You can also reach us by email:

The Blackjack Double Down Explainer

May 17, 2023

Blackjack is popular, with a history dating back to the 1700s. The game’s basic strategies, including double down, are pretty simple, no wonder it enjoys cross-generation appeal.

In the early days, blackjack was commonly played in brick-and-mortar casinos, but with the introduction of online casinos in the mid-1990s, it found its way to virtual gambling sites.

It starts by dealing players with two initial cards, but they can request an extra card(s) if they wish to reach the game’s goal of 21. Even so, their requisition and overall card comparison should be calculative because garnering more than 21 is considered a bust.

when to double down in blackjack

Generally, blackjack has other nuances, including when to split, surrender, and stand or hit. Nevertheless, this article focuses on the double down definition, meaning, and ideal scenarios where applicable.

What Does Doubling Down Mean in Blackjack?

What does double down mean in blackjack? Well, beginners might think winning casino games is pure luck. However, blackjack is one of the few gambling games which afford the King Billy nobles a fair shot against the house dealer. It has an element of skill and luck.

You can strategize based on calculated probabilities instead of relying upon pure luck. For instance:

  • Double Down is an ideal strategy that allows a player to raise the value of the primary wagers by 100% in the middle of their hand.
  • It is a must the player should stand after picking an extra card in exchange for this move.
  • The option is only available after the first two cards are dealt.

Technically, the double down blackjack game strategy increases your stake and the potential payout if you’re lucky to win. The move is largely considered a confidence vote.

It means you are confident you will beat the dealer when you double the bets. However, it is risky in some instances as you could be dealt with a low card, throwing all the mathematical probabilities into disarray.

The Best Scenarios to Double Down in Blackjack

Deciding when to double down in blackjack is a no-brainer for experienced players. There are diligently drafted scenarios based on mathematical simulations that guide players in deciding when it is the ideal time to engage the approach. They are as follows.

When The Total of Your Cards Equal 11

If your hand after the dealing of the first two cards gets you 11, for instance, 7 and 4, or 5 and 6, this is considered an ideal scenario when you can double down in blackjack. Chances are big that the next drawn card is 10, thus resulting in the coveted 21 natural blackjack. Even if, by bad luck, you miss 10, the next card will still get you close to 21 without busting.

With a hard 9 or 10

Within the double down rules, a hard hand refers to a combination without an Ace or with an Ace counting as 1. As such, doubling down is preferable when you are dealt with a total of 9 or 10, and the dealer’s upcard is between 2 and 6, i.e., below 7, excluding the Ace. With such a combo, chances are high that the dealer will either get a lower total or bust.

When you are showing a soft 16,17 or 18

A soft combo in blackjack means you have an Ace that counts as 1 or 11. If you hold an Ace; cards 5, 6, and 7 will provide the soft combination of 16-18 if the dealer has an upcard of 2-6. This is a perfect chance to double down.

Besides, since the Ace can count as 11 or 1, you have better chances of beating the dealer whether you have a lower or a higher score.

when can you double down in blackjack

When Is It Not Advisable to Double Down in Blackjack?

Finding the answer to the question: “When can you double down in blackjack?” is quite challenging. As we have demonstrated above, you have to be keen on mathematical considerations and keeping track of what cards you hold.

Here are some scenarios when you should avoid using the approach.

When the Dealer’s Upcard is an Ace

It is not advisable to use this methodology when the dealer’s combo has an Ace. With an Ace in their combo, chances are high they will get the 21 blackjack. As such, the best option is to stick to your original bets instead of the double down decision. Besides, you still have the chance to hit and get more cards instead of placing additional bets.

When Your Hard Total Exceeds 11

Essentially, when your initial two cards dealt do not have an Ace, but your total is more than 11, this is considered a risky combo. Chances are high that the next drawn card could result in more than 21 scores, thus busting. It is ideal to remain with your initial bet, as you can still stand or hit without running the risk of losing more chips.

when should you double down in blackjack

General Blackjack Guideline and Tips

As explained in this article, double down is a probability-based methodology, depending on the cards in your hand and what the dealer holds. Also, given our lucid review, we believe you now no longer wonder: “What is double down in blackjack?” and “When to double down in blackjack?” as we’ve given you a detailed definition, rules, and tips.

Unsurprisingly, this being a skills-based product, as opposed to pure luck, players can leverage a few other tips.

For instance, you may use the card-splitting tip. It is advisable to split in blackjack when you have two cards of equal rank. Splitting gives you an extra chance to beat the house since you have two separate hands.

Standing or Hitting is another tip. When you stand, you imply that you’re satisfied with your current card values, while hitting means requesting an extra card after the first round.

As you may have realized, blackjack is significantly skill-based. The decision regarding when doubling down is ideal in blackjack, hit/stand, or split is entirely based on what cards you and the dealer hold. Keep an eye on them, and you might often end up smiling after beating the house.

Further to the double down approach, you can rely on a blackjack board or chart that captures diverse scenarios and optimal decisions when you play.


How do players signal doubling down in blackjack?

While playing the game, you signal your intention to double down by placing a bet or pushing a stack of chips on the sides of the primary bet. Remember, the value of the extra bet should be equivalent to the main bet. If playing against the live dealer, you use the hand signal by pointing the double down option with your finger.

What is the effect of doubling down in blackjack?

Increasing your initial bet by 100% and committing to stand after receiving the extra card is the meaning of double down. Always remember to refer to ideal scenarios when you should double down to improve your odds of winning payouts.

How many cards should I expect after doubling down?

Doubling down will result in only one extra card. After receiving the card, you should stand.

Is doubling down possible after splitting?

Yes, splitting of cards is possible after you have doubled down. Remember, split hands are treated separately, and you can trace back what you held before deciding to split. By default, this will add chips that double your wager to the extent the separate hands bear the same stakes. However, it depends on the blackjack variant and the casino. When enjoying your favorite variant of the game, refer to their guidelines to check if they allow it.

< Back to the blog

We use cookies to improve your experience. By using our website you are accepting our Cookie Policy Cookie Policy