Breaking up may be hard to do, but sometimes it’s necessary. For instance, if you have a pair of threes they may look so cute together with their matching numbers, but it may be wise to split them apart. Okay, so that was a terrible segue. I apologize, but it’s hard to be clever in each pair splitting article.
One of the most overlooked aspects of blackjack basic strategy is the strategy for splitting pairs. Knowing when to split your pairs and when to leave them alone will help you make as much money as possible at the blackjack table.
If you have a pair of threes, whether or not you split that pair depends on what card the dealer is showing. If the dealer has a two through a seven as an up card, then you should split your pair. If, however, the dealer has an eight or better, you should hit.
Blackjack basic strategy is all about playing the odds and there are better odds of drawing a 10-value card than a card of any other value. Therefore, if you have a pair of threes, that is a hard total of 6, but if you hit you have a good chance of giving yourself a hand of 16. Since 16 is a stiff hand that has a high probability of busting if you hit and being outdrawn if you stand, you do not want to end up with that number.
If you split the pair, though, you end up with two hands starting out with a three and you have a good chance of improving those hands. Threes aren’t exactly phenomenal cards to start your hand with, but it is worth it to avoid the high possibility of getting a stiff hand if you don’t split.
If the dealer shows an eight or better, though, you do not want to split. That’s because if the dealer shows an eight or better, he has a good chance of having a hand of 18 or better (assuming the high odds of a 10 in the hole). An 18 or better is very difficult for you to beat, so in that situation you do not want to double your bet. If the dealer has an 18 or better, it’s unlikely that you can improve either hand to a point where it can beat the dealer, for that reason, you want to keep the bet where it is and hope for the best.