Blackjack is one of the few casino games that involve skill: making decisions can indeed affect the outcome. One of those decisions you’ll have to make is when to double down in blackjack and when to play it safe.
There are different theories regarding this. Our objective today is to analyse the pros and cons, and provide you with expert information. So, when should you double down in blackjack? Keep on reading to find out.
What is Doubling Down in Blackjack?
Doubling down allows you to double the value of your total bet in the middle of a hand. This opens the door for potentially big wins. However, risk works both ways. If you double down and things don’t work out, you’ll double your losses. What to do in any given situation should be part of your blackjack strategy.
It’s also worth noting that there is a kicker. If you decide to take the risk, you’ll only receive one extra card. For that reason, it’s vital to time your double down correctly. It means having 100% confidence in the hand you’ve been dealt.
Popular Hands to Double Down
When can you double down in blackjack? We hear you ask. Well, several hands provide ideal opportunities for doubling down. We’ll evaluate them in more detail below.
When the value of your cards = 11. This is the most popular hand to implement the double-down strategy. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you can’t bust your hand. Secondly, if a face card emerges from the deck, you’ll have a perfect 21.
When you’re dealt a soft 16, 17, or 18. When playing blackjack, the term ‘soft’ means that you have an ace in your hand. Statistically speaking, your chances of winning the hand improve greatly when you’re packing an ace. However, it’s incredibly important to evaluate the dealer’s hand, too. If they also have an ace or a face card, it might not make sense to double the size of your bet. (see: what is an ace worth in blackjack?)
When you have a hard 9 or 10. On the flip side, the term ‘hard’ means that you don’t have an ace in your hand. If you draw a 9 or 10, this may also be a good time to implement the double-down strategy. However, you should play the percentages on a hard hand and only double down when the dealer shows a low card.
When not to Double Down
Our readers often ask us: when do you double down in blackjack? We tell them that the aim of the game is to take as much money from the house as possible. Luckily, blackjack has one of the lowest house edge’s of any casino game. Great blackjack players should know when to step back and hedge their bets. During this segment, we’ll look at some scenarios that favour the dealer.
When your hand is higher than 11. There is no greater buzz kill in blackjack than busting your hand. It gives the dealer a free pass to collect your stake. For that reason, GamblersPro.com recommends avoiding the double-down if your cards equal more than 11. More often than not, you’ll lose more than you gain in this situation.
When the dealer has an ace. Similarly, if the dealer has an ace, you should reduce your risk. All it takes is one face card and you’re out of the hand. It’s still possible to emerge with a winning hand when the dealer has an ace. However, you might not want to risk a double stake.
When to Double Down in Blackjack: Frequently Asked Questions
When should you double down in blackjack? Can I split my cards after doubling down? These are some of the questions we get asked frequently. You’ll find the answer to these questions below.
Q. When do you double down in blackjack?
A. Stick with the advice outlined above and you should be fine. Consider doubling down when the value of your cards equals 11. This will increase your chances of taking home to pot.
Q. Can I double down after splitting cards?
A. Some legit online casinos allow you to double down in this situation. However, most don’t. Check your preferred operator’s terms and conditions before playing the game.
Q. I’ve doubled down. What happens next?
A. Once you’ve doubled down, you’ll receive one extra card. After that, all bets will be settled. If you implement the tactics and strategies outlined above, you can increase your chances of winning. However, be aware that you can’t win them all. You’ll lose plenty of strong hands along the way.
Greg has been an avid gambler for over 15 years. He loves slot machines and betting on football. He’s been writing on the subject for close to a decade now and knows everything there is to know about video slots, jackpots, and slot sites in general! He has been writing for GamblersPro.com for over five years now.