Splitting Pairs in Blackjack

One of the most exciting moves in Blackjack is splitting pairs. Like the name suggests, this play starts when you are dealt a pair, because anytime this happens you have the opportunity to split your hand and create a new one. This means that one hand could quickly become four hands if you keep getting dealt the same card.


  1. You are dealt a pair of deuces and decide to split them.
  2. The dealer gives you two more cards and both of them are once again deuces. You now have two hands consisting of a pair of deuces.
  3. You decide to split the deuces once again, this time on both hands and now you have four pairs of hands, each containing a deuce.

Just be mindful that each time you choose to split your hand you have to place another wager next to that hand, and it is this dynamic that makes splitting pairs so exciting. You can win or lose substantially more than you start out with.

There are two reasons that you will split pairs. The first is known as a defensive split and this means you are making the play because it’s designed to lose you less money in the long run. Then you have offensive splits, and these are designed to win you more money in the long run.

All pairs can be split as many times as you like with the exception of pocket aces. The pocket rockets are sometimes stifled by local casino rules, with some casinos only allowing them to be split once. Always check what the rules are before sitting down to play any online casino game.

When deciding to split pairs, always use Basic Blackjack Strategy when making your decisions. This means you will always split eights and aces and never split any cards that are a denomination of ten. Your action on the rest of the pocket pairs depends on the up card of the dealer. So, for example, pocket sevens are always split if the dealer is holding 2 through 7, but you take a hit if the dealer is holding 8, 9, 10 or ace.