Splitting Tens In Blackjack Costs You Money - Don't Do It!

Some players feel that they win more often when splitting tens in blackjack if they're going against a dealer's 5 or 6. While that basic assertion is mainly correct - you will win more often than not when splitting tens in those situations - winning more than 50% of the time is only part of the story. If the dealer has a 5 or 6 up, he will bust more than 40% of the time. That's why basic strategy against those dealer up-cards becomes quite a bit more aggressive. You should double 9, 10, and 11. Among soft totals, you should double A2 through A7. So, if you're dealt a pat 20, why not split the pair and get more money on the table?

Well, this decision comes down to which action will make you the most money in the long run. Splitting tens in blackjack costs you money. Your single hand of pat 20 is worth more than double what a single hand with a starting 10 is worth. If it's assumed that you're playing a 6-deck, H17 game and you're dealt a pair of 10s against a dealer 6, your initial bet is $10. Standing at 20, you will win the $10 bet 78% of the time, pushing with a dealer 20 about 11% of the time, and losing to a dealer 21 another 11% of the time, and on average you will win $6.77 by standing.

If you instead split the tens once and put a $10 bet on each hand, on average, each of these is still a winner, but the average win on each one is only $2.78, for a combined expected win of just $5.56, which is more than a dollar less than the value if you'd just stood on 20. Despite having twice as much bet in a favorable situation, the expected win is less overall. If it's bad to do it just once, it is even worse to do it more times.

For basic strategy players, just don't split tens in blackjack. It may seem fun and exciting, but all you're doing is giving the casino extra money that they don't need. Just stand with your 20.