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TOURNAMENT STRATEGY:

So Youíve Split a Pair. Now What?

By Kenneth R. Smith

Ken Smith hosts the popular website www.BlackjackInfo.com and the new site for tournament players www.BlackjackTournaments.com. Ken has written tournament articles for Blackjack Confidential magazine, he appeared in the televised World Series of Blackjack I and in the Las Vegas Hilton Million Dollar Championship II finals. You can subscribe to his free email newsletter for blackjack players at http://www.blackjackinfo.com.

Splitting pairs seems to be a hot topic lately, so I wanted to revisit a subject that I wrote about a few years back for the now-defunct Blackjack Confidential magazine. The article was titled ĎTournaments: Splitting 10s to winí and it appeared in the April 2001 issue. I still get a lot of questions about the strategy I presented in that article so Iíll recap the research from that article and then add some extra insights.

Consider a player who has split his bankroll for the final hand and knows he must double up his entire bankroll to win the table. Heís happy to be dealt two face cards. He splits the tens of course, but what then? Many players in this situation still make critical mistakes in the way they play after they have split tens.

The most common mistake is playing regular basic strategy after the split. Remember, winning just one of the two hands is worthless. Hitting a stiff is less valuable than usual because even if you draw a good card, the other hand can still pose a problem if it isnít as strong. The dealer bust is your best friend when you need to win both bets, and that means you should be conservative with hitting.

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