A blackjack split allows players to split their original hand into two separate bets if the two cards are of the same value. Using a split is a useful tool in a bettor’s arsenal, as it can swing the percentages in your favor and give you an edge over the dealer’s hand.

Read on to discover exactly when to split in a game of blackjack and when it’s better not to.

The Thrill of Splitting in Blackjack

The first question you need to know the answer to is when can you split in a game of blackjack? And the answer is you can do so when you have two cards of the same value in your blackjack games.

When you split, you are essentially separating your hand into two separate hands and you will receive an additional card for each. This also means that you will need to double your original stake.

While the core of blackjack strategy split rules and how to split during a game are the same at every in-person and online casino, certain rules can differ, so make sure to check the rules at the casino before you start playing.

  • Splitting 10’s – Although, probability dictates that to split tens is never a good idea, should you want to, you need to know if a casino allows splitting of all cards with a value of ten, i.e. you can split a jack and a king, or if they only allow splits of exact pairs i.e. you are able to split two jacks but not a jack and a king.
  • Doubling down after the split – Some casinos do not allow you to double down in blackjack after splitting.
  • Splitting a split – Some casinos have rules about the number of splits you can make after the initial split.
  • Splitting aces – Some casinos do not consider it a blackjack if you have split aces and received a 10, but rather just a score of 21. This means you will not get the blackjack payout of 3:2 or in many casinos now 6:5.
  • Hitting after splitting aces – Should you split aces in blackjack most casinos will only allow you to hit only once.

Understanding the Blackjack Split

Now you have an understanding of what a split is, you may want to know when to split and why. A split should only be done when you can maximize your profits by taking advantage of a dealer’s position, you have a probability of improving your additional hand or in some cases, to limit your losses.

Below we go over scenarios when it’s in a player’s favor to split in a game and when it’s better not to.

When to Split In Blackjack Games

Aces and Eights

Probability dictates you should always split aces in blackjack. Cards with a value of 10 are the most commonly drawn in blackjack so splitting your aces gives you a good chance of hitting blackjack and should you draw a 9, 8,7, or even a 6 you will still have a solid hand with a good chance of winning or at least pushing.

If you stick with your pair of aces your hand has a value of twelve. Should you then hit and draw a 10, you are right back to have twelve as now both your aces have a value of one. This leaves you in a precarious position as a ten means you go bust in blackjack games.Understanding a blackjack split: Always split aces

Two eights is also another hand that most pros, and the probability, suggests you should split.

This is because a total of sixteen means you can only win if the dealer busts, and hitting on sixteen is likely to make you do so. Splitting the eights gives you a higher percentage chance of winning at least one of your hands, meaning you will not lose money.

However, there are a few experts who think that splitting pairs isn’t necessarily the best option and you should just cut your losses or hope the dealer busts, but the majority of blackjack pros will advise you to always split eights.

Dependent on the Dealer’s Upcard

Unlike with Aces, there are certain blackjack hands where splitting is a good idea depending on the dealer’s upcard.

  • Twos, threes, and sevens – These three hands are seen as pretty awful and that’s because the probability of going bust in one or two hits is very high. Splitting these pairs is a good idea if the dealer’s upcard is between a four and seven. Should the dealer’s upcard be a two or a three you should also split, but only if the casino you are playing at lets you double down after a split. If not then your best bet is to hit
  • Nines – While eighteen is a solid hand, it’s still very beatable. If a dealer is showing either two- six or an eight or a nine then it’s best to split your nines.
  • Sixes – If the dealer’s upcard is two-six then splitting is your best option.

Understanding when to split in blackjack. Pair of sixes

When Splitting Pairs Isn’t Necessary


A score of twenty in blackjack results in a win for a player 70.2% of the time, 17.5% a push, and only a 12.2% chance of losing. This is why you should never split 10s as it just turns a very strong hand into potentially two weak hands.

blackjack split 10


A pair of fours is a fairly decent starting hand in blackjack as you can not go bust if you hit and should you get a ten or an Ace you’ll have a very solid hand. Splitting the hand gives you a fairly high probability of ending up with two weak hands and in the process doubling your stake.

However, should the dealer’s upcard be a 5 or a 6 and the casino lets you double down after splitting then you should take this opportunity as there is a 42 percent chance the dealer could go bust.


A pair of fives means you have a value of ten which is the perfect number to hit on as you can not go bust and anything from an Eight to Ace is going to leave you with a good to great hand. If you split pairs like this, you are going to be left with a lower-value hand or one that leaves you much more likely to bust.

Try A Split in a Game of Blackjack

After reading this article you should now have a good understanding of the answer to what does it mean to split in blackjack? In addition, you should also have a clear idea of when it’s a good idea to split and when not to. Your next step is to find a great blackjack casino and try out what you have learned.


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