To be honest, I’m running out of things to say in the introductions in my pair-splitting series. This is the eighth one so far, after all. The important thing to remember when deciding whether to split a pair is that there are two things you need to take into consideration: how splitting would affect your hand, and the likelihood of the dealer having a better hand. Splitting isn’t always about giving yourself two awesome hands. Sometimes it’s about doubling your bet because you think the dealer is going to bust.
If you have a pair of sevens, whether or not you split the pair depends on the dealer’s cards. If the dealer shows a two through a seven, you should split. If the dealer shows anything else, then you should take a hit.
Blackjack basic strategy takes into account that 4/13 of the cards have a value of 10. Therefore, any card that is drawn has a higher probability of having a value of 10 than having any other value. That includes the dealer’s hole card, which you can’t see. Therefore, if the dealer shows a two through a seven, you need to remember that the dealer has good odds of having a stiff hand (12-16). If the dealer has a stiff hand he cannot stand, so he would have to hit. Hitting a stiff hand results in busting more often than not. Therefore, splitting your hand is wise strategy because it doubles your bet and would result in your making twice as much money in the event that the dealer busts.
If the dealer has an eight or better, however, he has a good chance of having a hand of 18 or better, which is tough to beat. For that reason, you do not want to split your pair in that situation simply because you don’t want to double your bet on a hand where you don’t have good odds of winning.