When To Split 10s In Blackjack?

When To Split 10s In Blackjack?

Published Date · Oct. 1, 2019 · Last Updated · June 15, 2023 ·Read Time · 3 mins


Knowing the basic blackjack strategies is crucial for any blackjack lover. However, understanding the hands and moves ahead will take you one step further. Today’s topic is one of the most controversial ones amongst avid blackjack players, which is about splitting a hand of 10s.

According to simple blackjack theory, you should never split 10s. This is because splitting 10s will increase exponentially your chances to lose to the dealer. However, this rule may be overcome in some events when splitting a hand of 10’s can be beneficial. Albeit, a certain level of expertise in the game is required given the higher level of risk involved. We’ll cover the most common scenarios when you should split a hand of 10s.

What Do the Basics Say?

Edward Thorp made the last known reference to splitting a pair of 10s. He was supposedly the first specialist who used a computer to analyse the outcomes of blackjack hands, which he then published the results in his book “Beat the Dealer”. After that, no one ever advised splitting a pair of 10s.

The logic behind it is simple. If you are on a 20, your chances of drawing a better hand by splitting or hitting are less than 8%. 20 is a pretty good odd, except if considering the Ace which you can count either as a 1 or an 11. Nevertheless, the probabilities of drawing an Ace are almost non-existent.

If you split and draw another pair of 10s, you might be tempted to split it again. This can be especially tricky if you have a lot of money at stake as it will significantly increase your risk of busting.

Bur bear in mind that there is something more important than knowing the rules, it’s to understand the underlying motives behind them. Effectively, everyone can memorise basic rules and start playing that way. But only the finest and the most passionate players will grasp the rationale of the game. As such, if you strongly feel like splitting 10s in a particular instance, just follow your instincts. At the end of the day, blackjack should be a fun experience !


Splitting 10s in Double Exposure Blackjack

The first case where splitting a hand of 10’s is okay is in Double Exposure Blackjack. Also known as Face-Up blackjack, playing Double Exposure blackjack will allow you to split a hand of 10’s. This variant of the game diverges significantly from standard blackjack as all the cards are dealt face up. All of the players’ cards are exposed, as well as the dealer’s two cards.  If the dealer shows a hand of hard 13 through a hard 16, the appropriate strategy is to split the 10s. Again, if the dealer shows a hand of 20, you should hit the hand.

Although it seems like a fairly risky move,  hitting a pair of 10s is the right strategy to adopt in Double Exposure if the dealer has a 20.

The Last Hand

Another case where splitting a pair would be deemed acceptable is during the last hand of any blackjack game. Suppose you look at the leader’s chip count and see yourself as a winner, will you be able to play the next round? Splitting 10s can potentially make you survive that last round.

Looking at some statistics, your chances of winning a hand after splitting a pair of 10s are 64%, given that the dealer’s showing card is a 6. Suppose you bet £100 and with every split of 10s, you can expect to win a £56 profit.

But let’s take a look at the other option. If you stand on your hand of 20, the chances of you winning the hand goes up to 85%. Your winning amount will increase by £14 as well.


Overall, it is always to safe to stand on a 20. If you are a beginner or risk-averse player, we would recommend standing. But if you have the zest to gain some new experience and you don’t mind losing some money, try splitting.



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