splitting tens
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Introduction: Why Splitting Tens is a Bad Move

Now, when the dealer has either a 5 or a 6 up, you know that he’ll go bust at least 40% of the time. And that’s why we play a more aggressive basic strategy game when we see those up cards. On the whole, you should double 9, 10, and 11. Among the soft totals, you should likewise double Ace through to 7. In other words, if you were dealt a pat 20, then why not just split the pair and get more cash onto the table whilst the dealer is in a weak position?

First of all, you always must keep in mind that we are looking for a profit over the long term. This is the whole reason d’etre of basic strategy. Your single hand of a pat 20 is worth more than twice what a single hand starting with a 10 is worth.

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Splitting Tens Costs You Money

Let’s assume for a minute that you’re playing a 6 deck H17 game. You receive a pair of 10’s and the dealer has a 6 upcard. Your initial wager is $10. Now, if we stand on 20, then we’ll win our $10 bet 78% of the time. We can push with a dealer 20 about 11% of the time. And we can lose to the dealer’s 21 another 11% of the time. On average, we stand to win $6.77 by simply standing.

Now imagine the same scenario, but we are splitting tens and then placing a $10 wager on each. What would happen now? Well, on average, each of these hands is still a winner., But the average win is down to just $2,78. So that makes our total combined win for both hands $5.56. Which is more than $1 less than the value if we’d just stood on 20. So, as you can see, in spite of having twice as much money bet in a favorable situation, we would in fact win less overall.

It then follows that if it’s bad to go splitting tens once, then it’s worse to split them more times. If your playing strategy is to split 10’s and then re-split them up to the 3 x allowed, your total bet will be either, $20, $30 or $40. Over these possibilities, you’re hoped-for profit is gonna fall even further. You’re looking at a grand total of $4.51. This is more than $2 less than the value of your initial $10 bet on a pat 20 hand.

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What About Card Counters?

We don’t want to add any confusion for basic strategy players, yet, it’s not possible to talk about splitting tens without addressing the issue of counting cards. That’s because card counters have some extra information about the cards remaining to be dealt. Thus they are able to more accurately identify the occasions when splitting 10’s becomes the correct play from a purely mathematical perspective. Going back to our example above, and using the Hi-Lo index for splitting tens against a dealer up cards of 6, is +4. Now, when the true count is +4 or higher, then the value of the multiple hands will surpass that of the pat 20. The thing is, that even if the true indices indicate that the play is warranted, it still be a bad idea to split 10’s.

splitting tens
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The Pit Boss Is Watching

That’s because the act of splitting tens in itself will draw attention. And that’s why most card counters will make a choice to ignore the index for splitting tens and just stick with the pat 20. Also, to make matters worse for the card counter, in some casinos the dealer is required to announce to the pit boss when the player chooses to split 10’s. And pit bosses are not stupid. They know that only 2 types of players will ever choose to split 10’s. The first being those who are ignorant. Or don’t really have a clue what they’re doing. And the second lot are those who know very well what they’re doing….and as a card counter, you really don’t want this added attention. So if you are counting cards, you’d better have a great activity to be able to pretend to be an idiot! Anyhow if you play Blackjack at the online jackpot sites, card counting just won’t work.

To finish up. If you value basic strategy play, then please don’t go and split your 10’s. Yes, we know it’s more exciting and gives everyone a nice warm glow. But splitting tens is just a means of giving extra cash to the casino. They really don’t need to be taking any more of your money. So, in these cases, just stand on your 20.

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