Splitting pairs in blackjack gives you the opportunity to bet more after you saw your cards and think you have a high chance to win in cases when you are dealt with two identical cards such as 5/5 or 9/9. In such cases you may split them and play two separate hands with one card each.
The dealer will then deal you an additional card to each hand, and you will play each hand individually. It is important to know the different splitting pair types when you play blackjack.
Splitting Pairs may increase your chances for winning or it can lower them, in order to know whether to split or not you should read our blackjack Splitting Pairs Strategy article which would explain when you should or should not split.
In casino blackjack tables where you are not allowed to touch the cards, just signal the dealer to split the cards by placing money (double of the original bet) on the table. If allowed, simply double your bet and split the cards yourself. In online blackjack tables you have a "Split" button that automatically doubles the bet and split the cards for you.
A "natural" or blackjack after splitting is paid even money and not 3:2 as usual. For example, if you split Aces and get a face-card such as a Jack you would not be paid 3:2 as you would had been in a case of a regular hand, instead your payout would be 1:1.
Article contributed by Sam Marshall 30th of november '05