When you are dealt a pair of 6s in the game of blackjack you have two viable playing options:

  1. Split
  2. Hit

Which blackjack strategy you should invoke depends upon what the dealer’s upcard is, the number of decks of cards being used, and whether double down after pair splitting is allowed.

The basic playing strategy for a single- and double-deck game where doubling down after pair splitting is not allowed (NDAS) is to

Pair of 6s in blackjack - Hit & Split

If the blackjack rules allow doubling down after pair splitting (DAS)

  • You should also split against a dealer’s upcard of 7 (Illustrate splitting against 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.)

Split 6s against a dealer's 7 upcard

In a multi-deck game, the basic playing strategy is 

  • If NDAS, split against a dealer’s upcard of 3 through 6; otherwise hit 
  • If DAS, split against dealer’s upcard of 2 through 6; otherwise hit

The following color-coded charts summarize the basic strategy for a pair of 6s (Note: P = Split; H = Hit.)


Single-Deck with NDAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
P P P P P H H H H H


Single-Deck with DAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
P P P P P P H H H H


Double-Deck with NDAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
P P P P P H H H H H


Double-Deck with DAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
P P P P P P H H H H


Multi-Deck with NDAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
H P P P P H H H H H


Multi-Deck with DAS

Dealer's Upcard
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
P P P P P H H H H H
 

REASON FOR SPLITTING

Splitting 6s becomes the better option than hitting if it meets one of these criteria:
  • You will win more money on average
    or
  • You will lose less money on average
    or
  • You will turn a losing hand into a winning hand on average
Suppose you are playing a double-deck game with DAS and the dealer’s upcard is a 2. You are the underdog regardless which strategy you invoke; however, splitting has a less negative expectation than hitting, making it the better play. (In other words, you’ll lose less money in the long run by playing two hands, each starting with a 6, than by playing one hand starting with a total of 12.)

In a multi-deck game with NDAS, hitting 6s against a dealer’s 2 is a non-intuitive play.  This is another example where invoking either strategy (hitting or splitting) results in a negative expectation of winning; however, when you hit, you will lose slightly less money than splitting in the long run, making it the better play.

Another non-intuitive play is to split 6s against a dealer’s 7 upcard in single- and double-deck games with DAS.  With the favorable option of DAS, when you split 6s and draw, say, a 5 to one or both 6s, you have a favorable total of 11 to double. With DAS, pair splitting has a less negative expectation than hitting against a dealer’s 7 upcard, making it the better play.

You may find the following two rules an easy way to remember how to play your 6s:

 
  • In a single- and double-deck game with DAS, split 6s against dealer’s 2‒7; otherwise hit. If NDAS, split against 2‒6.
  • In a multi-deck game with DAS, split 6s against dealer upcard of 2‒6; otherwise hit; if NDAS, split against 3‒6.

RESPLITTING 6S

If the playing rules allow you to resplit, then it is advantageous for you to do so. For example, if you are dealt a pair of 6s against a dealer’s 5 upcard, you should split them. Suppose on the first 6, you are dealt another 6 on the draw.  You should resplit to form a third hand.  If the casino allows resplits up to a total of four hands, then you should resplit again if you are dealt another 6. Resplitting pairs is a player-favorable option that you should always take advantage of.

Resplitting 6s

SUMMARY

You will always win more or lose less if you follow the above basic playing strategy for splitting or hitting a pair of 6s.

For a complete basic playing strategy for any set of playing rules, consult Chapter 3 in the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide.
 
About the Author
By

Henry Tamburin is one of world’s most respected blackjack experts and a world-class player. He is the author of the Ultimate Blackjack Strategy Guide, and Blackjack: Take The Money and Run. He edited the monthly Blackjack Insider Newsletter, and was a featured blackjack columnist for Casino Player magazine, Midwest Gaming and Travel magazine, Gaming South magazine, Southern Gaming magazine, New England Gaming News, Jackpot, Bingo Bugle, and Casino City Times.

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