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Splitting Pairs

All American casinos give you the option of splitting any pairs and include all 10-value cards as pairs. Thus a jack and king are pairs for splitting purposes. When a pair of aces is split, practically every casino will allow only one additional card to be dealt to each ace. The exceptions are few, such as the Horseshoe Club in Las Vegas, where aces may be resplit, but when any other card is dealt to an ace, you must use only that card to form your hand.

When cards other than aces are split, you may use the split card as an original hand and draw as many cards as you wish to the split card to form your best hand.

In practically all American casinos, with the exception of the Atlantic City clubs, if a pair is split and another, identical card is dealt to a single split card, that card may be split as well. For example, if 8s are split and you receive another 8 immediately, that 8 could be split as well.

The general rule to follow is this: If the split is originally favorable to you and an identical card is then dealt, that card should be split also.

Some casinos, such as Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand in Vegas and in Reno, and the Atlantic City clubs, allow players to double down after they've split an original pair. This is a big advantage for the player and should always be done when allowed. For instance, if you receive a pair of 9s, split them, and get a 2 on the first 9, you could double down if you wished to. Since an 11 should always be doubled down, no matter what upcard the dealer has, this is the proper play.

Splitting Pairs
Player's Pair Dealer's Upcard Decision
A A Any upcard Always split
2 2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Split
3 3 4, 5, 6, 7 Split
4 4 Any upcard Never split
5 5 Any upcard Never split
6 6 2,3,4,5, 6 Split
7 7 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 Split
8 8 Any upcard Always Split
9 9 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 Split
10-Value Cards Any upcard Never split
Rather than memorizing this chart by rote, it pays to analyze it by the principles of Online Blackjack Games. Aces are always split because each is worth 11 standing alone, and if a 10-value card is dealt to an ace, the player has a 21. A 10-value card dealt to a split ace is not considered a Online Blackjack Games, however.

Always split 8s because their total is 16, the worst possible total. Each separate 8, however, may form a more solid hand. Never split 4s and Ss because they alieady form the base of a strong hand and separating them may cause two weak hands to develop.

Never split 10-value cards because two lOs equal 20, one of the most powerful hands in Online Blackjack Games. Why should you break up a 20 for two unknown and possibly weaker hands?

The 9s are split against all cards from 2 to 9, with the exception of a 7. Why not a 7? Because two 9s equal 18, and if a dealer shows a 7 as his upcard, he probably has a total of 17, which will lose to the player's 18.

The toughest decisions are involved with splitting 2s and 3s against a dealer's 7. It's difficult to do this, especially when losing, but these are the correct moves. The computers say so and the computers coldly calculate the odds.

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Omaha Eight-or-Better
Many of the principles that you learned in the previous chapter's discussion of stud eight-or-better apply to Omaha eight-or-better. Your goal is to scoop pots, not split them and hands that have potential in only one direction, such as K* -QA -1011-9A, or AV -2 A -7 A -8 • (which, like all low hands, has at least a little high potential), drop significantly in value compared to hands that have two-way potential.

You are allowed to use either the same or different cards in assembling your low and high hands, but the "must two" rule applies in both directions.

The "must two" rule also limits the number of low hands that can be made. If the final community board doesn't contain at least three different low cards, there can be no qualifying low and the best high hand will take the entire pot.
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