Blackjack Strategy: Pair Splitting on 10s

This morning I talked about a pair that, according to good blackjack strategy is never ever split: a pair of 5s. But there is one more pair that is never eve split either: a pair of 10s.

A pair of 10s could be literally two 10 cards. Or it could be two face cards, not necessarily the same two face cards, meaning a pair could be a Queen and a Jack. Or a pair of 10s could be a 10 card and a face card. The whole point to the pair is that the two cards have the same value.

There are two mistakes that happen when a blackjack player uses some misguided blackjack strategy and splits a pair of 10s. Either he is ill-informed or he is just all caught up in being dealt a pair and cannot resist splitting it.

Mistake number one is that the split is made with the idea that the player can then double down on each of those 10s. First off, not all blackjack games allow for doubling after splitting. This rule is typically found at blackjack tables in casinos and not found at all in online blackjack.

The problem with this strategy, aside from the instances in which doubling after splitting is not allowed, is that the player is giving up a strong hand for something weaker. True, starting a hand with 10 is not too bad of a building block. But it is weaker when compared to an unsplit pair of 10s.

The other mistake that the player forgets about doubling after splitting, and is intent on trying to build two strong hands. But, again, the player is giving up strong blackjack ground for weaker ground.

The reason why you do not split a pair of 10s is right in front of the player’s face: 10 plus 10 equals 20. And in blackjack the only hands that the dealer could beat you with is if he winds up with a natural blackjack or hits to 21.

A hard 20 is one of the strongest hands in blackjack. It is good blackjack strategy to hang on to that hard 20 and stand. It is simply wasteful to throw away that strength just for the sake of splitting a pair.