Why do people split tens in Blackjack?

Title says it all, I assume it’s just greed, people just like to split or double down. Or do people not understand that a 20 is a great hand?

This drives me crazy and no, not because I think bad play by another player affects what I should do with my own hand.

But there’s a chance of getting a 40.

Some of the people I saw at the casino today had definitely drank a 40 or two…

I assume they are least doing it against a dealer 6? Still against the rules strategy of course, but nothing is as boring to me in a casino as playing blackjack while strictly following a set of rules.

Ah, I see, then you need to start going to better casinos…

Maybe there’s just some people who sort of self-program to split whenever they can, whether or not it’s the best choice. Some of them, for whatever reason, may have concluded that somehow if you turn one excellent draw into two mediocre ones, then that is… better?

They simply think it’s a good idea because hitting on ten is a good position to be in.

It’s a terrible idea even against a dealer 5 or 6, but that’s the thinking.

If you’re 100 percent dead certain that the dealer has a stiff hand and will bust, then certainly you want to double your money.

But you don’t know that for certain* so it’s a stupid play.

  • Unless you’re counting, and they deal the deck down to the very last card – – which no one does, not even close.

“Just greed” would be a perfectly reasonable explanation; why wouldn’t a gambler be greedy? Except for the problem that greed would lead to not splitting 10s.

Yeah, this. Most people are very bad at strategy and have not memorized basic strategy. First order thinking makes this look like a good play.

The only time I’ve ever split tens was in blackjack tournaments, especially near the end, where the need to get as much on the table as possible leads to poor odds play. Otherwise I agree, it’s mostly people who don’t know strategy, aren’t that interested, and make what look like good plays that actually aren’t.

Splitting tens against a dealer’s six is a perfectly reasonable play for a card counter when the true count is high enough. So if you see someone splitting tens, they are either a terrible player or a very good player in a certain situation.

But even card counters tend to avoid splitting tens for the reason above: the house instantly knows you either suck or are too good for them. So they’ll track your play for a little while looking for other errors, and they will watch to see if your bets were abnormally large when you split the tens (you also bet more money at high counts) and they will know in a few minutes if you are a card counter or not.

If you just suck, they’ll let you play and comp you another drink with a smile. If you are a counter playing at high enough limits, you’ll get the boot.

IIRC somebody ran a computer simulation with millions of hands and found splitting 10’s was a terrible strategy even with the dealer showing 5 or 6. Keeping a 20 sets the win odds overwhelmingly in your favor over the results of splitting.

The Indians - YouTube

Because up to now I had no idea what the heck I was doing.

There have been numerous simulations run on every possible blackjack hand, going back to when math professor Edward Thorp wrote ‘Beat the Dealer’ in the 60’s, the first rigorous look at the math behind blackjack. Blackjack can be easily simulated with Monte Carlo simulations. I have run many such simulations myself.

There is no room for opinion in blackjack when it comes to calculating the expected value of any play. So trust me when I tell you that it can be mathematically correct to split tens.

Specifically, if you are using a hi-lo count, you should split tens against a 6 when the true count is +4 or greater, against a 5 at +5, and against a 4 at +6. If after you have spit you get another ten and the count is still over the threshold you should split again if the table rules allow resplits. Other, more exotic counts with side counts of tens and aces will give different thresholds. But in a shoe game they are unnecessary.

The reason for this is that when the true count is high, there are more 10-value cards in the deck than usual. Therefore, the odds that you will make another 20 on your solit go up, and the odds that the dealer will bust on 4,5,6 also go up.

Edward Thorp and John Scarne are the only authors to recommend splitting tens. Every other author and gambler, and computer simulation I’ve seen recommends against it. I read one article where the program ran 20 million simulations and came up with splitting tens a bad idea.

The average Joe sitting at the table is either not going to count cards or won’t be very good at it. So this makes splitting tens even a worse idea.

I did this just to piss off some loudmouths next to me at the pioneer in Laughlin well that and I was sort of counting the cards and figured one of the last 5 cards was an ace … I was wrong there were 2 aces and I had double blackjack which pissed off the people I wanted to who folded and left the table calling me everything but a caucasian americvan

The dealer said 1 it was a duck move 2 but thanked me for getting rid of them and 3 I was lucky as hell …

Speaking for myself, I have heard/read enough about blackjack to know that most strategy assumes the next card will be a 10. So I always assumed that you should split 10s if the dealer has a weak hand because you might get two twenties, as the man said. I’ve just learned otherwise.

Reminds me of the scene in Austin Powers: The villain (who has an X-ray vision implant of some sort in his eye, and can see that the next card is a 4) hits on a hard 17. “But sir, you have a 17!” “I like to live dangerously.” Followed by Powers, who has a 3 and a 4, standing, “I also like to live dangerously”.

Honestly, getting rid of people like that is worth losing a bit of money. It’s like people playing poker who bitch about getting rivered by some guy who stayed in with 7-2 offsuit. Sure, it sucks in the moment, but over the long term, you’re going to take all their money. Whenever I see a bad poker player, I compliment them on their “skills”.

Well, sure, but I think we all know that 99.9% of the time you see someone splitting tens it’s because they’re just wrong.

Very few people here are playing blackjack at a table you’ll see good card counters, anyway. They’re at tables with a $15 minimum bet where folks are mostly betting $15. These are tables where you CAN get away with counting cards for a long time because it’s not a high value table at the Bellagio, it’s a table with stains on it at the Del Lago just outside Rochester and they have little to worry about from card counters, but card counters aren’t bothering at the Del Lago.