Rules and Strategy

# Strategies for blackjack: Splitting, doubling down and forfeiting

There are three common recurring actions in blackjack. They consist of splitting an integral hand in order to form two more from it, doubling the value of the hand using the distribution of a new card or abandoning the game while it is ongoing in order to reduce your losses. However using these actions to your advantage is not always easy and it‘s important to know exactly when they must be applied. In the same vein, using them constantly can lead to inevitable errors and big losses.

## Splitting

Splitting means separating two cards with identical values in order to form two new hands from them, the player then places an additional bet and the dealer hands them a new card that they can place on the hand of their choosing. This technique is interesting when the player possesses a starting hand which is made up of pairs. Separating them then enables the player to create an additional hand and increase their chances of winning. This technique is effective when using pairs of 6’s, 7’s or 8’s. However if you have a pair of 9’s or 10’s then it’s best to avoid using this technique. Splitting a pair of Aces can also yield some interesting results.

## Doubling Down

‘Doubling Down’ is when you double your initial bet after receiving your 2 cards. In this situation you place an additional bet and receive only one more card with which to complete your hand. For example if you possesses a hand consisting of a 3 and a 7, this is a total of 10 points. If after doubling down the next card you’re dealt turns out to be a Queen, you will have 20 points from then on, which is a good draw. It is worth noting at this point that this action is optimal when you have a total of 10 or 11 points and/or when the dealer’s visible card has a value which is less than 6.

## Forfeiting or Surrendering

‘Forfeiting’ or ‘Surrendering’ is when you choose to lose half of your initial bet as a ‘safety net’ before seeing the dealer’s hidden card. For example if you have a hand with a value of 15 points and the dealer has a Jack which is still hidden, you risk losing if the hand you draw too high. It is preferable then at this point to forfeit the game. This would enable you to cut your losses by leaving half of your bet to the house. Forfeiting is really effective when you already have a hand with a high value but it’s not high enough without drawing another card to potentially beat the dealer. If you feel the dealer is going to hit a higher hand it’s a perfect way to minimise the impact of losing.