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Splitting Pairs

A player may split any matching cards of the same rank if dealt as an original hand. For example, if he or she is dealt two 8s, these may be split. When pairs are split, they are turned over by the player if dealt face down; or separated, if dealt face up. Then a bet equal to the original bet is placed on the newly split card.

For example: if a player had bet $5, and received two 8s, and split them, then an additional $5 bet will be placed on the separated 8. In essence, the player will now be betting on and playing two hands.

He draws cards on the first 8 until he is satisfied with that total, and then he draws cards to the second 8, just as though this was an original hand.

Any pairs can be split, and for purposes of pairs, all 10-value cards are considered pairs. For example, a 10 and queen, or a jack and king, are considered pairs, but as we shall see, 10s should not be split.

Aces may be split, but unlike all other pairs, only one additional card will be dealt to each ace. Nevertheless, aces equal 11 and they should always be split.

Doubling Down

A player may double his bet on his original hand, at his option. When he does this, he will receive an additional card, and one card only. Therefore, it’s important to remember that after doubling down, you can’t stand on your original hands total; you’re going to be given an additional card by the dealer.

In practically all the casinos except for the Northern Nevada ones, the rules permit doubling down on any two-card total. In Northern Nevada, only 10s and 11s may be doubled down.

When doubling down, a player turns over his cards if dealt face down, and puts out a bet equal to the original bet. When the cards have been dealt face up, e simply puts out an additional bet.


In a few casinos, the player is allowed to forfeit half his original bet if he or she doesn’t want to play the hand against the dealer. This is called surrender.

For example: suppose a player has a big bet out and the dealer shows a 10 as his upcard. The player has been dealt a 16, and feels that if he hits the hand, he’ll bust, and if he stands, the dealer will have a 17 or more to beat him anyway. So, in those casinos allowing surrender, this player may surrender his hand. It’s one of the few instances in which a verbal statement of the player’s intent is made. He says “Surrender”, and the dealer will remove his cards and half his bet.


When the dealer’s upcard is an ace, before he peeks at his hole card the players are given the opportunity to insure their bets. The dealer will ask “Insurance?” and the players may bet up to one half of their original bet that the dealer has a 10-value card in the hole.

If the dealer has a blackjack, the insurance bet wins, and is paid off at 2-1, but the original bet loses, and so, in essence, is a standoff.

Therefore, an insurance bet is really a wager that the dealer has a blackjack. If he has one, the bet wins. If he doesn’t have a 10-valeu card in the hole, the insurance bet is immediately lost and taken away and the game continues.

For example: if a player had a $10 bet out and then made a $5 insurance bet and the dealer didn’t have blackjack, the $5 bet would be taken away by the dealer. However, the game would now continue and the original $10 bet is still valid.

If the dealer in the above instance had a blackjack, he’d take away the player’s original $10 bet and then pay $10, at 2-1 on the $5 insurance bet. In essence, it’s a push.

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