Blackjack Strategy: Splitting Fours

To split or not to split, that is the question. Whether ‘tis wiser in the mind to suffer through a low hand in quest of outrageous fortune, or to take a second bet against the dealer and by doubling beat them… Okay, let me stop now because Shakespeare must be rolling over in his grave. I’m really sorry, Will.

It is a tough question in blackjack. When you have a pair, should you split or not. A lot of people are timid about splitting pairs because you have to double your bet and some people don’t like to put extra money on a hand. However, in certain situations it is the right call that gives you the best odds of making money at the blackjack table.

This time I am discussing what to do if you have a pair of fours. If you are dealt a couple fours, you should only split if the dealer shows a five or six. If the dealer has anything else as an upcard, you should take a hit.

Blackjack basic strategy takes into account that there are better odds of drawing a 10-value card than a card with any other value, since 4/13 of the cards are worth 10 points. If you have a pair of fours, that gives you a total of eight. If you were to draw a 10, that would give you a total of 18, which is difficult for a dealer to beat. Since 18 is a good hand and taking a hit gives you good odds of having an 18, keeping the fours together and drawing another card is the wise strategy.

If the dealer shows a five or six, however, the percentages say to split your fours. That is because if the dealer shows a five or six, he has a good chance of having a stiff hand (12-16). A dealer cannot stand on a stiff hand, so they have to draw, which will usually result in the dealer busting. Therefore, since the dealer has a good chance of losing, doubling your bet is a good idea. If the dealer busts, then it doesn’t matter what hand you have as long as you don’t bust.

Sometimes in blackjack you try to maximize your hand, while at other times you play off the hope that the dealer has a bad hand. You don’t need a good hand to win at blackjack; you only need a hand better than the dealer’s. That goes for splitting pairs, too.

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