Know how to play your aces in blackjack

One of the things that makes blackjack quite so popular is that it requires more than luck alone. Unlike the likes of slots, roulette, and craps, with blackjack, you need to add a degree of skill into the mix if you want more than just the occasional win. There are plenty of players that are familiar with basic strategy, but they’re still not sure of all of the possible outcomes that can be triggered by a particular move. Read more about how to deal with Aces in Blackjack. 

This lack of knowledge means that they’re not clear about what they should be doing in certain situations. Even worse, there are players who head into games with no knowledge of strategy at all, but then wonder what happened to their bankroll.

What we’re going to look at here are the decisions that you’re faced with when you’re dealt a pair of aces. Having these two powerful cards in your hand can spur you to a win or, with a lack of knowledge leave you severely deflated. Let’s take a look at how to make the most of them.

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Aces in Blackjack

Important points to note – Aces in Blackjack

When playing blackjack, to make the best move possible, a player needs to act based on their total hand and the dealer’s upcard. While some people worry about committing strategy to memory, there’s some good news when it comes to aces: the basic strategy here is extremely easy to memorize. 

So, here’s the strategy in its entirety for you to commit to memory now. If you are dealt a pair of aces, you need to split them. There is nothing else that you should even be considering in this situation. There is one exception here, but it’s not a complicated one: this basic strategy doesn’t apply to certain European variations where no hole cards are involved.

The thing is that aces give you more power than any other card in blackjack. They give you the best opportunity to win and so your next move needs to be the right one.

Why do aces in Blackjack matter so much?

Why all this fuss about aces and how to play them properly in blackjack? Well, aces are a unique card in as much as they can change their value. This change in value is the decision of the player holding them so they can be used to the biggest advantage. You can decide to use an ace as either an 11 or a one. The choice is entirely yours.

Aces provide a real opportunity to form blackjacks. Doing this will often lead to a 3:2 payout which is well worth taking advantage of. A blackjack will beat anything that the dealer may hold unless they happen to have a blackjack too. The other benefits brought about by aces are that they allow you to form soft hands and give plenty of opportunities to successfully double down. 

A closer look at splitting aces 

As we’ve said, if you’re dealt a pair of aces, your next move is only going to involve one thing: splitting them. Of course, any decision made in blackjack has to take into consideration the dealer’s upcard. The truth is that whether the upward is anything from a two to an ace, you’re still going to split. 

It’s worth bearing in mind that when you split you then only get one card for each ace. Many will probably already know that the average winning hand in blackjack is 18.5. A pair of aces leaves you with either two or 12 and neither of these offers a strong starting point. It is always better to split because you have a great chance of two hands that are far more favorable.

Splitting 8s vs. splitting aces

There’s a good chance that you’ve also been told that if you’re dealt a pair of aces, you should split. That’s just as true and is a strategy that you should follow. However, the splitting is done for different reasons.

When you split a pair of 8s, you’re acting defensively. When you’re dealt a pair of aces, things are very different. By splitting them, you’re going on the attack. You looking at trying to turn an okayish hand into two powerful hands that will see you win. Of course, splitting comes at a cost as you need to place another bet to cover the second hand. The truth, however, is that this cost is certainly worth it.


It’s not going to be a daily occurrence, but what should you do after you’ve split and you’re then dealt another pair of aces? Well, the best thing to do is to treat this pair of aces in exactly the same way as the first: split them. If you re-split like this you’ll be trebling your initial bet, but this is still your best course of action.

As splitting, and re-splitting, aces is such a powerful blackjack strategy, different casinos have different blackjack rules around it. Just be sure that you’re up to scratch with your online casino‘s take on it. Some of the things that you may come up against include:

  • The re-splitting of aces is completely disallowed
  • Hitting split aces may be prohibited
  • Splitting aces is banned altogether 

Conflicting advice

If you carry out a basic search, you will soon come across advice that tells you not to split aces on all occasions. The advice states that if the dealer’s upward is a 9,10, or ace you shouldn’t split. To be clear, this advice really doesn’t stand up.

The only time that you shouldn’t split aces, as we referred to a little earlier, is when you’re playing ENHC blackjack. Aside from that, the math proves over and over that splitting is the way to go.

Final thoughts on Aces in Blackjack

For those who want to move on from being occasional winners at blackjack, they need to take the time to master strategy. Applying what we have covered here is just one part and so you should continue to educate yourself so that the odds are always in your favor. 

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