Want to know when to split in blackjack? Dying to understand why the blackjack split can help your long-term profits and reduce the house edge? With our beginner’s guide, we’ll show you why pair splitting can be one of the most powerful weapons in the blackjack player’s arsenal.
Learn when you can split in blackjack and which online variants are the best to play. You can even test your skills in exciting freeplay games top online NJ casino sites.
What’s the Point of Splitting in Blackjack?
So, what’s blackjack split? Simply, it’s a move where a player can split pairs into two separate hands. You place a separate bet for your new hand equal to your original wager and continue to hit or stand on both hands.
Most online blackjack variants let you split all pairs, and some even let you split aces. The benefit of splitting in blackjack is that it gives a player two chances to beat the dealer. Splitting also reduces the house edge of the game.
For example, let’s say your initial bet is $10 and are dealt 6-6. Against the dealer's upcard of 3, you can create two hands that have a chance of beating the dealer. You split the 6-6 and place an additional bet of $10 down. Your hands could become:
6-10 (total 16) and 6-9 (total 15)
You stand on your 16 and 15 given the dealer is showing a 3, and the dealer shows a hole card of 10 then draws a face card to go bust. You have won two even-money bets instead of one.
RELATED: When to Hit or Stand Blackjack Strategy
Blackjack Splitting Rules
In most online blackjack games, you can split all pairs. You keep receiving cards on the split hands until you want to stand. But there are subtle differences in the split rules, depending on the blackjack game variant.
Most online blackjack variants in New Jersey have the same blackjack split rules. In NetEnt’s Blackjack, Atlantic City Blackjack by NYX, Blackjack Surrender and Vegas Blackjack you can only split pairs once. No re-splitting is allowed.
And if you split aces, only one additional card is dealt to each ace. Once you receive your second card, the hand is finished. Some Vegas casinos allow you to re-split aces. This reduces the house edge as it gives you a higher chance of making at least one blackjack.
Super Fun 21 isn’t widely available online in New Jersey, but it has a unique rule on the blackjack split. In Super Fun 21, you can double down after a split, plus you can re-split up to four hands, aces included.
Evolution Gaming’s Free Bet Blackjack takes a whole new take on the gameplay. Some double downs and splits are free in this blackjack game. You can split all pairs except 10s, totally free.
When You Should Split in Blackjack
Blackjack split rules are quite easy to follow. But what about understanding when to split in blackjack?
The best move is to follow a cheat sheet that provides you with the basic strategy needed to be successful. This gives you the optimal play depending on your cards and the dealer's upcard.
You can find a good cheat sheet online, but here are our top takeaways on knowing when to split in blackjack:
Split 2-2 and 3-3 if the dealer has 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
It’s bad to have a low total versus the dealer's low upcard. You have a chance to draw to 14 or 16, which may not be enough against the dealer. A better move is to split your 2s and 3s and make two brand new hands.
One strategy is to split 2s and 3s if the dealer shows a 2 or 3 and you are allowed to double down after splitting.
Split 7-7 if the dealer shows 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
14 is a tricky total to play. A better move is to split your 7s if the dealer's up card is low. Attempt to draw to 17+ on both hands and hope the dealer busts. Even if the dealer stands on hard 17, the hand will push (tie) and you will receive your original bet back.
Split 8-8 and A-A
16 can be a good blackjack hand but you risk being beaten by the dealer hitting 17 or higher. It’s a much better move to split 8s and try to make at least one hand worth 18 or higher. You should split 8s, regardless of what upcard the dealer shows.
If the casino or game allows, splitting aces is a no-brainer. You optimize your chances of making blackjack, and possibly two.
When Splitting May Not Be a Good Idea
You know when to split in blackjack, but when should you avoid splitting? It can be tempting to split pairs and create new hands, but you need to understand the chances of your hand beating the dealer. Here are our top three tips for knowing when splitting is a bad idea.
Don’t split 5-5
Splitting 5s is one of the worst moves in blackjack. You create two new hands with 5 as its base. That puts you in a tricky spot if you hit and receive the wrong cards. It’s much better to double down and hope for a 10, face card or ace.
MORE BLACKJACK STRATEGY: When To Double Down, Including a Blackjack Strategy Chart
Don’t split 9-9 when the dealer has 7+
9-9 (total 18) is a strong hand to stand with in blackjack. With an upcard 7, the dealer has a good chance of drawing to 16 or 17 and going bust. If you split your nines, you may end up paying twice your initial bet but winning only once.
Don’t split 10s, jacks, queens or kings
Similarly, splitting 10s and 10-value cards like kings and queens takes out a lot of value from your hand. You are gambling on winning BOTH hands against the dealer. It’s better to stand on your 20 and win with one hand.
Final Thoughts on the Blackjack Split
The blackjack split helps you maximize your profits and reduces the house edge in the process. With this guide, you know when to split in blackjack and which hands to watch out for.
Check out our detailed blackjack guide for more advice on how to play this classic table game. We’ll also show you the best NJ casinos online where you can sign up and play for free.
Blackjack Split FAQ
Can a blackjack dealer split?
No. The dealer can only play one hand at a time.
Should you ever split 10s in blackjack?
No. Your total of 20 is already strong enough to beat the dealer a lot of the time.
How many times can you split in blackjack?
In most blackjack variants, you can only split pairs once. Some variations let you re-split pairs one time.
Should you split kings in blackjack?
No. A pair of kings makes 20, a strong blackjack hand.
Can you split face cards in blackjack?
Yes, but the best blackjack split advice is to stand on 20.