Mastering Blackjack: Cards You Should Always Split

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Blackjack, often known as the game of 21, is a staple of casinos around the world. Mastering this game requires understanding not just the basics but also employing advanced strategies to tilt the odds in your favor. A significant part of this strategy involves knowing what cards you should always split. Splitting pairs can drastically alter the flow of the game, and making the right decision can be the difference between winning big or losing it all. This guide dives deep into the art of splitting in Blackjack, ensuring you make the most informed decisions at the table.

Understanding When to Split in Blackjack

Before we delve into specifics, it’s crucial to understand that splitting is only an option when you’re dealt a pair of the same rank on your initial hand. This move requires an additional bet equal to your original wager, effectively giving you two chances to beat the dealer. However, not all pairs are worth splitting, and doing so at the wrong time can increase the house edge instead of reducing it.

Cards You Should Always Split


Splitting Aces is a golden rule in Blackjack. Given that there are more cards with a value of 10 in the deck, starting with two potential blackjacks is an opportunity too good to pass up. Keep in mind, though, most casinos limit you to drawing only one additional card on each Ace after a split.


Another pair you should always split is eights. Holding a 16 is often considered the worst hand in Blackjack, as it’s risky to hit (since you can easily bust) but weak if you stand. Splitting eights give you a chance to turn a weak hand into a winning situation.

Conditional Splits

While Aces and Eights are almost universally accepted splits, other pairs warrant splitting under specific conditions. Here’s a quick rundown:

Pair Split If Dealer Shows
Twos or Threes 2 through 7
Fours 5 or 6 (only if doubling after a split is allowed)
Fives Never Split (Treat as a 10 and double down)
Sevens 2 through 7
Nines 2 through 6, 8, 9 (Avoid splitting against 7, 10, or Ace)

Tips for Mastering Splits in Blackjack

  • Practice Basic Strategy: Understanding the fundamental strategies of Blackjack can significantly improve your game, especially when it comes to splitting.
  • Know the Rules: Casino rules regarding splitting can vary, affecting your strategy. Ensure you’re familiar with these rules before playing.
  • Consider the Dealer’s Hand: Always take the dealer’s upcard into account when deciding to split, as it greatly influences the potential outcome of your hands.
  • Manage Your Bankroll: Since splitting requires an additional bet, make sure you manage your bankroll wisely to sustain your play and maximize profitability.

Splitting in Blackjack can seem daunting first, but with practice and strategic understanding, it becomes a powerful tool in your arsenal. Remember, the key is not just knowing what cards to split, but also when and why to split them. Master these elements, and you’ll step up your Blackjack game significantly.

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