Blackjack Strategy: Splitting Aces

To go along with the stories of mistakes made while playing blackjack, I will talk about another one this afternoon: splitting Aces. Similar to how soft hands are often misplayed, pairs are often misplayed, although soft hands are more often played wrong than pairs. A lack of blackjack strategy is involved here.

And while players do not seem willing to embrace the aspect that makes a soft hand soft, players will fall into one of two camps in regards to splitting pairs: split them all or split none of them.

And neither blackjack camp is correct.

Good blackjack strategy has players not splitting some pairs and splitting others. One of those pairs that, according to good blackjack strategy, should be split all of the time is a pair of Aces.

Think about it. If you value both Aces at 11 it gives you a hand total of 22, which is stupid and an instant bust. And valuing them both at 1 seems rather silly. We are left to value one card at 11 and one at 1, which is a hand total of 12. Uh oh, you now have a hard 12, one of the infamous stiff hands. What is a blackjack player to do?

Split those Aces!

It does not matter what the dealer’s up card is, a pair of Aces is always split–your blackjack odds are better overall to do so.

Splitting a pair of Aces gives you two hands that both start at 11, which is solid ground to stand on to build two strong hands. In fact there is not a single card that you can draw that would bust you; a card worth 2 through 10 would give you a total of 13 through 21. If you were to receive another Ace you could split again if house rules allowed you to, or would be left with a 12—which is no worse than how you started.

When thinking about your blackjack strategy ask yourself which you would rather have: a single hard 12 or two hands that start at 11? When considering blackjack strategy the answer should be simple. Split, split, split.