All pairs can be divided into blackjack. But should you always divide?

Well, not always. Splitting is an art and depends on the card that the dealer has a face-up.

Always Divide When:

Get Aces: Aces are rare in blackjack. With so many cards with a value of 10 in the pack, getting 21 is easier with an ace. You should always re-split your aces too.

Playing a hand with two aces is a bad strategy. Aces are worth 1 or 11. Drawing a second high card will get you 12 at best, which is not a good sum total.

Get eights: Two eights make 16, and if the dealer is able to stand with 16, at best, you end up in ‘push’ (tying the hand). It is better to play the two eights separately and look for 18 in both hands. Like aces, it always divides the eights again.

Do Not Divide When:

Get nine or tens: If you have 9 and 9 (18), it is already a hand with which to beat the dealer. If you split them, you take it for a ten or an ace to get a slightly stronger position.

The same goes for tens: 20 is a great hand to start and hard to beat if you split. However, there are times when you should split your pairs if the dealer’s face-up card is not very good.

Get fives: two five makes 10, and it’s a great hand to fold if you will. Dividing fives and keeping 15 and 15 would leave you in a bad position.

Get fours: 4 and 4 make 8, and it’s a good starting hand to make 18. Dividing the fours leaves you with two very low hands to start. Taking a 10 in one of the two hands will only give you 14, a complicated move.

Divide Based On Dealer Card

You can also make the decision to split when the dealer shows his card.

Here are three examples:

Dealer : 2,3,4,5,6,7

Player: 2-2,3-3,7-7

Decision: Divide

The sum of 2-2 is 4, 3-3 is 6, and 7-7 is 14. They are terrible hands for the player, so it is worth dividing when the dealer also has low cards. Take advantage of your chances to form two marginal hands instead of a bad one.

Dealer: 2,3,4,5,6

Player: 6-6

Decision: Divide

Sometimes in blackjack, you will win when the dealer checks. This is why splitting sixes is a good move for the player. Looking for a 10 to add 16 would give you a strong hand against the dealer, who will have to draw one more card and probably check.

Dealer: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9

Player: 9-9

Decision: Divide

While nines are generally bad at splitting, it can be a good choice if the dealer looks like he has a high hand (18, 19) or looks like he is going to pass by having to draw 12, 13, 14, 15, or 16.