When to Double Down in Blackjack

By Alex Smith, Last updated Mar 23, 2024

One of the most frequented casino card games in the world is blackjack. Blackjack and its several versions are available at almost all online casino sites worldwide. Land-based casinos almost always contain a minimum of one blackjack table.

While playing blackjack is a pretty easy and uncomplicated casino table game, some players have trouble with specific bets. One of these bets is the double-down.

We will examine a double-down bet, how it works, and when you should place this side bet on this page. Let’s first examine what the double-down wager in blackjack is all about.

What Does Online Blackjack Double Down Mean?

Once you’ve placed your initial bet at the blackjack table, the hand will begin. The dealer will then deal two cards to you and one to themselves. On these original cards, you are given a chance to place an additional bet equal to the exact one you placed when you began playing – hoping to win more money if your hand becomes a winning one.

Once you receive your two cards and see the dealer’s face-up card, it’s time for you to assess the strength of your hand. You are then allowed to choose how you would like to proceed.

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If your two cards equal a low value, and you think that you could beat the dealer with one more card, you can choose to double down. This is achieved by placing an additional bet worth the same amount.

You will then receive one additional card. Once this card has been dealt, you will no longer be able to draw any more cards. This is why double downs should only usually be done when the dealer shows a weak first card.

When to Double Down – After you Place your Initial Bet

If you are interested in when you should double down, there are a few things to consider. We strongly recommend you print out a copy of the blackjack hand charts (the blackjack basic strategy charts) to know when to make these moves if you’re playing in a land-based casino. If you are playing online, it’s easy to get it up on a separate tab for your convenience.

Generally speaking, the spots you should double down on are:

  • When you have 11, you should always double down. The only exception to this rule is when the dealer shows an ace. Even though it can be tempting to double down when the dealer shows an ace, don’t do it. It’s not recommended.
  • When you have 10, you should double down in all situations apart from when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace or a ten. Again, while it can be tempting to go ahead and double anyway, we wouldn’t recommend it.
  • If you have 9, you should double down when the dealer holds a three, four, five, or six. Some players like to double down against anything up to a nine, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Now, if you have a soft total (when you hold an ace), there is a different set of rules. In this scenario, you should follow the following rules:

  • If you have a soft 17 or 18, you should double down when the dealer shows a three, four, five, or six. Don’t be tempted to double down if you have a soft 17 and the dealer shows a seven; it’s not likely to work out in your favor.
  • If you have a soft 16 or 15, you should double down when the dealer shows a four, five, or six.
  • If you have a soft 13 or 14, you should double down when the dealer shows a five or a six.

You should not double down on any other hand, EXCEPT a pair of fives. You are strongly recommended not to split these fives., Treat your hand like a ten, and double down accordingly.

Doubling Down Payouts

If you choose to double down and win the hand, you will be paid out at even money – 1/1. For example, if you placed an initial wager of $20, and chose to double down, the total amount of money wagered is $40. If you were to win the hand, you would be paid $40 – essentially doubling your money.

While the double-down bet can be beneficial, it’s worth pointing out that it can cost you a lot of time. When you double down, you will only receive one additional card at most land-based and online casinos. This means that if you doubled down on a 10, for example, and received a two – you would not be able to draw any additional cards.

This is one of the reasons why you should only double down when the dealer holds sure hands. The best double-down strategy is conservative, so don’t feel tempted to bet on one more card when the game’s basic strategy rules tell you not to!

FAQs

Is blackjack easy to play?

Yes, Blackjack is one of the best casino games to play if you are a new player or don’t have much experience gambling at online casino sites or inside land-based casinos. When you begin playing blackjack, we would advise new players to have a glance at a blackjack strategy guide, however. This guide will tell you when you should draw cards, when you should stand, and when to double down in Blackjack.

Can I try blackjack for free?

Yes! If you’d like to try our Blackjack without risking any of your own money, you’ll be happy to learn there are thousands of free-to-play Blackjack games online! Many of these Blackjack casino-based games can be played free of charge at online casinos before you need to deposit any money and play for real.

However, please be aware that if you live in the UK, playing free casino games without verifying your ID at an online casino is no longer possible. You can, however, simply find a non-real-money gambling website and try out Blackjack for yourself there.

What is the best blackjack strategy?

This question is subjective; some players have different opinions, and many will have their unique approaches. This is further compounded by the fact that each variation of Blackjack has its unique strategy guide that should be followed.

The best thing to do when you’re playing a new variation of Blackjack is simply to Google the version of Blackjack and include the word “strategy” at the end. This will bring you a plethora of results.

What does the dealer’s face-up card show me?

When the dealer’s face-up card is dealt with, you will be able to gain quite a bit of information. First and foremost, you will be able to see whether or not there is a chance that the dealer may draw a Blackjack. For example, if the dealer shows an ace, you can be confident that a double down should not be used.

Talking about when to double down in Blackjack, the dealer’s face-up card also tells you when you should double down. As a recap, here is a list of when you should double down in Blackjack:

  • When you have 11, you should always double down. The only exception to this rule is when the dealer shows an ace. Even though it can be tempting to double down when the dealer shows an ace, don’t do it. It’s not recommended.
  • When you have 10, you should double down in all situations apart from when the dealer’s face-up card is an ace or a ten. Again, while it can be tempting to go ahead and double anyway, we wouldn’t recommend it.
  • If you have 9, you should double down when the dealer holds a three, four, five, or six. Some players like to double down against anything up to a nine, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Is every blackjack game the same?

No! Today, there are hundreds of different blackjack games, all with their unique side bets, rules, and more! Before placing an initial bet at a Blackjack table, ensure you’re playing a variation of the game you’re happy with! Thankfully, almost all variations of Blackjack offer the double-down option. Some even let you double down on non-standard Blackjack hands and soft hands – for extra money.

Remember, the house edge increases slightly if you play different hands at the Blackjack table. Drawing that extra card can be very beneficial, but it’s not always advisable. Bear this in mind if you plan to play frequently at different Blackjack games. For example, some Blackjack games should be played with the side bets they offer. Good examples of Blackjack side bets include Perfect Pairs and 21+3.

Can I increase the amount of my original bet?

No. When you choose to double down in Blackjack, you will not be able to increase the size of your wager. Of course, if you could do this, it would be a severe disadvantage to online casinos. When you double down, you must match the initial wager by 100%; you cannot stake any less, and you cannot stake anymore. That is just the way it is!

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