Split in Blackjack: Ultimate Strategy Guide

Split in Blackjack: Ultimate Strategy Guide

Splitting in Blackjack is one more solution available for Blackjack players. It can be used in combination with the double down or surrender option – the main thing for the players to consider is how to combine these solutions to get a better result. In this article, we are going to disclose the situations when this move has to and shouldn’t be used. Along with that, we will disclose a proper approach to this solution.

What Does a Split in Blackjack Mean?

A split solution means that you play two hands instead of one after getting the initial hand. Each hand is played solely, which means that you can lose with one hand and win with the second. This solution can be a good choice, if the cards in your initial hand, can bring you more chances to win, if distributed into two hands, instead of being used in just one. 

Some players ignore this move, leaving no chance to double their winnings or decrease their chances of losing. The thing is that this solution can only be used for your benefit if you are familiar with card counting and know the essence of this move.   

How to Split in Blackjack: Rules

The only condition when splitting is available is when you have a pair in the initial hand. You cannot split after a hit or any other move. Thus, if you get 6-6, and then another 6, you cannot split your hand. However, there are some casinos that impose restrictions on splitting:

  • Splitting is allowed only once. 
  • After splitting, you cannot get a natural Blackjack even if you have 10-Ace; it is valued as an ordinary 21.
  • Some pairs cannot be split (Ace, 10, etc.).
  • No double down after splitting allowed.

Infographic with Blackjack splitting rules, for those who need to know how to split in Blackjack.

Generally, you can split as many times as you want. For example, if you get a pair of 6’s, you can split. Then you get two hands with one 6 in each one.

If in one of the hands, you get another 6, you can split that hand as well. Thus, you will get 3 hands with 6 cards. Though, some of the casinos only allow you to split once.

You also can split Aces, as well, in some of the casinos. That means that once you have an Ace-Ace, you can split and get two hands with one Ace card in each of them. Make it clear in the casino, whether you can split Aces, as some of the houses forbid that. 

Double down is a move that allows you to increase your bet per hand and limits the number of cards you can get afterwards. After splitting, you can make a double down for one hand and use any other move for another hand. The outcomes for each hand won’t affect the outcome of the other hand. Though, some of the casinos do not allow you to double down after splitting. 

Thus, along with knowing how to use the decision to split correctly, you also should find out the rules of eligibility for this move, in the specified casino. These rules can have a great effect on the results of the game. 

Why Do You Need to Split Cards in Blackjack?

Many players do not really know when splitting is a good decision. In this article, we have disclosed situations when splitting can improve your results, and here we will answer the question, why do you need to split your cards at all. 

There are three main reasons to use this move:

  • Splitting can maximize your profits
  • It can minimize your losses
  • It can improve your initial hand

How can splitting maximize your profits? If the dealer has a weak hand, splitting your hand means you play two hands instead of the dealer’s weak hand. This means that you have more chances to win, so you use this move as much as possible, depending on the situation, when the dealer gets a weak hand in a specified game. 

How can splitting minimize your losses? If the dealer has a strong hand or a moderate hand, depending on your hand and the Blackjack game rules you play, you can surrender (if possible), split, or hit.

For some of the card combinations (which are pointed out in this article), the best decision would be to split. You get the chance to have at least one strong hand against the dealer’s hand. Thus, you can minimize your losses.  

How can splitting improve your hand? If you have 2 cards that can make a good combination in separate hands but make a bad combination in one hand, it may be better for you to make a splitting decision than to hit, double down or surrender. Thus, choosing this option gives you the chance of a stronger combination. 

Splitting Strategy: When You Should Always Split Cards in Blackjack

Unlike the other solutions, for a split, there are situations when splitting is always a good option, no matter what the card combination is in the dealer’s hand. This is true for a pair of Aces and a pair of eights. 

The main reason for the pair of aces to get split is that an Ace in the initial hand is always a good card. When you get 10 with an Ace, it is a natural Blackjack, and moreover, an Ace can be valued both like 1 or 11. Consider the fact that for your initial hand with two Aces, you get a sum of 12, and the only way to get a Blackjack comes when you get 9. Whereas, when you split, you get far more winning combinations. 

When it comes to the eights, there is another reason for splitting – a hard 16 is a weak hand. It is not enough to stand, as the majority of dealers stand or hit with a soft 17. It is risky to hit with this combination, as any value that is higher than a 5 will bust your hand. You get much better options if you split, and get an eight in two hands. 

You should also resplit in case you get Aces or eights in hand after the first split. The reasons for the resplit are the same as for the first split. The only reason you couldn’t use split for Aces or resplit for Aces and eights, is the situation when this move is restricted by the casino. Below you can see some examples of hands with eights and Aces that would be valuable to consider for your gaming strategy. 

Split Aces

Your hand: Ace-Ace

Dealer’s up card: Any

Player's cards are Aces and dealer's up card is 5, a perfect time for hand splitting in Blackjack.

No matter what up card the dealer has, you should split. Even if the dealer has an Ace as well, which increases the chances of him having a natural Blackjack or another strong combination. 

When you split, you get two potentially strong hands, instead of one that has a value of 12. After you split, you have more options to double down or hit until you get the best value. 

Split Eights

Your hand: 8-8

Dealer’s up card: Any

A casino table showing what cards should you split in blackjack.

Hard 16 is a weak combination, as you have a 60% chance to go bust with it. Moreover, the majority of dealers stop on soft 17, so even standing on hard 16 isn’t the best option. Normally, if you get a hard 16, it is better to consider the surrender option. However, if you get pairs with an opportunity to split, you should use it, as there many chances to get a strong combination with an eight in your hand. 

What cards not to split?

There are cards that you shouldn’t split under any circumstances:

  • A pair of fives
  • Pair of fours
  • Pair of tens

The thing is that splitting these cards, no matter what card is in the dealer’s hand, will decrease your chances of winning dramatically.  Below we will provide you with a detailed disclosure on each combination. 

Don’t Split Tens

A pair of tens gives you 20. This is one of the best combinations to stand when playing Blackjack, as you are likely to win. Splitting will be a very risky move.

The thing is that the majority of dealers stop at soft 17, which means that you need to get 7 or more after the split to win. Based on this calculation, you have more chances to win the round if you stand on 20. Example

Your hand: 10-10

Dealer’s up card: 8

A pair of tens in the player's hand during the game of blackjack.

With the dealer’s eight or any other card in the game, a casino has a very low chance of winning, as it should collect 21. On the other hand, your 20 is a great value to stand at.  

Never Split Fives

Splitting fives is a bad idea, as you have a better option of doubling down depending on the dealer’s up card. Most players choose the split option in this situation, basing their decision on the fact that 5 in hand gives you a great number of options for the second card and future moves. However, it is proven mathematically, that you get more chances to win if you double down or hit in this position. 

Your hand: 5-5

Dealer’s up card: 4

A pair of fives in player's hand and the live casino dealer's up card 4.

If you split now, you have to take the risk of getting a weak combination against the dealer’s 4 with another card in hand. If doubling down, you will have more chances to acquire a stronger value than the dealer. 

Never Split Fours

Having fours gives a higher chance to get more than a soft 17 than if you split this hand. Here you get even more chances to get a weak hand than with fives. You will ultimately get weak initial hands instead of a stronger one. Based on the mathematical calculations, hitting is better than splitting here. 

Your hand: 4-4

Dealer’s up card: 9

A pair of fours in the player's hand: an example of when you shouldn't be splitting.

In this situation, you will have fewer chances to get a strong initial hand, as if the second card in the dealer’s hand is of high value, you will have to hit numerous times, for both hands with totally unpredictable results. More chances to win remain if you hit with 4-4 giving you an 8 and a higher chance to beat a soft 17. 

Splitting Other Cards in Blackjack

Along with the combinations that leave only one option on whether or not to split, there are also other combinations that can leave you with options depending on the dealer’s up card. 

When to Split Twos, Threes, or Sevens 

Twos, threes, and sevens should be split if the dealer shows a card with a value of 7 or less. The reason is that twos and threes give you 4 and 6, which is a naturally weak initial hand to move on, and if you split this pair, you will get far more chances to get a strong combination to hit. You should also split sevens, as you have more chances to get a strong combination by hitting two cards afterwards, than with a hard 14. 

Your hand: 2-2

Dealer’s up card: 4

A pair of two's: an example of when to split cards in Blackjack.

As you can see in this situation, you have a value of four, while the dealer has 4 as an upcard only. It is less, so you can easily split your cards, and then hit as many times as you need to. With such a combination split, you have more chances to get a high value, than with a four against four and the second card in the dealer’s hand. 

When to Split Sixes

Split a pair of sixes when the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Based on the mathematical calculations, your hard 12 can give you a better result, when the dealer has 7 or more, and your six in hand can result in a stronger combination when the dealer has less than 7. 

Your hand:6-6

Dealer’s up card: 8

A pair of six in player's hand: an example of when not to split in Blackjack.

Here, you have a hard 12 against the dealer’s 8. You only can go bust if you get a 10, while you do not yet know the dealer’s situation. Any other card added will only improve the value of your hand, thus hitting is a better option than splitting, when you get two weak six combinations, against the dealer’s 8.  

Splitting Nines

Splitting nines is a good idea against the dealer’s 2-6, 8, and 9. When you split against 2-6, 8, you get a better combination without the risk of getting busted on the next hit. With the 9 up card, you have the same chances on the new hand. Seven is excluded from here as mathematically, the dealer has greater chances of getting a strong combination. 

Your hand: 9-9

Dealer: 5

An example of player's hand with nines that can be split in Blackjack.

If you split now, you will get two hands with nines in each, against the dealer’s 5 card. This gives you better chances to win twice. Standing here would be a good option as well, and still, you can increase your profits if you split. 

Blackjack Splitting Chart

To make it clearer for players when or not to split, we have prepared a chart showing the best combinations for a specified move. 

Blackjack splitting chart, showing when to split in blackjack, can be used as a cheat sheet.

Here you can get acquainted with the main topics that are being discussed about the split move.  Continue reading below to get answers on the most frequently asked questions.

Splitting in Blackjack FAQ

How many times can you split in Blackjack?

If splitting is available in the game, you can split as many times as you want per round. Although, some restrictions as to when you can split are enforced in some situations. 

What DAS means?

Double After Split (versus: NDAS, which is NO Double After Split).  This rule is a benefit to the player that allows you to double down after you split a hand.

What does NDAS mean?

No Double After Split (versus: DAS=Double After Split).

What NRSA means?

No resplit Aces. This means you can split Aces once, but cannot split them again. 

Other Blackjack Strategies

Along with splitting, you can also make other moves that can be combined with splitting or used solely depending on the game rules and situation. Knowing how to use these moves can improve your results dramatically, otherwise, they can be useless. Thus, there is double down, hit & stand, and surrender. 

Double Down

Double down is a move that considers increasing your initial hand. It is only available for the initial hand, and after using this move, you can only get one card in hand. Sometimes double down is available after splitting, sometimes not – it depends on the rules. Double down can increase your winnings and is valuable for those who use long-run strategies. 

Hit & Stand

Hit is a basic solution available for all blackjack games. It means that you take an additional card to improve your hand. This move is available only until you get a value of 21 or get busted. The stand solution is about no longer taking any more cards. It is used when you believe the combination you have is the best you can get in that hand. Hit & Stand should be used in combination with other moves.

Surrender

Surrender is an option that is not presented in the majority of Blackjack games. Thus, when it is available, you can use it to decrease your loses. The surrender solution can only be used upon receiving the initial hand and means that you stop the hand, and receive 50% of your original wager.