair of Aces: Always split Aces. By doing so, you have the chance to create two hands worth 11, increasing your chances of getting a strong hand. An Ace paired with a 10-value card also yields a blackjack, the highest possible hand.

Pair of 7s: Splitting 7s can be advantageous when the dealer’s upcard is 2 through 7. It allows you to work towards better hands instead of playing a single hand with a weak total of 14.

Pair of 6s: Some players choose to split 6s when the dealer’s upcard is weak (2 through 6), as it can lead to better hands. However, this decision might vary based on specific blackjack strategies.

Pair of 4s and 5s: In some versions of blackjack, splitting 4s and 5s is discouraged. Players prefer to treat them as a single hand worth 8 or 10, respectively.

Ultimately, the decision to split a pair depends on the specific game rules and the strategy you’re following. Analyzing the dealer’s upcard and evaluating the potential outcomes of splitting versus not splitting is crucial in making the right choice and maximizing your chances of winning.

Can I split cards more than once?

Some casinos allow re-splitting, which means if you’re dealt another pair of the same rank after splitting, you can split them again. Rules regarding re-splitting can vary, so be sure to understand the rules of the specific game you’re playing.

In traditional blackjack rules, the option to split cards is generally limited to one split per hand. This means that when you split a pair of cards into two separate hands, you can’t further split those newly created pairs. For example, if you start with a pair of 8s, you can split them into two hands and receive additional cards for each, but you cannot split the resulting pairs of cards again.

However, some casinos and variations of blackjack do allow for limited re-splits under specific conditions. This usually involves being dealt another pair of the same rank after splitting and being allowed to split again. The rules for re-splits can vary widely, and it’s essential to understand the specific rules of the blackjack variant you’re playing to know if re-splits are permitted and if there are any limitations on the number of times you can re-split.

It’s important to note that the ability to split multiple times can significantly impact your strategy and odds in the game. While the option to re-split might seem advantageous, it can also increase the complexity of decision-making and potentially expose you to higher risks. Always familiarize yourself with the rules of the particular blackjack game you’re playing to make informed choices and optimize your chances of success.

What’s the key to successfully splitting cards in blackjack?

Successfully splitting cards in blackjack requires a combination of strategic thinking, understanding the game rules, and assessing the dealer’s upcard. The key factors to consider include:

Matching Pairs: The fundamental rule for splitting is to do so when you are dealt a pair of cards with the same rank, like two 7s or two Queens.

Dealer’s Upcard: Evaluate the dealer’s face-up card. In general, it’s more advantageous to split when the dealer’s upcard is weak (2 through 6) because they have a higher chance of busting.

Basic Strategy: Familiarize yourself with basic blackjack strategy charts that provide guidelines on when to split. These charts are based on mathematical probabilities and help you make optimal decisions.

Potential Outcomes: Consider the potential outcomes of splitting versus not splitting. Splitting can lead to improved hands, but it’s essential to weigh the risks and rewards.

Bankroll Management: Be mindful of your bankroll. Splitting increases your bet by creating two hands. Managing your bets and bankroll is crucial for long-term success.

Remember that splitting is just one aspect of a broader blackjack strategy. It’s important to combine splitting decisions with hitting, standing, and doubling down choices to optimize your gameplay. By mastering the art of splitting in tandem with a solid overall strategy, you can enhance your chances of success at the blackjack table.

When To Split Cards In Blackjack


In the realm of blackjack, the decision of when to split cards encapsulates the essence of strategic gameplay. As this guide concludes, you’ve gained a profound understanding of this intricate manoeuvre, equipping yourself with the tools to navigate its complexities.

Mastering the art of card splitting is a testament to your commitment to refining your blackjack skills. The judicious choice to split, or not, can tip the scales of fortune in your favor. Whether it’s transforming a seemingly average hand into two winning opportunities or wisely preserving a strong hand, your newfound insights provide a roadmap to success.

Remember that each split is a calculated risk, woven into the fabric of the game’s allure. The ability to decipher when to seize this advantage is a skill that evolves with experience and an intimate understanding of the game’s dynamics. Your journey towards blackjack proficiency is a continual process, and the knowledge amassed here serves as a valuable cornerstone.

As you step back into the casino’s realm armed with this knowledge, approach each blackjack table with confidence. The strategic elegance of card splitting is now within your grasp. Armed with insights, intuition, and a calculated approach, you’re poised to amplify your chances of victory, proving that in the nuanced dance of blackjack, knowing when to split cards is your secret weapon for triumph.

Author James Lopez