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Player Vs. Dealer: 9,9 Vs. 9

HERE'S THE SITUATION: It's a multi-deck game where doubling down after split is available as an option. You're dealt a pair of nines, while the dealer gives himself a nine. Between the two of you, there's the makings of a damn good poker hand, so immediately sirens (the good kind) are going off in your head. Unfortunately, however, you're playing blackjack - so what do you do?

THE CORRECT PLAY: Split your nines

THE EXPLANATION: On the surface, of course, it looks like you have a pretty good hand here - a hard 18. But remember that with a nine as his upcard the dealer will achieve 19 or higher about 53-1/2% of the time, which means it's likely you're going to lose. Sorry about that - the average dealer's hand in blakcjack is 18.23. But alas - there is relief on the way, to some extent. When you split, you are going to be able to cut those losses down to 44%, and guess what - you are actually going to win four more hands out of every hundred. With the opportunity to double down after split mixed in, you've got a chance to reduce your negative expectations dramatically. Please do not hesitant to make the split in this situation.