What is 'Splitting Aces'?
Splitting aces refers to taking the decision to 'split' in blackjack
when the player is dealt a pair of aces. Splitting is available to any player who is dealt two cards of the same rank and allows them to divide their hand
into two separate hands to face the dealer with, increasing the complexity of the game considerably.The decision to split is part of 'basic strategy
', which dictates the correct decision to be undertaken with every hand available to the player versus the dealer's visible up card. According to this system, which gives players the best mathematical chance of victory over the long haul (reducing the house edge
to usually under 1%), aces should always be split.
'Splitting Aces' Explained
Although it can seem that the decision to split aces can reduce the player's chance of winning, since they have a very flexible hand if they do not split and seldom win both hands, it remains the best mathematical decision over the course of many hands of play. A player splitting will win both hands 30% of the time, but lose both only 13% of the time - this ensures that splitting aces is the mathematically correct decision to make for any player regardless of the dealer's up card
, which is why it is advocated by basic strategy.While hard pairs of high cards - for example two tens - require the player to stand according to basic strategy, splitting is also advocated for certain other pairs - for example, pairs of eights and sevens. Although basic strategy gives the player the best possible way of playing the game, it still gives the house an edge over the player. To give the player an edge, other techniques such as card counting need to be employed.