Blackjack Strategy: Splitting 8s

When you are learning basic blackjack strategy, some of the decisions seem like common sense while others might have you scratching your head. The important thing to remember is that the strategy is designed to give you the maximum odds over the long run. By long run, I don’t mean 100 hands. It’s more like thousands.

Take for example a pair of eights. Basic strategy says to split that pair every time. That includes against the best dealer hands, like a face card of 10 or ace. A lot of people, even people who call themselves blackjack experts, advise against that, because you are taking a hand that isn’t good and doubling your wager, in the hopes of drawing two good hands. If the dealer already has a good hand, it might be better to cut your losses, they say.

In the short run, tucking your tail between your legs against a dealer 10 or ace might make you look good. However, in the long run, those times when you made double the money will cancel that out. It is important to note that you’re still expected to lose more often than not. If you split your eights against a dealer 10, you are probably going to lose. The same goes for if you stand or hit. In the long run, though, you will lose less money by splitting in that situation.

Some blackjack players will advise that you stand or hit against the dealer’s power hands. That is thinking short term and while those players swear it is the right move, statistics say that in the long run it is not the best move. If you don’t believe me, do your own math. If you’re not a fan of math, just remember this strategy chart.

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