Splitting a Pair of 10’s

One of the most important things in blackjack is to have a solid knowledge of the game’s basic rules and strategy. If players aim at winning in the long run, it is essential to be familiar not only with the number of moves they can make but also with their possible outcomes.

Even though players need to follow a particular strategy and know it by heart, it will be extremely beneficial for them if they understand the motives behind it. Before sitting at a table to play, they should make sure they are aware of the casino rules as well. Some places restrict certain moves such as surrendering and re-splitting, which can affect players’ performance significantly. In such cases, they should be prepared to act accordingly and have a strategy for every occasion in order to reduce their money loss to the minimum.

At some point during the game, players will face a situation where they will be dealt two cards of the same rank. Such cases shouldn’t be underestimated as they require a lot of preparation as well.

Players should always act according to their chosen strategy and bear in mind that every pair should be treated differently. Therefore, splitting won’t be the best choice every time. For instance, when it comes to having a pair of 10s this move should be avoided for several reasons.

Moves to Avoid When Having a Pair of 10s

While for the rest of the pairs the best move was rather controversial and provoked lots of discussions, when it comes to having a pair of 10s, all knowledgeable players share the same opinion. The reason why is that having in mind the average winning hand is 18.5, getting a pair of 10s leaves players with a solid total of 20.

Improving such a hand is almost impossible as the odds for losing it are 92% providing that players decide to hit. Whenever their chances of going bust are higher than the dealer’s, this move should be always avoided.

The only card that won’t lead to this outcome is the ace. This powerful card gives players the needed flexibility as they can choose to count it as one and prevent themselves from surpassing twenty one. However, the chances that they will get lucky enough and draw this card are very low and it is simply not sensible to hit with a pair of 10’s.

Another move players should always avoid is the first one that comes to mind when they are dealt with a pair of the same rank – splitting. The reason why is that by splitting, they will simply separate one winning hand into most likely two losing ones. The chances that the outcome will be any different are very low and it is just not worth risking.

10-10 Basic Strategy Moves
Player’s HandDealer’s Upcard
S = Stand

Best Move When Having a Pair of 10s

Just like a pair of 5s, players should view a pair of 10s as any other combination that totals 20. This hand is already strong enough as it is and should never be split. It is a great stroke of luck whenever players are dealt with a pair of 10s as their first two hands since this already places them in a very advantageous position. With such a pair, the best move they can make regardless of the dealer’s upcard is to stand as any other move will only place them in a more unfavourable position.

The chances that their hand will be a winning one are extremely high if they choose to stand. Having such great odds of beating the dealer is very rare in blackjack and players need to know how to make the most of it. What they should do is to stand as they already have an amazing total of 20 in their hands.

If they manage to misplay this pair, what is left for the really tough situations they are about to face at some point during the game? The odds that this hand will result in winning are around 90% which certainly makes it the best move players can make in such cases. This is one of the few moves that professional players agree on and approve.

Player is dealt a pair of 10s. Dealer’s Up card is a 2. Player should Stand.

When the Dealer’s Up Card Is Five or Six

Many players have witnessed situations when a pair of 10’s is split when the dealer’s up card is five or six. The reason why is that having a total of ten in both hands is considered to be a good start especially if the dealer is in such a weak position. However, in order to draw conclusion which move is the most reasonable one, let’s compare the odds of winning for both moves.

If players decide to split, the chances that they will win against a 6 as the dealer’s upcard are 64% whereas if they choose to stand – 85%. The bottom line is that splitting is not a bad move, however, every time players have the opportunity to gain a better advantage over the casino, they should do so. After all, blackjack is played with money and every wrong decision will surely cost you in the run.

Splitting 10s to Advantage

A pair of 10s can be split to advantage on two occasions only, the first one being when the shoe/deck is depleted of low cards. With an excess of ten-value cards and aces, the player stands better chances of pulling another 10 or an ace to make two solid hands with totals of 20 or 21. Of course, this is usually done on occasion the dealer starts their hand with a lousy upcard like a 5 or a 6.

However, the only way to determine the composition of the remaining shoe is to deploy a card counting system efficiently. Therefore, splitting is not a viable move for basic strategy players because basic strategy rests on the premise of a neutral deck. It does not take into account the changes in shoe composition as cards are dealt out.

Let us say in passing that even card counters avoid splitting this particular pair because this move would give rise to the pit bosses’ and casino management’s suspicion. Splitting 10s is basically equal to strolling around the casino floor with “I am an advantage player” written on your forehead.

Splitting a pair of 10s is also a good move in blackjack tournaments where your goal is not to beat the dealer on individual hands but to prevail over other players by finishing with more money on the final chip count. Skilled tournament players would sometimes split their 10s when trying to gain on the current chip leader during the final hand.


Having a pair of 10’s is probably one of the combinations players hope for throughout the game and whenever they get lucky to get such a combination, they need to make sure they know how to take advantage of it. The best move they can choose in such situations is to stand as this almost certainly guarantees them the desired win. It is crucial to know how to play every single hand as this way they will prevent themselves from losing more money.

It is worth mentioning that in some cases when players split a pair of 10s, they are not necessarily ignorant about the game. Splitting such a pair can be sometimes favourable for players who count cards. The reason why is that if the deck is rich in cards favouring them, they can take advantage of this knowledge and expect to get certain cards.