Posts Tagged ‘blackjack splitting’

Blackjack Strategy: Splitting Sevens

Friday, March 12th, 2010

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.

Blackjack Strategy: Splitting Threes

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

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.

Blackjack Strategy: Splitting Aces

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Splitting pairs is an important part of blackjack basic strategy. Many beginners will learn when to hit and when to stand, but don’t memorize the strategy for splitting pairs or doubling. By excluding those beneficial moves, though, you increase the house edge to 10%. Playing with proper basic strategy, including when to split and double, however, can reduce the house edge to as low as 0.5%. Therefore, knowing when to split pairs is essential. The first hand that we will cover is a pair of aces.

An ace is the most powerful card in blackjack because it is the only card that is adaptable. The player can decide to make the ace be worth one point or eleven, whichever is more beneficial. By default, an ace will start out as an eleven unless it would cause you to bust, since you want a higher hand total. However, once you draw a card that would cause you to bust, that simply makes the ace a one and turns your soft hand into a hard hand. The power of an ace is that when you have a soft hand, it is impossible for you to bust, so there is no risk in trying to improve your hand.

That is not the only benefit of having an ace, though. With an ace, it’s possible that you will draw a natural blackjack, which is an ace and a 10-value card (making 21 points with two cards). A natural blackjack is the best hand in the game and it pays out 3:2. Since there are 4 different cards that have a value of ten (Jack, Queen, King, 10), when you start a hand with an ace you have a 4/13 chance of drawing a natural blackjack.

For these reasons, any time you have a pair of aces, you should always split them. It makes no difference what card the dealer is showing. Together that hand is nothing but a soft 12 (with one ace as an eleven and one ace as a one). Twelve is a stiff hand that is likely to bust but is also likely to be outdrawn by the dealer. By splitting the aces, though, you take one weak hand and turn it into two hands that have the potential to be very strong. Even though you have to double your bet to split, turning one bad hand into two probable good hands is always worth the risk.