Blackjack splitting chart and strategy

Many blackjack players are aware of the splitting strategy and chart. However, a large number do not take the time to learn it or memorize it properly. Because they are unable to apply it, they are losing the opportunity to seriously increase their potential winnings.

blackjack splitting chart

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The aim of the splitting strategy

One of blackjack’s many interesting rules is the option to split your hand. This offers experienced players the chance to outwit the casino dealer. If you receive two identical cards (a pair), you can split your hand into two. This can double your chance of getting a blackjack, 21 or another hand that beats the dealer.

This strategy isn’t without its risks. Novice players may be tempted to split every pair they receive; whereas an experienced player will follow an optimal splitting strategy. Knowing when to split your hand is key. The list below offers a simplified guide on when – and when not – to split.

When to split your cards

If you're new to splitting, remember these golden rules:

  • You should always split aces and 8s. Relying on the basic assumption that the card you will be dealt next is a 10-value card, then you will split a pair of aces or 8s whatever the dealer’s hand.
  • If you split a pair of aces, you are giving up a soft 12 for two potential blackjacks.
  • This is also the case for splitting a pair of 8s. A hand of 16 becomes potentially two hands of 18 using the same logic.
  • Split 2, 3 and 7 if the dealer has an up-card between 2 and 7.
  • If the dealer is showing an 8, do not and take a simple hit.
  • Split 6 if the dealer shows an up-card between 2 and 6.
  • Split 9 only if the dealer shows an up-card other than 7.
  • A pair of aces is the best possible hand for a player to have in blackjack.

When not to split your cards

You should never split 5s or 10s. The logic behind this is that whatever the dealer’s up-card, the player has a higher probability of winning with the cards served rather than splitting them.

Basic strategies all assume that the following card dealt will be a 10. Therefore two 5s (which together form a hard 10) would potentially become two hands of 15 if split. Statistically speaking, it is better to have a 10 total, as there are 20 cards in a deck of 52-cards that will give you a total of 20 or 21.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend that you keep in mind these two simple rules:

  • Always split aces or 8s
  • Never split 5s or 10s
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