Blackjack seems to be one of the easiest games among all those provided in the casinos. However, this is not quite the case. When you start thinking about this game deeper, you find that there are many tricky spots. One of those relates to the use of special moves available to players. In this article, we are going to provide you with a complete guide on how and when to use (or not to use) the double down move.
What Is Double Down in Blackjack?
There are several options you have in blackjack that allow you to make winning moves during the game. There is also a move that relates to increasing the stakes. One such option is double down.
Double down is a move where the player decides to double his bet and takes one more card. The important thing about this move is that you won’t be able to take a second card further into this match.
Due to the essence of this move, it should only be used, when you feel more confident about your chances of winning in the current match than usual. There are basic principles that we recommend being adhered to by all players who want to use this move. There are also advanced principles if you want to use more comprehensive strategies and get a deeper insight into the game.
In the beginning, it will be useful to start with the basic rules that explain the positive and negative conditions for the double down move.
When to Double Down in Blackjack: Rules
Before you read these rules, consider the fact that any land casino or online casino you play in can have specific limitations on doubling. Get acquainted with the restrictions on the corresponding page before starting the match.
- Generally, having 9-11 is almost always a good position for doubling down. Double down on hard 11 if the dealer’s card is 2-8, on hard 10 in case the dealer has 2-9, and on hard 9 when the dealer has 3-6.
- In case you get an Ace and another card is 7 or less, it is necessary to be attentive to the dealer’s up card. If your second card is as high as 7, you have more options to double down – do it on the dealer’s face cards 2-6. For Ace and 6 it’s dealer’s 3-6. For Ace and 4,5, it’s dealer’s 4,5,6. And last, for Ace 2,3 double down only if the dealer got 5,6.
- In some casinos, when doubling down, you can place a bet less than the initial one instead of doubling it. It is better to avoid that, even if you are a cautious player. The thing is that with good initial cards like in the points above, you have the highest chance t0 win. Thus, decreasing the stake would be a loss for you.
When Not to Double Down in Blackjack
Along with the positive scenarios for doubling down, there are negatives as well. These are the basic initial card you shouldn’t double down with:
- Although 11 hard is one of the best hand for doubling down, that doesn’t mean you should use this move constantly. There are high chances the dealer will have a better position if the upcard is more than 8. That means that your opponent is likely to get a good combination initially.
- Ace on the dealer’s side means you shouldn’t double down at all. Even if you have positive 11 hard or an Ace as well. Consider that the dealer won’t be limited by one card to add if you double down, so it’s better not to take a risk.
- No doubling down should be done for the initial hand with the hard sum exceeding 11. Even if you have hard 12 only, this one point decreases your chances of winning with one additional card only dramatically. The reason 11 is the border sum for doubling is the fact that with 11, there is no chance of getting more than 21 points. On the other hand, with hard 12, you can get 10, Jack, Queen, or King. As you can see, there is too much risk for doubling in this case.
Doubling Down in Blackjack: Charts
There can be many tricky situations when you need to make a choice among the strategies available. Double down might be the best choice, though it the right move, might not be obvious. To get a better understanding of the rules listed above, consider the situations you might face when playing blackjack.
Your Hand: 6-3
At first, you should count your total that makes 9. Consider that it is a hard nine, which means you do not have an Ace in your hand. This is a very important detail that should have a great impact on your decision.
In the meantime, the dealer has 5. Due to the mathematical calculations, in case the dealer has 3-6, you have the highest chances to get better results if doubling down. Thus, your best option would be to make this move and likely to enjoy your winnings.
Your Hand: Ace and 7
With your Ace, the hand becomes soft. Here you can get either 8 or 18. This provides you with a wide range of positive combinations, as you can appoint the value of Ace for your benefit.
If the next card is 3 or less, you will get a Blackjack and triple your winnings. And you also can get something like 9-10 (or equal) or even another Ace.
Now, we come to the dealer’s upcard, which is 5. As we can derive from mathematical calculations, the highest chances for you to win with such a hand occur in the case where the dealer’s upcard is 2-6. Thus, in this scenario, choosing to double down would be a good option.
Your Hand: 5,6
You get the 11 hard cap – a very good combination that is the most desired for the initial hand. This is one of the best combinations for doubling down, and you may already be ready to make this move. However, let’s not forget about the dealer’s up card.
We see that it is an Ace. Ace means 1 or eleven, and we do not really know what other cards there is. Maybe, the best option for you would be to surrender; in any case, you should definitely avoid using the double down strategy here. Considering the flexibility of combinations available for the dealer, your chances to win drop dramatically.
This situation can seem really controversial, though. You get hard 11, the dealer gets an Ace, so why not take a risk? That’s what many novice players do, and practice shows that it is usually a mistake. Do not forget that if an Ace is good for you when doubling down, it is even better for the dealer, as he has more options with several hits available.
When to Double Down in Blackjack Sheet
Take a look at these tables to help you remember the best soft hands to double down.
However, considering the fact double down can be just another move in your strategy, you may want to know the profit for 1 dollar bet per match. Based on the statistical analysis we have managed to calculate the profit where possible.
In the table below you can see a profit per one dollar (if 20, then it means 20 cents).
Doubling down FAQ
As you can see, the best combinations for double down are concentrated when you get hard 10 or 11. These are the most profitable to double down. How can you use this table? The thing is there are other moves available – Surrender, Hit, and Stand, which you can use. Thus, it may be better to use another one, rather than double down. Use this table to make a choice among these moves based on statistical profits.
Here you can check out the answers to questions we often get regarding Blackjack rules and strategies.
Can You Double Down After Hitting?
No, you can’t. Double down is only available after you get 2 initial cards. Hitting means that you have taken the third card, and thus doubling is not allowed. You also cannot hit after you double down as conditions for this move consider taking one card only.
Can You Split And Double Down?
Usually, you can. However, some casinos impose restrictions on doubling down after splitting. Restrictions can be imposed to double down if you got Aces or in other cases. Read the terms on the corresponding page of the casino for clarification on this issue.
Should You Always Double Down on 11?
No, you shouldn’t. It will be a bad strategy if the dealer has an Ace or more than an 8 upcard. In such a case, the dealer has greater chances to hit a better combination than you. In all other cases for 11 doubling down is acceptable.
How to signal a double down?
Place the additional bet near the initial one and point your finger on the chips to make sure the dealer has noticed. Note that in some casinos, you are allowed to bet less than 100% of your initial bet when doubling down. Though, many bettors have figured out that it is not the best strategy for this move.
Other Blackjack Strategies
Double down is not the only strategy you can use in Blackjack. A variety of strategies is something that makes this game so engaging. An ability to define the best moment for the specified strategy can bring you to profitable gambling.
Split is all about dividing your initial hand into two separate hands. When you get your first two cards, it is possible to split them into two hands, that are treated separately afterward. That means that for each hand, you place the same bet. If used right, this strategy can increase your winnings dramatically.
Hit & Stand
Hit means that you take another card from the deck. That card is added to your hand, and the sum is calculated then. There are no limitations to the number of cards you can take until the sum exceeds or makes 21. Stand means that you are done with taking additional cards and that the dealer can make his move. This option is chosen when you feel you have rested on the best combination possible.
Surrender is a strategy that allows you to give up losing only half of your bet. This strategy can be used when you see that the dealer’s hand is much better than yours. Thus, if you feel that the chances to win are low, it can be the best option to choose from.
Correct usage of double down won’t increase your chances to win, and still, it can increase your winnings. Moreover, combining double down with split can bring a cumulative positive effect. The only thing you need to consider – different casinos can have different rules and restrictions when it comes to double down.
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