Splitting pairs is quite common in Blackjack and we explore it in this post.
Blackjack is a game of chance played between two players against a dealer or house. The object of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand by achieving a total val
ue equal to or less than 21 without busting (going over 21). A basic strategy consists of choosing whether to hit, stand or double down. This decision is made after considering the player’s hand and the dealer’s face card. Some advanced strategies take into account the number of decks being dealt with and the dealer’s previous betting patterns.
Playing Blackjack & Their Outcomes
When playing blackjack, the dealer’s face cards count as 11 points each, and the rest of his/her cards count as their face values. If the dealer has a ten-value card, he/she can either draw another card from the deck or pass. If the dealer draws a new card, then the player gets three options: Hit, Stand, or Double Down.
If you choose to double down, you must place an additional wager equal to half your original bet. You will receive two more cards added to your current hand. Your second option is to hit if you have an ace or 10, otherwise, it’s a pass.
The dealer now deals one more card to both players, even if they’re standing, so this step may result in splitting the pair. If the dealer has an Ace up, he/she draws a third card to complete the split.
Splitting pairs is not a very common occurrence during play because most gamblers know how risky it is. However, when there is a high likelihood of getting paired with another 2 or 3, you should consider making a small bet and doubling your initial wager. You’ll be required to make only one additional bet for the next round of play. By doing this, you can cover all possibilities of winning at least 4 times what your original bet was worth.
You should note that splitting pairs means losing half of what you originally staked when compared to hitting and passing. But, if you split a pair, you increase your chances of winning twice what you initially put down.
There’s no right or wrong way to split a pair. It depends entirely on what happens during the other rounds of play. The important thing is to assess the situation and decide if it’s time to double down or split. When you do, the dealer will deal one more card to you. So do not hesitate to make an immediate decision.
If your first decision is to split a pair, the dealer will reveal the fifth card. Depending on where the 5th card falls amongst the remaining three cards, the dealer will either give you one or two cards. For example, if the 5th card is placed in the center, then you will get two cards. On the other hand, if the 5th is placed next to the lowest card, then you will get only one card.
As soon as you see which card(s) you are going to get, you’re advised to make the appropriate action. It doesn’t matter which card is higher or lower; it’s just about the placement of these five cards.
Tips on Splitting Pairs Effectively in Blackjack
Tip #1: Choose the Right Hands
The first thing you need to determine when splitting is which hands you should split and which ones you should leave alone. For instance, if you have a Queen-King against an Ace-Jack, you probably shouldn’t split; however, if you’ve got a Jack-Queen versus an 8 vs 2, you might want to consider splitting.
Tip #2: Be Careful With Two Pair
As you learned earlier, splitting doubles your bet size, which means that you can easily run into trouble with two pairs. There are three ways to handle this situation. The first way is to just stay away from running up too much of a tab. The second option is to check yourself after every hand. If you’re not sure how much money you’ll be able to cover, don’t risk it! Lastly, there’s always the third option — you can make some insurance bets.
Tip #3: Split Against Three Of A Kind
It is also important to remember that you should never split any three of a kind unless it’s a straight flush. While this sounds like a good idea, it leads to more losses than wins. Because the dealer knows that you’re likely to hit again, he or she will usually take advantage by giving you less than four cards. This is why it is best to avoid splitting three of a kind altogether.
Advantages of Splitting Pairs in Blackjack
1. More Money to Play
In many casinos, a player is allowed to bet $10 per hand. After all, the house edge in blackjack is generally around 1%. Therefore, players who can hit or stand, win or lose, their entire $10 per hand may be out of luck. That’s if they don’t split their wagers.
With a single $10 bet, a player could potentially win anywhere from 0% to 60%, depending on his or her skill level. If you were to use the same amount of money per hand but doubled it (by betting $20), you would have better odds of winning.
According to Las Vegas Casino City, “a player who cashes out over 70% of his bets with even money will come out ahead.” So what does that mean? Well, for starters, it means that you can play longer without getting bored. Furthermore, splitting pairs is great because it gives you flexibility in deciding whether to go all-in or fold.
2. More Fun
Some people enjoy playing with multiple opponents while others prefer to play solo. As long as you feel comfortable, splitting your bets is no different than doubling them. You still end up with the same number of hands at the table, so you simply need to decide which type of game suits your style better.
3. Lower House Edge
By splitting your bets, you reduce your chances of winning big. However, since you’re not doubling your wager each time, you increase your odds of losing big. In fact, according to our friends at OnlineCasino.ca, the average house edge is only about 0.8% for someone who splits. Compare this to an average of 4.4% for someone who puts all of his or her chips on one side of the table.
4. Less Losing Streaks
We already mentioned that doubling the amount of cash you gamble increases your potential profits, right? But we didn’t mention that doubling the stakes also reduces your chances of hitting bad beats.
For example, let’s say you put down $100 on a particular hand. If you get dealt an Ace and then an eight, you’d essentially lose $400 ($100 + $300). With doubling your wager, however, you now have the chance to win half of that $400 — or $200. Now, if you happen to get dealt another Ace and ten, you’re still looking at a loss of $400. But instead of having to deal with losing twice as much money, you’ve just lost $200… and are now left with $200 to play with!
5. Lower Chances of Going Bust
While doubling your bets increases your potential profit, it also decreases your chances of going bust. This is because you’re making far fewer bets per hour; therefore, you have a lower likelihood of blowing through all your hard-earned cash. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you play a 10-hour session and make $50 worth of bets. At the start of your session, you’re sitting pretty with $500. By the time the session ends, however, there’s a good chance that you’ll be in debt.
Now, suppose that instead of doubling your bets, you just tripled them. What happens when you double your bets? Your total pot doubles, which means that you have a larger percentage of your total bankroll tied up in the game. When you make three bets instead of two, you’re taking more risks and thereby reducing your chances of going bust by a significant margin.
6. Better Odds of Winning Big
Another benefit of splitting is that it can help ensure that you win consistently. For example, let’s say that you split your initial bet into four separate sub-bets (or stacks) of $25. The bottom stack has 1/13 odds of beating any given hand. Meanwhile, the top stack has 12/13 odds of beating the same hand. Since you know that these odds favor you, you might want to stick with the middle stack. And if you do, then you’ll likely find yourself holding the best-of-three prize in hand.
7. It’s Easy to Do
As we mentioned earlier, most online casinos allow you to make multiple wagers at once. While some players may balk at the idea of doubling their wagers, they often don’t realize that they can easily split their bets. All they need to do is click “split” when prompted after placing their first bet.
The real question isn’t whether splitting will improve your poker game. Instead, it’s whether you can afford to spend so much of your hard-earned money on gambling. As always, try to keep in mind what kind of player you are before deciding whether to split or not.
If you’re prone to chasing losses, then you’ll probably end up doing more harm than good by doubling your bets. On the other hand, if you’re willing to take bigger risks and go all-in every round, then you may see better results by doubling your bets.