Perfect Blackjack Strategy: 3 times when it’s ok to split tens.
We’ve all been at that critical juncture before. That moment when our brain tells us to stop, stand, and take the 85% odds of winning, while our gut wrenches in the opposite direction, begging us to please, just this once, split those tens!
I’m talking, of course, about blackjack. As any educated player knows, it’s always a bad idea to split 10’s in blackjack. The odds of winning may be above 50%, depending on the dealer’s up-card, but they’ll never be as good as they are when you stand on that beautiful total of 20.
So, as much as we want to split tens, we don’t. We swallow our desires and sigh with meek acceptance as we instruct the dealer to move along. But what if strategy charts are wrong? What if there is a time when splitting those Tens, Jacks, Queens or Kings would work in our favor? Well, I’ve got some good news for you. Such moments do exist. Even better, there’s three of them!
3 Times When Perfect Blackjack Strategy Will Recommend Splitting 10s
There are actually three instances where strategy dictates that you should split 10s in blackjack. They won’t occur very often, but when they do, you can reap all the joys of ten-splitting you’ve been missing out on throughout the years.
6+ Card Counter’s Delight
If you happen to be playing in a land-based casino and are an adept card counter, you’ll find that splitting 10s can be the correct move, should the fates align with sixes. First, the count should be a +6, meaning there is a proportionally larger margin of high cards in the deck than low cards. Second, the dealer must be showing a 6.
If you really want to split tens in blackjack, skip the traditional variations and play Face-Up 21 (aka Double Exposure Blackjack). In this game, players are able to see both of the dealer’s cards—not just one. If the dealer happens to have a total of 13, 14, 15 or 16, it is to your advantage to split those 10 counters. In a standard game, where the dealer shows 3, 4, 5, or 6, the odds of them actually having a 10 underneath aren’t nearly great enough to make the split a profitable option. Knowing for certain makes all the difference!
If you’re nearing the elimination point in a blackjack tournament and need a quick boost in chips, forget traditional strategy and do what you must. Splitting those 10s for the potential 2x payout may be the only way to save your tournament life. Breaking the rules of perfect blackjack strategy is okay when it’s the only viable option!
Why We Don’t Split 10s in Blackjack
Under any other circumstances, splitting 10s is the wrong choice. The best time to do so is when the dealer is showing a 6, which gives the player a 64% chance of winning. However, the odds of winning on the original 20 (without splitting) are 85%.
Statistically (without any card counting involved), you’re only going to be dealt 20 on a split about 9.24% of the time (depending on the number of decks in the shoe). Aside from the three instances above, there’s no good reason to forfeit a great hand for something that’s probably going to get worse.
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