Casino Games Rules And Strategy Lessons

## Blackjack Splitting Strategy

When a player's first two dealt cards are of equal rank then he is entitled to immediately make a special move, which is known as 'split'. As the name suggests the player can split his hand into two hands and take one more card in each hand. He then plays each of his two hands in turn in the normal way. In order to split the player has to place a wager equal to the wager already placed. Then the wins or losses of each hand are considered independently as if two different players are playing the two hands.

Just because a player can split that does not mean that he should split. There are occasions when he must never split, there are occasions when he must always split and there are occasions when his splitting or not depends on the dealer's face up card. If the player holds two like ranked 10 value cards then he must not split. A hand value of 20 is near perfect. By splitting the player may get a blackjack or even two but the chances of this are remote. In some blackjack variants the rules allow splitting 10 value cards of different ranks, like a king and a ten. Usually this is not allowed because a king and a ten are of different ranks. Do not get fooled by such rules. The same logic applies. A hand value of 20 is the same whether made up of two queens or a king and a jack.

Never split two fives. Two fives give a hand value of 10. The theory says that the most probable card dealt will have a value of 10. Hence if a players hits with two fives then he has a good chance of reaching a hand value of 20. He may get a blackjack with a hit, which is even better. Even if he is next dealt a nine or an eight he will be in a comfortable position with a hand value of 19 or 18. If a player splits fives he is likely to get caught in no man's land with hand values of about 15 in both hands. The same argument applies to a lesser degree to two fours. The simple strategy is not to split fours.

A player must always split aces. Two aces give a hand value of either 12 or 2. In both cases if players hit then they will go bust more often than not. If they split, however they stand a reasonable chance of getting a blackjack and a more than reasonable chance of ending up with a valid hand value of over 18. Similarly two nine and two eights must be split by players using the simple strategy.

For pairs of twos, threes, sixes and sevens the decision to split or not depends on the dealer's face up card. If the dealer's face up card is an eight, nine, ace or a 10 value card then the player should not split. In these cases the dealer is in a position of strength and is likely to reach a hand value of over 18. There is no point in risking an additional wager in this case. However if the dealer's face up card is a seven or less then the dealer is in a weak position as he is more likely to go bust. Therefore players should exploit the situation by playing two hands.

The above strategies are based on simple reasoning. Advanced strategies have been developed by using computer simulation and are presented as blackjack strategy cards. Players having access to these strategy cards should follow the strategies indicated therein. These strategies are only marginally different from the simple strategies.

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