What is a Split in Blackjack? When and How to Split Explained

If you’re playing blackjack, you have the option of splitting pairs when the croupier deals you two cards of the same value.

But, exactly what is split in blackjack? When and how do you split in blackjack? Are there any blackjack split rules?

We’re here to answer all these questions and cover any other relevant points in this article, so read on!

What is a Split in Blackjack?

What is a Split in Blackjack?

To begin with, a split in blackjack is possible if a player’s two-card hand consists of the same value cards. For instance, a pair of twos, a pair of aces, and all the combinations in between them. A hand consisting of a King and a Queen can also be split as both cards are valued as 10 in blackjack. However, you should still double-check with the croupier as not all blackjack sites allow you to split different face cards.

Now, when it comes to the split, if your hand consists of the same value cards then you can choose to split the cards into two distinct hands. Once you do so, the dealer will give you two additional cards, one for each hand. For the split to be successful, you must place a bet on the hand you just created, which should be the same as the bet you started the game with.

When Can You Split in Blackjack?

In blackjack, some hands are beneficial to split while others are not so much if you want to maintain good odds. There are also hands where the decision to split is affected by the dealer’s up-card.

Below is a list of hands that you should always split, never split, and only split on certain occasions. Although these tips cannot guarantee a win, they can most certainly increase your chances of winning if you do decide to incorporate them into your game strategy.

Always Split

  • Aces – Since many cards have a value of 10 in blackjack, it is a good idea to split the aces. If you don’t, one of your aces will be assigned a value of one while another will be given a value of eleven. In this case, you will need a nine to reach 21 (or get a blackjack), which is harder than drawing a 10. Since the odds of drawing a 10 or a card with that value is higher, it makes more sense to split the aces than to continue to play with the original hand.
  • Eights – A hand consisting of two eights is considered to be quite poor. That’s why splitting it is a good idea. The split gives you a better opportunity to reach 21, unlike proceeding with the original hand. If you do not split the hand, any card above five will lead you to a bust which is going over 21 and thus losing the opportunity of getting a blackjack.

Never Split

  • Tens – Splitting tens is not that beneficial. It destroys a competitive hand that you cannot improve even if you split both of your hands.
  • Fours – With a pair of fours you have a pretty good chance of staying under 21. Even if you get an ace with a value of eleven, your total would make up 19. But if you split the fours, then you will have to wait for either a five, six, or a seven as only these cards can give you a better outcome after the split than your original pair could.
  • Fives – A hand of two fives, which make up 10, gives you a good total hand that can be more beneficial to you later on in the game rather than what you receive when splitting. If you decide to split you will most likely end up with a lower-value hand or one that is going to push you above 21 sooner than your original hand would.

Only Split If…

  • Your hand consists of twos, threes, or sevens while the dealer’s up-card is two to seven – These three hands are referred to as stinkers because they raise the probability that you will bust in one or two hits. That’s why if you split them, you will have better odds of winning.
  • Your hand consists of nines while the dealer’s up-card is two to six, eight, or nine – hitting on 18 is crazy but nonetheless, it is a hand that you can beat. Remaining in the same position isn’t the best choice. Thus, splitting is the way to go in this case.
  • Your hand consists of sixes while the dealer’s up-card is two to six – When it comes to probabilities, you are more likely to defeat the dealer if you split your cards rather than if you play them as they appear.

4 Top Rules for Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

Here are some rules you want to keep in the back of your head when you’re playing blackjack and thinking of splitting:

  • In some casinos, you are only allowed to split the same rank cards. So, for example, you can easily split a 10-10 hand but not a Queen-King hand.
  • After making the split, you may have limited opportunities to double down or further split your hands.
  • Following your first split, a combination of an Ace and a ten may be considered a non-blackjack 21.
  • Once you split the Aces, you are typically unable to do so again.


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FAQ on Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

Do you still have some questions about what is split in blackjack and all things related to it? Check out the most frequently asked questions on the topic:

#1. How do you split in blackjack?

If your hand consists of two of the same value cards then you have the opportunity to split, which means that your two cards get separated into two distinct hands.

#2. What pairs should you split in blackjack?

It is always a good idea to split a pair of Aces and eights. If you decide to do so you will end up with better odds of reaching 21 than if you continued playing with your original hand.

#3. Do you split 2s in blackjack?

You should split a hand that consists of twos only when the dealer’s up-card is two to seven. A hand of twos will lead you to bust in one or two hits but if you decide to split, you will increase your odds of winning.

#4. How many times can you split in blackjack?

It usually depends on the casino where you are playing the game. Some let you split more than once but others limit any possibilities of splitting after you have done so already.

#5. What are some disadvantages of splitting pairs in blackjack?

While splitting allows you to win twice as much as you would without splitting, the same goes for losing. You risk losing twice as much with splitting than without doing so.

#6. Can the dealer split in blackjack?

No, the dealer cannot split, double down, or surrender. The dealer can either bust, which means that his hand value goes over 21 or he does not bust and, in that case, the dealer wins if his hand value is higher than that of the remaining hands.

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Rhonda Wilson

Blackjack Expert

Having joined our team in 2021, Rhonda Wilson is our newest team member. She discovered her interest in blackjack in 2006 and has written blackjack reviews for several gambling sites.

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