Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

When playing blackjack you have the option of splitting pairs when the croupier deals you two cards of the same value. But, why should you choose to take this option when playing blackjack? Are there any advantages to splitting pairs in blackjack? How do you actually go about splitting a pair? These points, and other relevant points, will be discussed during the course of this article.

Firstly, we will discuss the theory behind splitting pairs in blackjack and what the procedure is all about. Imagine that you are dealt two cards, which have the same value, for example, a pair of twos or a pair of Aces, and all the combinations in between. Remember, to split a pair they must be of the same value, so this means that you can split a King and a Queen, as they are both valued at 10 in a game of blackjack, as are the Jack and the 10; so any 10 value cards, although they do not necessarily have to match on face appearance, because they are all the same value, they can nonetheless be split.  Do check with the croupier though as not all blackjack sites allow you to split different face bards.

When you have been dealt this type of hand in blackjack, the choice is open to you to break up the pair, and subsequently use each of the individual cards in subsequent hands. You will then also be able to opt for a break; the initial card will be the one to your right, then the one to your left.

Aside from the 10 value cards, what are some of the other cards you can split in a game of blackjack? Well, you are also able to split a pair of aces, but this is a little more complex than the simple 10 value splitting of cards.

In the majority of casinos you are only allowed to be dealt one subsequent card to each of the split aces. What, then, will happen if you draw a 10 value card with a split ace? You may believe that this would amount to a blackjack, but this is not necessarily the case. A 10 value card with a split ace will often be deemed to be 21, rather than the standard blackjack it would be had you been dealt these cards in one round, and as such you will only receive odds of 1:1, so for every $5 you put down, you would get $5 in return.

When you get a 21 with a split ace and a 10 value card then you will draw with the dealer if he gets 21 out of, either split pairs, or three cards and more, but you will never beat a dealers blackjack in this situation. So, why split pairs? We have thus far discussed what split pairs in blackjack actually are, some of the different possible situations that arise, and so on. But, there remains to be answered a major, and significant, question; why would a player want to split a pair in a game of blackjack?

There are three general reasons why a split should be undertaken. Firstly, and most obviously, the reason to split a pair is because the player is not content with the fashion in which the particular hand is progressing. There are times when beginning a round with a pair is clearly going to be less profitable than a split, and that is the main reason for a split. For example, if you are dealt two 10 value cards and you know that the only way of winning is to make 21 with one card, but you know already that a blackjack is out of the question, you may wish to split the pair so that in the following hands you may be dealt an ace and the result would be that you get blackjack (depending on the particular rules you are playing).

Secondly, by splitting the pairs in a game of blackjack, you actually increase your chances of gaining 21, either as a blackjack or as a straightforward 21. Thirdly, when a player splits a pair, they actually end up by reducing the overall odds of the house by 0.5%, a small, but nonetheless beneficial advantage.

If you examine the lower part of the table below you will see what the optimal strategy is for splitting pairs, i.e. when exactly you should be splitting and when you should hit or stick instead if you want to maximise the odds in your favour.