I am confused about the standard basic strategy chart of Blackjack in the case of double 8s. Usually following basic strategy involves the following sequence of playing decisions in that order: One decides whether to surrender, wheter to split, wheter to double down, and whether to hit or stand.

Now assume a round where I am dealt two 8s and the dealer has a 9, X or A. Now I want to follow basic strategy to figure out what decision to make. We first consider whether to surrender, and since we are at 16 and the dealer has a 9, X or A the basic strategy chart tells me to surrender.

But is this right? I've heard the saying 'Always split aces and eights' a lot. Is this saying only applicable in games where surrender is not allowed? I would appreciate somebody clearing my confusion.

1 Answer 1


According to The Wizard of Odds, if you follow the basic strategy, you should Split 8's, with one exception: If the dealer hits on soft 17 and is showing an Ace, then you should Surrender. The same strategy is presented on Wiki:Blackjack_Basic_strategy.

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  • That's what I thought. But I am still confused as to why I seem to consistetnly find sources that suggest otherwise. For one I think this is wrongly stated in pages 31-33 in the book 'blackbelt in blackjack'. The same goes for this website. In both cases it is clearly stated that you check for surrender first, and that you are supposed to surrender a 16 vs a X for example
    – johny
    Feb 8, 2022 at 8:19
  • Could you confirm that e.g. the website I linked does indeed state the wrong choice, and that I'm neither overlooking something obvious nor going insane?
    – johny
    Feb 8, 2022 at 8:23
  • @johny If you only read that specific page of that website, then I could see how you could be misled. However they teach about Surrender in the hard totals section. The hard totals section, comes after splits and soft totals. If my memory serves correct you lose $43 on $100 if you split 8s vs the $50 you lose with Surrender.
    – LeppyR64
    Feb 8, 2022 at 11:10

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