When to Split in Blackjack

Pair of Aces on a Blackjack Table With a Man Shrugging in Front

Millions of people play blackjack for money every year. The best blackjack players are even able to walk away with a profit despite the slight house edge. If you want to join them, then you will need to count on more than just luck.

Knowing the rules of blackjack is a must for anyone who plans to risk money on the game. That includes understanding when and how to split blackjack hands. We will cover all of that and more right here.

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to split in blackjack. We will also tell you the best places to play blackjack online.

What Does It Mean to Split Blackjack Hands?

Let’s start with the basics; what does it mean to split blackjack hands? Essentially, splitting your hand allows you to start two new hands with the cards you were originally dealt. Doing this allows players to have two chances to get to 21 and beat the dealer.

Playing two hands at once increases your chance of getting a winning combination. Of course, this does not come free. You have to bet on each hand separately. This also means that you can win double if the dealer ends up with a weak hand.

Blackjack Splitting Rules

Not every hand you are dealt will be eligible to be split in blackjack. In order to use this feature, a player must be dealt two cards of equal value, otherwise known as a pair. A pair is the only hand where players are given the option of splitting in blackjack.

Players can split any pair they are dealt, but that does not mean you always should. Also, make sure you understand the casino’s rules for players who split their blackjack hands. You need to know how to tell the dealer you want to split and whether this affects your payout odds or not.

It is also important to know how many times you are allowed to split. If you are dealt pairs again after splitting once, some venues will not allow you split again. Others will allow it, meaning you can potentially have up to four hands being played at once.

Pros and Cons of Blackjack Splitting

Before you go splitting every pair you are dealt, there are some pros and cons of splitting you should be aware of. Knowing the pros and cons of a split blackjack hand can help you decide whether to use this feature. Here are some of the arguments for and against splitting a hand in blackjack.

Pros of Blackjack Splitting

The biggest argument for splitting a blackjack hand is that it immediately increases the amount you can win that hand. Splitting lets you maximize your earning potential as few other options can.

When done correctly, a split hand in blackjack allows you to take advantage of a weak dealer hand. Ultimately, the goal is to beat the dealer’s hand. If the dealer has a weak hand, splitting can let you take advantage of their weak hand twice.

Multiple Blackjack Hands on a Table

Another pro of splitting in blackjack is that it increases your odds of hitting blackjack. If you split aces, tens, or face cards then you now have two shots at hitting 21. Of course, there is risk involved in this maneuver as well.

Cons of Blackjack Splitting

A split blackjack hand can double a player’s earning potential on that round. However, it also requires players to bet on each hand separately. If the split goes wrong, you will lose twice your original stake amount.

Another issue to consider is that many casinos have special rules for split hands. For instance, hitting 21 on a split hand could be considered a non-blackjack 21. This means you will not get the special payout odds for the game’s signature hand.

Also, some casinos will limit your betting options after you split your hand, especially if Aces are involved. You may not be allowed to split again that round even if you receive another pair. You may even lose the ability to double down on hands for that round.

When to Split Blackjack Hands

If you want to master splitting hands, then you need to learn to recognize good splitting opportunities. It all starts with getting dealt pairs. The following pairs all represent good chances to use the splitting hands option.

  • Aces
  • Eights
  • Sevens if the deal has a weaker hand
  • Sixes if the dealer has a weaker hand
  • Threes if the dealer has a weaker hand
  • Twos if the dealer has a weak hand

Splitting Aces and Eights gives you a good shot at still landing a high hand. With aces, you obviously still have a great shot at hitting 21. You even have a great shot at hitting 21 twice in the same round.

Eights are also a high enough card to put in a great position post-split. Another eight or higher card will immediately give you a strong hand that the dealer will struggle to beat. It is also less risky than trying to get a five or lower by hitting on your original total of 16.

Sevens, sixes, threes, and twos can also give players a great chance to split their hands. However, these situations largely depend on what is showing in the dealer’s hand.

If you have a pair of sevens, and the dealer is showing a seven or weaker, then split. This gives two chances to try to beat the dealer from an equal standing. The same goes for sixes if the dealer has a six or weaker showing.

Casino Blackjack Table

You should also consider splitting twos or threes if the dealer’s face-up card is between a three and seven. Your chances of winning with a weak pair are low, to begin with. However, splitting your hand gives you two chances to improve your odds against a weak dealer’s hand.

When to Avoid Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

Of course, not every pair you are dealt is worth the risk of splitting. Splitting can sometimes weaken a strong hand. Other times the hand is too weak to take advantage of the extra earning opportunities.

Here are some hands that you should avoid splitting on.

  • Tens
  • Face Cards
  • Fives
  • Fours

Splitting tens and face cards may seem like a good idea at first. After all, you only need an ace to get to 21. You also have a great chance of ending with a strong hand. The problem is that you are sacrificing a great hand to do it.

The best outcome of splitting in these scenarios is that you either get an ace or end up with 20 again. You already have 20, and your chances of getting the ace are low. It is better to keep your original pair than water it down and lower your chances of winning.

You should also avoid splitting pairs of fives or fours. These hands are stronger as pairs and give you a better chance of winning if kept together. However, you should consider doubling down a pair of fives because you cannot bust no matter what you are dealt.

Where to Play Blackjack Online

Now that you know how to split in blackjack, you are probably eager to try it out. The best way to start using your new skill right now is with online blackjack games. You can start playing in just minutes at the best online casinos.

Our casino experts have spent years reviewing online gambling sites. Over that time period, we have created a list of the best casinos we could find on the web. Choosing any of our recommended casinos is a great way to start playing blackjack online.

We check every site we review from top to bottom, inside and out. That includes testing the games that the casino has to offer. We also ensure that the site is safe for players to use and offers great customer service.

According to our experts, the best casino for playing blackjack online is Wild Casino. This great gambling site has over three hundred casino games to choose from, including blackjack. You can get started in minutes thanks to Wild Casino’s great payment options.

Las Atlantis is another great option for people looking for online blackjack games. This casino even offers free versions of blackjack for you to try before playing the paid version. Players at Las Atlantis can also take advantage of a ton of great casino bonuses.

Our blackjack experts also highly recommend trying the blackjack games at Bovada. This casino has great customer support options and awesome live dealer games. Bovada also has a ton of free games, including blackjack.


Knowing when to split blackjack hands is a vital skill for any serious player. The tips above can help you learn to recognize when to split your hand. You should also know your other options, such as when to double down in blackjack.

To learn more about blackjack and more popular games, check out these blogs.

Posted in: StrategyTable Games

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