Doubling Down/Pair Splitting Advice Please!
  • Hi everyone!

    Firstly, please go easy on me if my questions appear foolish as, although I have enjoyed playing BJ for some months now with relative success, I am still a rookie and brand new to this site!

    1) I always double down my 11 v the dealer's 2-10. However, I can't help but wonder why not, when it is established that the dealer does not have BJ, double down against a dealer's Ace also?

    2) I only double my hard 10 v a dealer's 2-8 as I seem to lose more hands than win when I have doubled against a dealer's 9. Am I really missing out much by not taking this on?

    3) I am not doubling any of my hard 9s or any soft hands at all - is this seriously disadvantaging me and is there an easy formula to remembering the doubling down rules for soft hands?

    4) I have read and been told that with regards to pair splitting rules if you only remember the following you won't go far wrong and won't be at much of a loss for not taking on the other rules which only give a slight advantage:

    Always split A/A & 8/8
    Never split 4/4, 5/5 or 10/10

    Have I been duped here ?!

    5) Finally, on a simple Hit/Stand question - I am always hitting my hard 12 against a dealer 2/3 up card. However, I can't help but be dismayed at how many times I'm being dealt 10s and instantly busting with this strategy - does anyone out there have more consistent wins with standing and letting the dealer bust?

    Many thanks to anyone out there who has the patience to help this rookie but very enthused player progress.

  • 1) it is correct to do in single/double deck
    2) you are missing out by not DD 10vs9.Not a lot,but a bit.
    3)Not DD soft hands cost you much more than #2.
    4)Splitting only those hands may keep you from making incorrect splits,but learning the correct ones will make you more money

    I would guestimate that by you doing steps 2 thru 4
    you are costing yourself about a bet an hour,perhaps a little more.
    When I was learning DD and splits,I tried to envision things to correspond to them.for example,when trying to remember when to split 7s,I thought of a jet plane.
    A 727. 727=plane=7-2-7. Split 7s-2 thru 7.
    Hope that helps a bit.
  • NYB,
    Splits are somewhat different playing 2D games. You may want to look at the basic strategy for the specific number of decks being used. I like the charts at
    in a 6 deck shoe game if the rules allow you to double down after a split then you should split 4's against a dealers upcard of 5 or 6 best of luck-
  • If you play perfect basic strategy here is what you can expect:

    Proper hit/stand.........reduce house advantage by 3.25%(you will get more
    12 & 13 stiffs than any other)...Now what do you think?

    Proper double downs...reduce house advantage by 1.5%... Your not getting
    half of that.

    Proper hand splitting...reduce house advantage by,my

    Combine the above with 3:2 payout for blackjacks (2.25%) and it amounts to
    a reduction of 7.5% and leaves the usual house advantage of .5%.

    As you can see.. playing perfect basic will give you a much better chance to
    win and is the reason that anyone that knows anything about BJ will tell you
    that there are no short-cuts.
  • Ray,
    However small it may be, do you know how much additional gains come from proper surrender and re-splitting aces?
  • Tribure - I'm not Ray, but I happen to be on here.......For six deck, add +0.08 for late surrender and also add +0.08 for resplitting aces.....Grifter
  • Usually, but not always, late surrender is off-set by some other rule change,
    such as H17. If we subtract Grifters number .08 from .21 for H17 it would be
    a net gain in HA. I think CT. may offer LS with S17....not sure.
  • Ray said:
    Usually, but not always, late surrender is off-set by some other rule change,
    such as H17. If we subtract Grifters number .08 from .21 for H17 it would be
    a net gain in HA. I think CT. may offer LS with S17....not sure.

    CT does offer LS with S17 along with 6 deck and other good rules. About -.35.
  • Ray:

    Yes it is last time I played. I'm wondering when that might change though... I've seen enough pro-team play in the last two years to last a lifetime.

    This is why I've curtailed my play a bit. Its too easy to get incorrectly associated.

    AND back to topic... Doubling on 9 when the dealer shows a 4-5-6 is very important, and against a 3 is also correct. After a split pair, drawing a total of 9 (or 10 & 11) is what splitting pairs is all about... one can double after a split.

    Nine is important, since drawing a face or ace is very good for the player (make 19 or 20). When the dealer shows a 4-5-6 you should figure the dealer will make 18. When that 3 (or a 2) is showing dealer makes 19.

    Soft doubling is equally important as doubling on 9 alone. That 4-5-6 the dealer shows is a weak spot, and the player needs to take advantage of it.

    When one has a "soft standing hand" like A6 or A7, the player gets the most out of the situation by doubling when the dealer shows 3-4-5-6.
    4-5-6 because the dealer is more likely to bust, and the 3 is a close call but does favor the player.
    The other soft doubles are rather weak in comparison, but favor the player. The bad 5 or 6 up is "open season" for doubling down. And one does with A2 through A7.

    That leaves us with A4 and A5 vs. a dealer 4, rather close plays that favor the player because we won't bust drawing one card, coupled with a bad up card for dealer.

    All in all, NOT soft-doubling and doubling with 9 generally adds 1/4% to the house advantage give or take the number of decks involved. Where I live the 6-deck game would go from 0.33% house Advantage to about 0.6% if I don't soft double, and dont double on 9. That makes it worse than most Vegas games.

    An old saying "dealer showing a 2 is a pit-bull... a 3 is just a junk-yard dog". Meaning be careful, dealer makes quite a few good hands.
  • I didn't play any shoe games at the MGM this past summer, but the previous summer they had both H17 and S17 shoe games, with LS in both. The Beau on the MS coast offered the same until Katrina came along.

    However I have noticed that it is necessary to walk through most casinos looking carefully, as H17 is becoming more common in all games, although many still offer a few of the S17 games if you look. Just don't look near the front door...
  • Many thanks to everyone for their feed back. I'm aware that I'm still playing on the conservative side of the full recommended BS, but have now incorperated the following additional play into all my hands:

    2/2 and 3/3 against dealer up cards of 4-6
    6/6 against dealer up card of 4-6
    7/7 against dealer up card of 4-6

    Doubling down:
    A6/A7 against dealer up card of 4-6

    Not sure what exact percentage edge these additions have given me, but I have had 4 out of 6 winning sessions at the local casino this week which is a vast improvement on previous results! May just be a lucky run, but I guess we'll see in the longer run. In any case thanks again.

    One more observation/question: Whilst recognising that a dealer up card of 6 is very weak and should definitely be exploited, it's very dishearterning to see a dealer then turn over an Ace and standing and winning with a soft 17 on so many occasions. Wondering if anyone happens to know the likelihood of this occurance?

  • if dealer has a 6 up, then he has a one in thirteen chance of flipping over an Ace, since one of every 13 cards is an ace...
  • Actually Swinger, you should use all the recommended plays.

    Perhaps in the UK one is not allowed to split 4's. If the dealer doesn't take a hole card until one finishes play, then theres no splitting or doubling against a 10-value or Ace.

    Nine doubles 3-4-5-6

    A2 & A3 doubles 5&6 only. ELSE Hit
    A4 & A5 doubles 4-5-6. ELSE Hit
    A6 & A7 doubles 3-4-5-6. ELSE A6 Hits.
    A7 Stands 2-7-8, and Hits 9-10-A.

    22-33-77 split 2-3-4-5-6-7 (if no double after split allowed, then 22 & 33 split 4-5-6-7 only)

    66 split 2-3-4-5-6 (if no double after split then 3-4-5-6 only)

    44 split 5&6 if allowed (Hit if no double after split)

    99 split 2-3-4-5-6-8-9 and Stand 7-10-A

    AA & 88 always split ( Hit 88 10&A and Hit AA vs. A if no dealer hole card)

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