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The Double Down Strategy in Blackjack Explained

May 17, 2023

As a passionate gambler, you surely enjoy the thrill and excitement of playing blackjack. But have you ever wondered when the best time to double down is when you play the game? Knowing how and when to make this move can significantly boost your chances of winning. His Majesty King Billy is here to guide you on doubling down in blackjack. We will cover everything from the answer to the question “What does double down mean in blackjack?” to the tips on when you should and shouldn't use this strategy.

when to double down in blackjack

Doubling Down in Blackjack: The Basics

Before diving into when to double down, let's start with a definition and figure out what the meaning of this term is. Simply put, it is placing an additional bet on your initial hand in exchange for receiving one more card – and only one more. For example, it doubles your initial wager and increases your potential payout if you're dealt a total of 10 or 11 and believe the next card will be worth ten points (which is quite common).

Here are some benefits of the move:

  • You can increase your potential payout by up to twice the amount of your original bet.
  • It can also give you an advantage over the dealer, especially when they have weaker cards.
  • If done strategically, it allows you to take calculated risks and optimize your profits in the long run.

It's one of the most potent moves that players can make in blackjack. When you double down on a good hand, your chances of winning increase dramatically. However, it is essential to double down in accordance with the basic blackjack chart and at the right time. Otherwise, you may lose more than intended.

when to double down blackjack chart

When Can You Double Down in Blackjack: The Best Time to Do This

As with any gambling game, timing is everything, and understanding when to double down in blackjack is essential. You need to be strategic and calculated with each move to maximize your chances of winning when doubling down. The following are some of the best opportunities you may want to consider when choosing to double down.

Hand Total of 11

When fortune favors you with a hand totaling 11, it's time to seize the opportunity and double down. With just one more card, you have a solid 30.8% chance of hitting that coveted 21, putting you in an excellent position to win big. This percentage is based on the fact that there are 16 ten-value cards (10, Jack, Queen, King) and 52 cards in total in a standard deck, giving you a 16/52 or 4/13 chance of landing that perfect card.

Doubling down with a total of 11 is particularly effective when the dealer's upcard is weak, such as a 2 through 6, because they have a higher probability of busting. Remember that the dealer's chances of busting increase as their upcard value decreases.

Hard 9 or 10

Doubling down with a hard 9 or 10 is smart, as you'll likely end up with a competitive hand against the dealer. With a hard 9, drawing any of the 10-value cards – 10, Jack, Queen, or King – results in a total of 19. And when you hold a hard 10, securing another 10-value card takes you to the formidable 20.

Soft 16, 17, or 18

Soft hands, including an ace counted as 11, present unique opportunities for doubling down, particularly when holding a soft 16, 17, or 18. Since the next card won't cause you to bust, this strategy comes with a safety net.

The ace's flexibility, counted as 1 or 11, gives you multiple ways to improve your hand. For instance, when holding a soft 17, you might draw a 3 for a hard 20 or a 10 for a hard 17. Doubling down with a soft hand is particularly effective when the dealer shows a weak upcard, like a 4, 5, or 6, as their chances of busting increase.

When Not to Double Down in Blackjack: The Worst Time for This Strategy Explained

While doubling down can often increase your chances of winning big, it's important to consider when not to use this strategy. When the dealer shows a strong upcard like an Ace or 10-value card, players may want to avoid the move since there is a higher likelihood that their next card will be lower in value than expected.

when should you double down in blackjack

Another instance to avoid it is when you have a total hand value of less than 9. There's little chance that one more card will improve your odds, so it's not worth the risk. In addition, if you're fighting a losing streak and have exhausted your chips, double down is not advisable, meaning this may hasten your losses.

One final point is that the move can be risky, so it's important not to overuse this strategy. While a strategic double down may increase your odds, relying too much on the move could lead to bankruptcy.

Understand the Blackjack Rules

Now that you know when to double down in blackjack don’t forget the importance of understanding the rules. Different variations of this game also have various rules for doubling and payouts. Before playing a round, read up on these regulations so you know how they affect your profits.

For instance, some casinos may restrict players from doubling down on certain totals or require them to double the original bet after splitting. In addition, payouts can vary depending on whether a dealer stands or hits soft 17.

In conclusion, doubling in blackjack is an essential strategy to increase your potential payout and give you a significant advantage over the dealer. However, it’s essential to use this move strategically and at the right time, otherwise, it may hurt rather than help your chances of winning. Fortunately, The Noble players of King Billy can use demo versions to better understand the answer to the question “What is double down in blackjack?” and practice their skills before risking real money!


How do you indicate a double down in blackjack?

If you're playing in a land-based casino, you can signal your double down by pushing a stack of chips onto the board. However, if you're playing blackjack online, there will usually be a button on your screen that says "Double" or something similar. Clicking this button indicates that you want to double down your hand.

What occurs during a double down in blackjack?

You're committing to double your original bet in exchange for only one more card. After receiving that additional card, you must stand, and your turn ends. Of course, you must understand when you can double down in blackjack to take advantage of the move.

How many cards are received when doubling down in blackjack?

You will receive only one more card after doubling your initial bet. This is why it's crucial to know when the right time to double down is because if that single additional card doesn't improve on a weak starting hand, then there are reduced chances of winning the round.

Is it possible to double down after a split?

Yes, you can double down in most blackjack games after splitting a pair of cards. However, rules can vary between casinos or specific blackjack variations, so you must familiarize yourself with the specific rules about when to double down in blackjack. Some games may allow you to double down on any two-card hand after a split, while others may have some restrictions.

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