Blackjack: Splitting Tens

Splitting TensOne of the most exciting ? and daunting ? experiences at the Blackjack table is when the dealer hands you a pocket pair. Let us talk about the daunting feeling first.

Unless you are a hardened gambler, the thought of doubling your outlay on a single bet can sometimes be a worrying one.

Luckily, for most players, the added incentive of the potential for a double windfall eases that worry slightly.

Either way, it is an exciting time, so let us have a look at the act of splitting pocket pairs, as we concentrate on pocket tens.

Splitting pocket tens is not a very profitable play, and this is because your score of 20 is mathematically more likely to beat the dealer. The dealer would have to draw Blackjack to beat you, or draw a 20 for the split.

So, for the recreational player, it is always better to stand on pocket tens. The card counter does have a slight advantage if they know that the deck is loaded with high cards, but this is still the far riskier play than just simply standing.

20 is one of the strongest hands you can ever hold in Blackjack, so, when you receive pocket tens, you have already reached your goal of drawing either 21 or a hand as close to 21 as possible.

If you are playing at a table where you notice someone splitting pocket tens, then it is safe to assume that they are a recreational player.

You are not playing against the player but their actions still have a direct impact on the cards you receive.

For some players, this does not matter but for others it can drive them insane, as the recreational player splits pocket tens and picks up a card that would have made you 21, should they have stood on their original 20.

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Playing Live Blackjack Online

Online casinos are swarming the Internet and they are setting the latest trend in gambling.

In the comfort of their own houses, gamblers are able to enjoy the same casino experience as they would if they travel to Las Vegas.

Online casinos are not just limited to playing versus a program but you can also play against other people.

A lot of games have been incorporated in online casinos ever since. The first among these games were roulette and blackjack.

When you have already signed up at a trustworthy online casino site, the next thing you have to do is find a blackjack game and enter a blackjack room.

When you have successfully joined a game, you will see a table in your computer screen, the bet, and cards laid on the table. You will see the dealer on the screen as well.

Using headphones and a reliable Internet connection, you can interact with other players, hear them speak, yell and laugh. The experience would be as if you are playing in a brick and mortal casino.

In most online casino, single deck blackjack games aren?t included in their game line-up since the profit obtained by the casino in a single deck game is lower compared to how much it would earn from a multi deck blackjack game.

This is also the case in a brick and mortar casino. Other online casinos are clever enough to put certain modifications in the rules of a single deck black jack and only then would they provide the facility to play the game online.

Given that blackjack is such an exciting game, players tend to bet by impulse just to win the game. Their bets go higher and higher after each losing round. This gambling behaviour is sure to take toll on their bankroll. Players must keep calm while gambling so that they do not go over their limits.

Written by Alex Corcoran, a fan of blackjack and live roulette.

Top Blackjack Tips

If you are determined to win a blackjack game, here are a few tips you might want to apply every time you go to a brick and mortar casino, or online, in order to play a good old game of blackjack.

First, you need to start with the basic strategy. Follow it and play the game with it and remember it by heart.

Hunches and taking risks make a blackjack game more exciting but don’t forget that blackjack is a game of math; winning can be due to absolute reasons and not luck.

Leave your superstitions at the door and play the game rationally and logically. Do the mathematical strategy of winning the game and do it with absolute subtlety. Never doubt the maths ? it always works.

Next, observe the tables and the players. Find a table that seems enjoyable, relaxing and composed of people who are focused in the game.

Don’t play with drunken people because they will just distract you and ruin your game. Make sure the players you join in are those who are capable of making a fast-paced game to increase your chances of earning and winning within a particular amount of time.

Do not sit with mean and arrogant players if you can’t handle the pressure they’re willing to bring on to you ? they too will destroy your concentration.

If possible, do not take insurance, or a side bet that the dealer has a blackjack. The house edge for insurance bets is extremely high and it would just take a toll on your bankroll.

Unless you are card counting, you can be sure you’ll make a winning bet. Otherwise, it’s not advisable.

Tipping the dealer is also a good practice in laying a blackjack game. A friendly dealer makes a game more enjoyable.

By tipping them, they will stay that way or if they aren’t at the beginning, they might start to loosen up. Some players’ strategy is to take advantage of dealer tells and if you tip your dealer well, he or she might reward you with more obvious tells.

Written by Alex Corcoran, a fan of blackjack online and casino games.

When To Split

The guidelines for splitting are best described in a table.
Split If Dealer Shows
A , A Any Card
10 , 10 Never
9 , 9 2 – 9 except 7
8 , 8 Any Card
7 , 7 2 – 7
6 , 6 2 – 6
5 , 5 Never
4 , 4 5 or 6
3 , 3 2 – 7
2 , 2 2 – 7

Again, when there is some logic behind these guidelines.
? Always split A’s. The totals of 2 or 12 are not nearly as good as hitting 11’s.
? Never split 10’s. Two 10’s is a great hand — don’t screw it up!
? Never split 5’s, but you may want to double down!
? Splitting 4’s is a close call. Don’t do it in one or two deck games. Do it in multi-deck games when the dealer shows a 5 or 6.
? Split 9’s against a dealer card of 2 – 9 except 7. The reason for this exception is simple. You have 18. The dealer’s most probable total is 17. Don’t screw up a good thing.
? Splitting 8’s, like 4’s, depends on casino rules. Always do it when the dealer shows 2 – 9. If the dealer shows 10 or A and you happen to be lucky enough to be playing in a game that allows early surrender, you should surrender. If surrender is not an option, split.
? Splitting 6’s and 7’s is straightforward. If the dealer’s card is higher than your card, don’t split.
? Always split 2’s or 3’s if the dealer’s card is less than 8.
You should also note that the “value” of splitting is increased if you are playing in a game that allows doubling down after a split.

Hit or Stand?

The guidelines for hitting are rather straightforward. If the dealer shows a 2 or 3, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 13 or a soft 18. If the dealer shows 4, 5, or 6, you continue to take a hit until you reach a hard 12 or a soft 18. If the dealer shows 7 or 8, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 17 or a soft 18. It the dealer shows anything higher than 8, you continue to take a hit until you have a hard 17 or a soft 19.

Dealer Shows Hit Until You Have
2 or 3 hard 13 or soft 18
4, 5, or 6 hard 12 or soft 18
7 or 8 hard 17 or soft 18
9, 10, or A hard 17 or soft 19

Though there is no mathematical “proof” of these principles there is actually some simple logic to them. Don’t forget that you are also playing the odds based on billions of simulations of blackjack hands. Let’s look at some of the logic.
? If the dealer shows a 7 or above, then the most likely two-card total is 17 or above (with a 10 or an A in the hole), so you are going to have to take a card on any total under 17 or likely lose.
? When the dealer shows a card less than 7, the two-card total will likely be less than 17 (it can be exactly 17 with a 6 and an A), and the dealer will be forced to take another card. Since there are more 10’s in the deck than any other denomination, the dealer will have a fairly high probability of busting and you will win.
? If you were to take a card with a total between 12 and 16 you would be likely to bust. In situations like this the proper play is to let the dealer pull. If the high card shows up and there is a high card in the hole, you will win.
? Hit a total of 12 against a dealer 2 or 3. I’ve seen books that tell you to stand in these situations. They are wrong. You must take a card.
? Hit a 16 against a dealer’s 7. Many inexperienced players have trouble believing that this is the proper play but it is. Countless computer runs have proved it again and again. From the players point of view a total of 16 is no better than a total of 12; you can win with such totals only when the dealer breaks. Besides, there are still five cards that can help out a 16 (A, 2, 3, 4, 5).
? You take a card whenever you have A, 6 (unless you double down) and you hit an A, 7 against a 9, 10, or A. It’s true that you will sometimes find yourself going “backwards” and have a hand that is “weaker” than you just had. However, computer simulations consistently show that this is the proper play.
? It may come as a surprise to inexperienced players, but 18 is not a strong hand when facing a dealer 9, 10, or A.

Basic Strategy Play

Since the essential features of basic strategy were developed, a number of refinements have given us the current optimal set of principles for standing, hitting, doubling, splitting, and surrendering. These, along with the other more sophisticated forms of play were worked out by using Monte Carlo techniques based on the analysis of literally billions of hands. If I tell you that you should hit a total of 16 against a dealer’s 7, there is no specific mathematical proof behind this recommendation. It emerged from an analysis of the several million times this situation emerged in the Monte Carlo analysis of the game. Hitting a 16 against a 7 loses less often than standing. Sure, following this advice produces a bust on a lot of these hands, but analysis shows, utterly compellingly, that if you don’t hit his hand you are more likely to get beat by a higher total — like 17.
When possible, I will give a logical analysis of particular aspects of basic strategy, but there are going to be situations where the reader is just going to have to accept the outcomes of the Monte Carlo analysis. The following description of basic strategy is based on the multi-deck game found in several Atlantic City and Las Vegas casinos, where the dealer stands on a soft seventeen, pairs may be re-split once, doubling down is permitted after a split, and the player may double down on any two cards. Other games require some minor adjustments that I’ll note where appropriate. However, you should never give up an edge against the casino. I highly recommend playing only where the rules are more favorable to the player.