How to Play Pairs in Blackjack
What should you do when you get dealt a pair at the blackjack table? Well, the quick answer is that it should be treated like an opportunity. That is especially the case when the option of doubling down after split is allowed. Of course, it makes sense, when learning how to play blackjack pairs, that there are even more opportunities when the player can do that. And you will wind up splitting more over the long haul if that is the case.
So it is time to cover these moves, as we look at blackjack pairs and what to do about them.
Let's get the easy ones out of the way first. When you are dealt a pair of Aces, you always split them up. There is no sense holding onto a soft 12. By splitting the aces, you have an opportunity to make two very good hands out of it, because after all, a ten-value card to each hand gives you 21 (though not a 3-to-2 payout on a natural, which can only come on the first two cards).
You will also split eights all the time. This is not one of those maneuvers that represents a net gain, but it is more of a defensive move, so that you would lose less money. Certainly a two-card 16 is not a winning hand for you, and at least by splitting the eights up you have a chance to make some kind of a hand out of it, although even if you get a ten to each of the split eights, you've got something that isn't the strongest "pat" hand.
You will never split tens, or, ten-value cards - that is, if the rules allow for cards of equal value (10, J. Q, K) to be split. Naturally you could make two hands out of the split tens, but there is also a chance that you'll fall short of building a couple of very strong hands. When you stand with the pair of tens, you have 20, and that, obviously, can only be beaten by the dealer's total of 21.
You will also never split a pair of fives. They comprise a total of ten (10), and that gives you a very good two-card hand to work with. Why fool around with it just to go with two hands starting with a five? That doesn't really work that well for you.
When looking at other blackjack pairs and what to do, the pair of 2's, 3's and 7's are all treated the same, in that you will split when the dealer is showing 2 through 7 as an upcard, otherwise hit. With a pair of fours (4's), you will double against a dealer's 5 and 6, otherwise hit. And with a pair of sixes (6's), you will split against the dealer's 2 through 6 and otherwise hit.
The one that you might have to try extra hard to remember surrounds a pair of nines (9's), in which you would split against the dealer's 2 through 9, expect for 7, and otherwise stand. With an 18, you should be able to beat the dealer when he has an upcard of 7 most of the time. mastering how to play blackjack pairs can do you a lot of good at the table.