Why Splitting Aces and Eights is Essential

Aside from always hitting on a soft 17 and hitting on a 12, another golden rule in Blackjack is to always split Aces and 88s, yet unlike the previous two, most players don't know why this Blackjack strategy would profit the player, so much so that there are those who don't follow it.

One of the biggest arguments against splitting eights is that if the casino dealer has a high card (i.e., 9 or over) the odds are you're going to lose. By splitting you only throw away more money. While splitting requires you to wager more money, it is a winning proposition in the long run. Here's why.

If you do not split your eights in Blackjack, you will end up losing $52 or more for every hundred that you bet. The reason this is so is because the pair of eights total 16, one of (if not the) worst hands in the game. On the other hand, splitting them will result in a loss of only $43, even with the extra bet that you put up.

That's a difference of $9 per $100. If you are going to play a lot of Blackjack, that will amount to quite a bit. Of course there'll be games when you'll lose out with a split, but in the long run, your bankroll losses will be reduced significantly, and that's what you are after.

This "rule" holds true for any kind of Blackjack limit, and also regardless of whether you are playing in a casino or on the Internet. As with almost all the good strategies in the game, it all boils down to the numbers.

With the splitting of Aces, it should be easy enough to figure out; not only is it a hand that can give you Blackjack, but because its value can change from 11 to 1, you stand a good chance of improving your hand more so than if you hold a stiff card.

If you are allowed to re split Aces, take advantage of it, as it gives you an additional 0.06% edge. The good news is that most casinos nowadays allow for re splitting, a significant change in policy from the old "one split, one hit" rule.

You split Aces and 88s in Blackjack for different reasons: in the case of the former it is because you stand to win more money, and in the latter it is to minimize your potential losses.

Most players don't know these facts, and will even castigate you for splitting eights; just ignore them, because you will, at the end of the day, walk away the biggest winner of them all.