When splitting, you are required to bet the same amount on each hand as you did on your original hand. When playing online, click the SPLIT button. In a casino, indicate to the dealer you wish to split by placing the additional bet on the table near the original bet and announcing "Split".
It's not always good sense to split a pair. Once again, the decision you should make depends on your cards, and possibly the dealer's upcard.
Never split a pair of ten-valued cards. 20 is a strong starting hand. If you split tens, you risk getting dealt, for example, a six on each of them, leaving you with two weak hands of 16 each.
Likewise, never split a pair of 5s. Treat them as 10 and play the hand accordingly.
A pair of 8s should always be split; 16 is the worst starting hand, so you should try to improve it. Always split aces, too. There are more 10-valued cards in the deck than any other rank, so you have a good chance of making 21 on each hand. If you do get dealt a 10 on any split ace, it counts as an ordinary 21, however, not blackjack.
Otherwise, split pairs of:
- 2s or 3s, if the dealer's upcard is 7 or less.
- 4s, if the dealer's upcard is 5 or 6.
- 6s, if the dealer's upcard is 6 or less.
- 7s, if the dealer's upcard is 7 or less.
- 9s, if the dealer's upcard is anything except a 7, 10 or ace.
The next few posts will present some ways of making it easier to memorise basic strategy, and also cover some common rule variations that you might encounter online or offline and how to handle them.