A pair of eights is considered a pretty bad hand in online blackjack and no matter which way you cut it there is going to be bad news around the corner.
All the blackjack strategy chart and all the big blackjack champs consider splitting 8s to be the golden rule written in stone right after the ‘don’t covet the dealer’s wife’ commandment.
My buddy Greg, a man who slapped around a few Atlantic City establishments with his amazing blackjack strategy back in his prime, thinks that the golden rule about splitting eights is nothing but fool’s gold.
Greg never splits eights if the dealer is showing a nine, ten or an ace. He sees this as a trap, a lose/lose situation since by splitting you are exposing yourself to double the loss.
On the surface that logic does make a heck of a lot of sense, since when splitting in blackjack card games you have to bet more. The dealer has a higher chance of beating you with every starting hand except showing a 6 to you 17. So splitting should only be used to maximize your win or minimize your overall loss when used instead of hitting or standing.
There are many players who find the idea of playing a strategy that minimizes losses a bit hard to swallow. Let’s go to the supercomputer and run a few million simulations and see what’s happening under the hood. One of the biggest differences between play in casino and online blackjack is the ability to have a computer to quickly give blackjack players the analysis of every hand and situation.
When the dealer is showing a nine, ten or an ace and you are looking at a pair of eights (sixteen), you will lose about $52.5 out of every $100 you bet into that hand. A hefty loss. Well, there is no surprise there, since 16 against 9, 10, Ace is not the most desirable position to find yourself in.
Now let’s take a peek as to how the situation changes when you split and thus double your bet. Now you’re playing with two hands. The supercomputer (my Android powered smartphone), tells me that splitting eights will damage the player $44.25 for every $100 bet. Still a dog but with a few less fleas.
Forget about standing on 16 in that situation, your overall loses will be even higher.
It’s a no-brainer that it’s better to lose $44.25 than $52.5 out of every $100 bet. So by splitting eights against a dealer’s 8, 9 or ten, you are losing $10 less out of every $100 you put into the hand. Splitting eights is a defensive measure to ensure that your overall loses won’t be as bad as they could have been.
Although it’s much better to win in blackjack, it’s the overall war (session) we are trying to win, and not every single battle (hand).