Aside from poker and baccarat, blackjack is another beloved card game in land-based and online casinos. You can play it with at least five other players, but instead of playing against each other, you all play against the dealer. As such, your main goal is to get a count as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it.
By now, you already have an idea of the game’s objective and setting, so here is a brief step-by-step guide to walk you through the gameplay:
- The game begins with players placing their bets. Afterwards, the dealer shuffles the cards and deals two face-up cards per player one at a time.
- After all players receive two cards, the dealer will receive one face-up card and one face-down card.
- Now that everyone has their cards, the action starts with the player on the dealer’s left then continues until it reaches the dealer. Each player has the option to stand, which means staying with the original two cards, or hit, where the player receives another card.
- Either way, the goal is to build a value close to or exactly 21. If a player’s hand exceeds, they bust and surrender the bets to the dealer.
- Players who get naturals, a hand with an ace and a 10, will automatically win and receive a pay out of one and a half more than their original bet. However, if the dealer gets a natural, they get all of the bets of the players without a natural hand.
In a nutshell, this is how a game of blackjack goes. It may look simple at first, but the thrill starts when you add strategies that can help you win the game. One of the most famous strategies is splitting.
What is splitting?
When you receive two cards of the same value, you have the additional option to split or divide your cards into two. Once your cards are split, you will now play with two hands, for which you’ll decide whether to hit or stand. You have to wager the same amount of money as the first hand on the new hand.
Splitting doubles your chances of winning since you have two hands at play. However, this doesn’t mean splitting is always the best decision. Doing it still comes with drawbacks that’s why you need to know when’s the right time to split or not to.
When to split
Find out when you can split and the most opportune moments to do it below:
- Having a pair of aces
In blackjack, the ace’s value depends on the player’s or dealer’s hand. If the hand’s value is below 21 with the ace, its value is 11, but if the hand exceeds 21, its value is 1. With this said, having two aces means that you have two chances of getting a blackjack for either or both hands.
- Having a pair of eights
Having a pair of eights is the worst blackjack hand! This is because, without splitting, your total value is 16 and any card higher than a face value or five will be your doom. That is why the best option you can do with this hand is to split. When you do this, your highest value can reach up to 18, which is only a few numbers away from 21.
- Split based on the dealer’s upcard
- If the dealer’s upcard is within 2 to 7
In this situation, split your cards if you have a pair of twos, threes and sevens. Doing this will save you from a potential bust because you never know what can come out after one or more hits. Additionally, the dealer’s upcard has the potential to go bust as well.
- If the dealer’s upcard is within 2 to 6
When this happens, split only when you have a pair of sixes. Having two hands of six will increase the chances of getting a high face value in the end. At the same time, the dealer’s situation is prone to a bust.
- If the dealer’s up card is within 2 to 9
For this case, you may get a pair of nines, which is already good since its value is at 18. However, it is still best to split them since the dealer’s upcard makes it possible for them to reach 18 or 19. Additionally, if the dealer decides to hit when their cards are beyond 12, they can go bust in an instant!
When not to split
Remember that not all matching cards guarantee a triumphant win. As such, here are the situations where you should never split your cards.
- Having a pair of tens
Do not ever split a pair of tens! When combined, you already have a value of 20 right at the start. This means that the dealer needs to have a natural to beat you. Additionally, they will not hit further if ever they get a value of 16, 17, 18 or 19 or else they go bust.
- Having a pair of fives
Splitting a pair of fives can get you in trouble in case you hit for another time. This is because your highest value can only reach up to 15, and hitting again gives you a high chance of going bust.
- Having a pair of fours
Having a pair of fours gives you a value of 8, which is a good starting point to hit. As such, it is possible for you to reach an 18! On the other hand, splitting them will only give you low-value cards. If you get a 10 when you hit, your value will rise to a 14 which is a troubling spot to be in.
Try this strategy when you play at Livecasino!
Now that you know this strategy, it is time to put your knowledge into practice by playing a game of blackjack in Live Casino! Aside from this, playing with other skilled players will let you learn more techniques that can help you win the game moving forward.