Splitting for Less in Blackjack
By Eliot Jacobson Ph.D.
The house rules for blackjack at most casinos allow players to “double for less.” Simply put, a player can double a hand for an amount less than the amount of their initial wager. Doubling takes place when the player has a big advantage on a hand. In exchange for only receiving one more card, the player is allowed to increase his wager. Wagering anything less that the full double is equal to giving back some of the player’s expected win amount. In short, it is dumb for a player to double for less, so the house is glad to allow players to do so.
On the other hand, it would be very unusual to find a casino that gives the player an opportunity to “split for less” (SFL). The standard split rule states that if the player is dealt a pair of identical cards (a pair), then the player can split them into two separate hands and receive a new second card on each, while being required to place a full initial bet alongside each split hand.
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