Pairs to Keep in Blackjack

Have you ever thrown a good thing away?

Have you ever split a pair of 10’s or 5’s?

If so, then, yes, you have thrown a good thing away.

The thing with those two pairs is that they’re worth more as a pair than split. I know, splitting pairs is one of those novel plays that you don’t get to make all that often. It’s not like hitting or standing in blackjack. Or even doubling down. Splitting can only be done when you’ve been dealt two of the same card. Not exactly the most common of starting hands.

So when we get dealt a pair we tend to get all excited and want to make that special play. But sometimes a pair played as a hard hand is more valuable than playing it with a split.

Those pairs are 10/10 and 5/5.

First off a hand made up of 10/10 is one of the strongest hands you could be dealt. It has a hard total of 20. The only hands that the dealer can have to beat you is a natural blackjack or hitting to 21; of course, a dealer’s 20 would cause a push but at least you won’t have lost you wager.

The point is that a hard 20 is a hard hand to beat. That is why it is best played unsplit.

Now that 5/5 is worth more as a hard 10 because you can double down on it. So you still get one of those fun special blackjack plays.

Granted you’re still doubling your original blackjack wager but a hard 10 is one of those hands that has a higher chance of success as a double down than other hands. If you were to split those 5’s you’d still be wagering that doubled amount, but you’d have to win with both hands to win the same amount you would with a successful double downed 10. And it’s hard to build strong hands on a 5.

So while you might get that excitable urge to split any and all pairs that come to your hands, remember that good blackjack strategy dictates that some pairs shouldn’t be split.