When it comes to blackjack strategy it is important to understand that not all of your strategy should be focused on offensive playing. Meaning, it should not all focus on making money for you. Not every part of blackjack is in good order for you to win. If blackjack was a game that let you win all the time then online casinos and brick and mortar casinos would not offer it.
Anyway. Defensive blackjack strategy.
Regardless of whether you are playing online blackjack or blackjack in a brick and mortar casino you must understand that there will be times when you are dealt a losing hand. It sucks. But it happens. And it is not the time to try to make money. So you play some defensive blackjack and try to minimalize your losses.
Being dealt a pair of 8’s is one of these hands that need defensive playing.
Looking at basic strategy and it shows you to split your pair of 8’s no matter what the dealer’s up card is. For the majority of up cards this makes sense. But some players wonder why they should split against a high card like a 10—to them it seems like they are only setting themselves up to lose more money.
But this is not the case. Because this is a losing hand—hey, face it, sometimes they happen—you need to look at what your percentage of losing is and how much you stand to lose.
If you do not split your pair of 8’s you can wither hit or stand. If you hit you have a 62% chance of losing; and if you stand you have a 77% chance of losing. So you split because starting a hand with 8 is somewhat better than starting with a 16 against a 10.
Now let’s look at this in terms of money. You know now that you will lose 62% of the time if you hit and 77% of the time when you stand on a pair of 8’s against a dealer’s 10. Because standing has a greater chance of losing we are not going to look at money, just know that it will be worse than the money lost on hitting.
Hitting would result in an expected loss of $54 per $100 wagered, whereas splitting results in an expected loss of $49 per $100. I know, it is not much of a difference, but every little bit helps in blackjack.
Remember that there are reasons behind the plays in basic strategy. They are the best statistical plays both in terms of offense and defense for blackjack. Even while losing hands do not give you the best chances of winning, you need to play for the best odds. If splitting 8’s is the best odds and has the smallest expected loss that is the way to play.