When to split in blackjack: know what to do in blackjack casinos

When to split in blackjack: know what to do in blackjack casinos.

In blackjack, the act of splitting pairs can make the difference between whether you win or lose. With every deal faced, you need to decide whether to split identical cards into separate hands to increase your chances of success against the dealer. In this guide, we’ll tell you how and when to do this. 

Back to blackjack basics

Before we explore splitting in blackjack, it’s important to know the fundamental principles of the casino game. Blackjack is also known as 21. It is a classic game enjoyed by many in casinos. The aim is to have a hand that totals as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. Each player is dealt two cards initially. Numbered cards hold their face value while face cards are 10s. Aces, however, can either be 11 or 1. Players can choose to stand (not take more cards), hit (receive another card), double down (double their bet and receive one more card), or split (divide identical pairs into two hands). 

What is splitting in blackjack?

Splitting is a strategic blackjack move. When a player is dealt two identical cards, e.g., two 7s or two Aces, they can choose to split them into two individual hands. This means they’ve got their own independent bet that is equal to your original wager. The hands are then played out separately following the normal rules of play. Splitting means you create two chances to beat the dealer—and means you can double your winnings if both hands are successful. It does also increase your risk too. Knowing when to split is vital.  


There are two main types of split: 

  • Pair split: This is the most common and describes what we’ve outlined above.  
  • Re-split: This is allowed on some game variations. It means you can split again if you get another pair so that you end up with three hands.  

When should you split?

Knowing when to split means you can maximise your chances of winning. Here are some suggestions: 

  1. When you get 8s or Aces. This means you can start two separate hands with strong card values each.  
  2. When you get 9s if the dealer’s upcard is weak. That is, if it is between 2 and 6.  
  3. When you get 7s if the dealer’s upcard is between 2 and 7. 
  4. If you get 6s when the dealer’s upcard is 2-6.  
  5. If there are fewer decks. Splitting is more favourable with fewer decks, especially if you have a pair of 8s or Aces. 

Splitting restrictions

Sometimes casinos and games have restrictions on splitting. Sometimes there are rules to say you can’t split certain pairs like 4s, 5s or cards that have a value of 10. Sometimes you also aren’t allowed to re-split. 

Splitting in blackjack FAQs

When should I consider splitting in blackjack?

If you are dealt a pair of cards with the same rank you can split. Deciding to split depends on the dealer’s upcard. If it is weak, it’s often a good idea to split.

Can I split more than once?

This depends on the game and the rules. Make sure you read these before playing.  

What happens if I split aces?

Most casinos only allow you to get an additional card for each ace. If you receive a 10-value card but you’ve split, it’s normally classed as a hand of 21 and not blackjack.

Final thoughts on when to split in blackjack

Deciding when to split in blackjack isn’t easy. By understanding the basic ideas of splitting as outlined in this guide, you’re more likely to be successful with it and make wise decisions. Remember, it’s not just about what cards you get but also what the dealer’s upcard is like.