When to Split in Blackjack

Posted By: Date: 10/13/2012 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Blackjack is an extremely popular game played by millions of gamblers all over the world. The game has been around for centuries and, over that time, has been reproduced in so many ways. Each variation of blackjack has its own distinct rules; the difference ranging anywhere from ever so slight to radically diverse.  One thing just about every game of 21 has in common is the ability for a player to Split their original hand into two hands if the first two cards dealt are equal. But again, the rules of splitting can vary greatly from one version of blackjack to another.

To split a hand, the player must wager an additional bet, equal to the original bet, to be placed on the new hand. If the player wagered $5 to start, they must put another $5 wager on the newly produced hand.

The two cards being split are separated, one on the first hand, and the other on the second hand. The first hand is then played out in normal fashion. A second card is dealt to this hand, and the player will choose to Hit, Stand, Double or Re-Split (if applicable). The same process is applied to the new hand as well.

Variations in the Rules of Splitting in Blackjack

There are many rules that may vary in regards to splitting cards in blackjack. They are all detailed below. Make sure you know the rules of splitting for the specific blackjack variation you intend to play before putting any bets on the table.

Exact Pairs Only: Most blackjack games only allow the player to split an exact pair, such as 4+4, 10+10, K+K or A+A.

Equal Value Splits: Some variations of blackjack give the player the option to split any cards of the same value, rather than rank. This means that the player could split a Jack and King, because they are each valued at 10. However, proper blackjack strategy would rarely, if ever, suggest splitting up an excellent hand of 20.

Number of Splits: All blackjack variations will put a limit on exactly how many times a player is permitted to split during a single round of blackjack. The most common limit is 3 splits per round, producing a maximum of 4 blackjack hands.

Splitting Aces, No Hit: In many cases, when a player splits Aces, they are not permitted to take any additional cards on either hand. One more card is dealt to each hand, producing two, 2-card blackjack hands. The player must automatically stand on the resulting totals.

Splitting Aces, No Natural Blackjack: Almost every blackjack game will enforce this rule. When splitting aces, if an Ace is dealt a 10 or Face Card, the result is only a total of 21, not a natural blackjack.

Re-Splitting Aces: Some blackjack rules will permit or restrict a player from re-splitting after splitting Aces, which would produce a third Ace-inspired hand. 

No Splitting of Aces: It is not a common rule, but some blackjack variations will not allow the splitting of Aces at all.

No Double after Splitting: In some less common variations of blackjack, players are not permitted to Double Down on a hand that has been split.

Late Surrender after Splitting: In blackjack games where the Late Surrender rules exists, a player is normally permitted to take the Surrender option after splitting. The player would choose to forfeit one or both hands, losing half of the amount wagered on any hand surrendered, and keeping the other half.

Bonus Payouts Void: Pay close attention to blackjack games with bonus bets as splitting or doubling will often void the opportunity to receive any bonus winnings.