Blackjack split rules and tips

Few card games are as ubiquitous as blackjack. The game has been a fan favorite for decades and continues to gain new fans daily. The draw is clear: blackjack has some of the best odds in the casino, and the game is simple to understand. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or new to the scene, mastering blackjack can be an incredibly rewarding process. Once you are ready to move on to more advanced moves, however, it’s time to do a bit of research. Sometimes in blackjack, split hands can be an excellent way to maximize earnings. 

Before you dive into advanced blackjack games and start to split hands with wild abandon, however, take a look at our splitting guide. We will make the process easy to understand.

What does split mean in blackjack?

A hand that is “split” in blackjack is a hand that has been divided to form two hands. This can potentially give players impressive wins, but it can be a difficult call to make. 

When to split in blackjack

First, hands can only be split when you are dealt two of the same card. If you are dealt a pair of tens, for example, you can split them to create two hands, each with the starting card of a ten. 

If you have a pair of tens, however, you should reconsider splitting them. A value of 20 is already likely to win. There is a good chance that you’re not going to be able to make a better hand than that, even when you split the pair, so consider keeping them together. 

Beyond that, however, the sky is the limit – as long as you keep blackjack split rules in mind.

When you decide to split, you place an equal bet to your original bet with the second hand (so you now have two bets in play). You will play the new hand – the hand to your right – immediately. The rules here are the same as they are in the rest of the game. The goal is to get to 21 or as close to it as possible without going over. You hit and stand just like you do it with your regular hand. 

Keep in mind that there is an exception to the standard split rules. Players who attempt to split a pair of aces are not allowed to draw until they are satisfied. Instead, they will receive one additional card for each hand. If you receive a ten or a ten-value card, you have blackjack. If you receive a two, on the other hand, your hand is stuck at 13 for the rest of the game. Because the payment for winning split hands is 1:1, however, even if you get a blackjack on a second hand, the payout will still be 1:1.

What cards should you split in blackjack? 

As we touched on above, not all pairs should be split. In fact, in blackjack rules, splitting requires a bit of thought. Let’s look at hands you should always split and hands to never split, along with everything in between. 

Always split the following:

  • Aces: Ten-value cards are plentiful, and splitting aces gives you a better chance to win.
  • Eights: A pair of eights is not a great hand – anything over a five, and it’s game over. Splitting them gives you better odds to win at least one of the hands.

Never split the following:

  • Tens: Splitting tens ruins a great hand that you are unlikely to beat.
  • Fours: A pair of fours might seem weak, but these are actually decent cards. You can hit without fear as you cannot go bust. If you split, however, only three cards will make it worth it: a five, six, or seven.
  • Fives: Ten is a great hand! A starting hand of five, however, is not. Consider playing off of the ten rather than off of two hands of five. 

Sometimes split:

  • A pair of two, threes, or sevens if the dealer’s card is two through seven.
  • A pair of nines if the dealer’s card is a two through six, an eight, or a nine.
  • A pair of sixes if the dealer’s card is two through six.

Is it smart to split in blackjack? 

Just because you can split doesn’t mean that you should. Take another look at the section above this, and you’ll see that there are relatively few “risk-free” splits, and even those can be risky in some situations. 

Before you decide to split anything, look around the table. If your split hands would need fives, sixes, or sevens (such as the situations described in the previous section) and you see a lot of them in play, you might want to reconsider. If the chances of you landing the cards you need to receive to make the split with it is low, you might want to just play the pair.

Splitting is not a beginner’s move. If you are just mastering blackjack rules, split cards might be a bit overwhelming. With time and practice, however, you will get there in no time.

Try it out 

What do you think of our tips? Starting anything new can be difficult, but we do our best to make playing blackjack as fun as possible. Not entirely sure you want to try your hand live yet? That’s all right – you can practice for free! At Resorts Casino, we offer the best gaming experiences on the market, whether you are playing live or are enjoying a rousing computer-directed game. 

If you’d like to get some practice before you start playing for real, we can help. We offer free demo play on our website, including on a number of casino games. You won’t be able to win real money, of course, because you won’t be spending any money to play. But that’s kind of the point; you can still learn the basics and refine your technique before opting for real-money play. Our demo games are always fair and offer our players the same kind of house edge they can expect in real table games.

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Author: Tanya Fields

Campaign Acquisition Manager Length with RC: 1 year, 9 months Favorite Casino Game: Starburst Background in iGaming: Opened the iGaming Department at Hard Rock Atlantic City in 2018 in both Customer Service, and then CRM, prior to moving over to RC in January 2021 Location: Based in NJ at the RC HQ Content: Occasionally, but only as it pertains to RC

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