Blackjack split: what does it mean in rules and when splitting cards?

In blackjack, the ability to split your cards can be vital to increasing your chances of winning and reducing your casino advantage. For long-term success, it’s very important to understand when to use this opportunity. Also, take all the advantages and disadvantages into consideration.

Blackjack table

What does a split in blackjack

A blackjack split is the separation of two identical cards a player receives from the dealer. When we split, we must place an additional bet equal to our original wager to cover the second hand. Our original matching cards will then be physically separated from each other to form two hands. At this point, we will be dealt an additional card for each new hand. We now play our hands one at a time, just as we would if we had bet two hands at the beginning of the round. We can opt to hit, stand, double up, and even split again if the opportunity arises (although some games do not allow us to resplit).

Players use splitting in blackjack

Split rules

Most styles of blackjack will allow you to double down on split hands, as well as re-split your hands if the opportunity arises. However, blackjack split rules can vary from club to club. 

Ace splitting 

Because of the popularity of splitting aces in blackjack, if a split ace receives a card of Ten, some casinos according to their rules will not regard this as a natural blackjack and will pay out 1:1 rather than 3:2. If the club allows ace splits, most often you will only be dealt one card after splitting. Some casinos do not allow splitting aces.

Subsequent splitting

This situation is possible, but rather rare. A simple example: you are dealt a pair of Fours. You decide to split them and ask for more cards for each hand. Lo and behold! For one or even both hands, you are dealt Fours again. You have the right to split again. If blackjack is played with multiple decks, this can happen several times. Usually, each casino has an additional rule governing how many times you are allowed to split in blackjack.

Splitting Tens and pictures 

In some UK gambling establishments, the blackjack rules ban splitting Fours, Fives, and Tens. Sometimes, quite rarely, you can refuse to play one of the hands after splitting the cards. There are several other particular blackjack cases encountered in the split, it depends entirely on the imagination of the casino owners, so it's quite difficult to predict everything. 

Cards while splitting in blackjack

When to split: what cards to split in blackjack

A common misconception for many regarding splitting cards is that they should do it every time they get a matching pair of the same value. Like all blackjack moves, splitting should be carefully considered, and the dealer’s up-card should always be taken into consideration.

There are no strict blackjack rules for when to split on a pair of identical cards (other than those stipulated in the rules), so each player decides for himself. However, certain pairs do not make sense to split. 

  1. For example, Tens, Pictures, or Fives. In the first two cases, the player already has a strong combination. In the third case, it does not make sense to split Fives, since after getting an additional card (with the ten points you already have) there is a very high chance of having a good combination.
  2. If you're holding a pair of eights, it makes sense to split blackjack. It's well known that the chance of getting a good combination if one of the cards is an Eight is very high. 
  3. A split is desirable with a pair of Sixes or Sevens if the dealer's up-card is a card from 2 to 7. That's because with a starting hand of 12 or 14, losing is very likely, since the dealer will be expected to draw more, and you'll bust if you draw a third card (more often than not).
  4. With Twos or Threes, it does not matter what decision you make, as it all depends on luck. You may guess, getting a double chance to win after a split, or you may lose.