Double and Split - Blackjack Strategy

When playing a game of blackjack, there are many decisions that players must make. Understanding when to stand and hit are the most important, but knowing when to double or split and when to play the original bets can also make a huge difference.

Doubling

Doubling is the process by which a player doubles his or her original bet in exchange for a single hit. While some casinos will allow players to double at any time, others follow a specific set of rules. The basic strategy for doubling is as follows:

• A soft 13 or 14 should only be doubled if the dealer's up-card is a five or six.
• A soft 15 or 16 should be doubled if the dealer's up-card is between four and six.
• A soft 17 should be doubled if the dealer is showing three through six.
• A soft 18 should be doubled with care and when the dealer has between two and six.
• Lesser hands can be doubled, but this is very risky as the odds of receiving a low card are relatively high.

Splitting

The next strategy that players should keep in mind when playing blackjack is splitting. This strategy can only be used when both of the player's first two cards are of equal value. Though a player can split these cards as they choose, there is also a basic strategy for splitting that players should follow for the best

• A pair of twos or threes should only be split when the dealer's up-card is between four and seven.
• A pair of sixes should be split when the dealer shows between three and six.
• A pair of sevens should be split if the dealer shows between two and seven.
• Nines should be split when the dealer's up-card is between two and nine.
• Aces and eights should always be split as these provide perfect opportunities for high-scoring hands.

Knowing when to double and when to split can certainly improve anyone's game for the better. To practice this strategy, print out the charts and try them out on a free online blackjack game. The more a player practices, the more likely they are to come out ahead when it counts.