Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands

Here we teach you how to play your hands in the game of blackjack in order to receive the best odds. The chances of being dealt a Pair (two cards of the same denomination) in Blackjack are the same as any other combination of cards. Because there are 52 cards in each deck (except Spanish 21, which is played using 48 cards only), the chances of drawing any two cards out of a deck would be 2-to-52, which is about 3,83%. Learning how to play pairs is important for understanding basic splitting, hitting and doubling strategies in their entirety. There are some fantastic moves that can only be done with pairs!

Common Rules Regarding Pairs

All Blackjack games have this rule, where if you have a pair (3,3 / A,A etc.) you can split your hand into two new hands. The only condition is that you place a second wager, of equal value, next to the first one (it is practically like playing a whole new hand altogether). You can split all pairs, and cards of equal value (J,K,Q,10). Technically though, 10 cards are not considered pairs. Other casinos might have a problem with splitting Aces. It all depends on the particular casino in question; so don’t forget to ask for the specific rules before sitting at a table.

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Playing Pairs: Basic Strategies

Not all pairs need splitting. As a matter of fact, most pairs are better played as they are (hit, stand or double). Most new players will choose to split any pair they get (because it looks fun, I guess). This is a big mistake, regardless of what ‘your gut tells you’. Here is the proper way to handle pairs:

Pair of 2s – The first pair in our list can be split, but only if the dealer is showing 3,4,5,6 or 7. In all other instances, it is better for the player to hit.

Pair of 3s – This pair should also be split, but only if the dealer is showing 4,5,6 or 7. Otherwise, it is best to just hit.

Pair of 4s – Never split a pair of 4s! This is one of the Golden Rules regarding this subject. If you have a pair of 4s, always hit instead!

Pair of 5s – Most players would double down if they have a pair of 5s, regardless of what the dealer is showing. Hit if the dealer is showing an Ace or a 10. .

Pair of 6s – Hit if the dealer is showing 7-A, otherwise it is better to split (2-6).

Pair of 7s – A pair of 7s is perhaps the most convoluted pair of the entire game! Basically, there are 3 moves that you can try (depending on that the dealer is showing). You should split if the dealer is showing a 2-7; stand if the dealer has a 10, and hit when the dealer has an 8, 9 or an Ace.

Aces and Eights

There is an ‘unwritten rule’ that most Blackjack players adhere to; where if a player is dealt a pair of Aces/8s, the safest bet would be to split.

Pair of 8s – Like I said, splitting 8s is the only logical thing to do. 16 is the worst possible hand a player can get, but pairing your 8s with a Ten or an Ace (34.6%), will give you more of a fighting chance.

Pair of 9s – Stand your 9s if the dealer is showing a 7, 10 or an Ace. Otherwise split.

Pair of 10s – Every novice Blackjack player makes the mistake of splitting 10s. Just stand, regardless of what the dealer is showing.

Pair of Aces – In Blackjack, Aces are considered the perfect “complement” cards, because they are the most likely cards to hit a 21 with. If you hit/double down on your hand, there is an actual chance for a bust; where as splitting Aces will give you 2 soft hands.

More Articles Covering Blackjack

Blackjack Basics
Blackjack Rules
Blackjack Variations
Multi Hand Blackjack
Single Deck Blackjack Rules
Vegas Downtown Blackjack
Vegas Strip Blackjack Rules
Atlantic City Blackjack
How to Hit a Hand
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Insurance in Blackjack
Surrender in Blackjack
Standing a Hand
Blackjack Double Down
Splitting Hands in Blackjack
Blackjack Odds
Blackjack Strategy for Playing Hands
Blackjack Cards and Hands Value


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