What Is Doubling Down in Blackjack?

A lot of people would love to try their luck in Blackjack but are intimidated by the many unfamiliar terms and phrases used in the game itself. Now, if you’re one of these people, fear not, and take a look down below to find out everything you need to know about doubling down in Blackjack.

What Does It Mean?

Blackjack is a popular casino classic that has been around for a while now, retaining its charm for many a player throughout the years. Hence, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Blackjack tables are the most crowded ones at most casinos.

Now, whether you’re there to bet or just to watch, there are some terms—other than hit and stand—used in Blackjack that can sound strange and puzzling to an untrained ear. In short, doubling down is an option you can choose in the opening round of your game—provided you have the right cards—that has the potential of increasing your winnings twofold.

How Does It Work?

Once the game starts, you have the option of doubling your original bet to get an extra card in return. According to some, this strategy can put you at an enormous advantage over the house—provided you know exactly what you’re doing. Some guides even go on to claim that your edge over the house can get up to 13%; if you play your cards right of course.

However, no matter how promising this percent may sound, you shouldn’t be just doubling down at all costs, all of the time, as it’s extremely counterproductive and will cost you tons of money. Instead, you need to take a look at a few strategies that’ll show you exactly how to double down and double your winnings in the process.

Basic Double Down Strategies

Knowing the right timing is essential for winning any casino card game. If you know when and how to bet during a game, you have a much better chance of taking the pot at the end of the game.

What’s more, doubling down depends both on your cards and the cards of the dealer. So, let’s take a look at a few instances where doubling down is a good option:

  • One of the first things you want to watch out for is whether the dealer’s card is, in fact, a bust card—card values of 4, 5, and 6. If that is indeed the case, and you’re holding an Ace card in combination with any of the low cards (2–6), you should definitely go for a double down as you’re in a more favorable position than the dealer.
  • A general rule of thumb is to always double down if your score goes from 9 to 11—provided that the dealer doesn’t have a 10. Also, although doubling down with a 9 may be a good idea in a single deck game, you shouldn’t follow this rule blindly; especially so if you’re in a six-deck game as it may end up costing you the game. Additionally, in multi-deck games, you can try to double down with a 9 only if the dealer’s card is somewhere between 2 and 6.

Double Down After Splitting

This is an exceptional strategy that can bring you a considerable advantage over your opponent, once you become a master of it. That is why you should always choose Blackjack games that allow this kind of play; look for a DDAS (double down after split) mark next to your game.

Now, let’s delve a bit deeper and see this strategy in action.

For example, you have a pair of 8s, and, naturally, you decide to split this hand. Next, you get a 2, or a 3, from the dealer; meaning, you now have a total of 10, or 11, in your hand. Now, according to the basic strategy, both of these hands are perfect for doubling down, as the chance of winning with an additional card is pretty high.

People decide to split pairs more often when they’re presented with the opportunity to double their bet and get an additional card afterward. When this option becomes available, you can even try splitting low pairs that you otherwise wouldn’t; especially so if the dealer holds a ‘bust’ card. However, I wouldn’t recommend this move to just any Blackjack newbie out there, as there’s more to this (complex) strategy than meets the eye.

The Most Common Doubling Down Mistakes

A lot of new players will jump at the opportunity to split a pair of 5s, given the chance. However, this is a terrible mistake you need to avoid at all costs. Instead, you should always consider doubling down a pair of fives because they give a total of 10; the basic strategy instructs us to always double down with a total of 10 or 11, especially so if the dealer’s card is low.

Also, it’s easy to forget the difference between a hard 17 and a ‘soft’ 17. A hard 17 is any card combination that gives a total of 17 while a soft 17 consists of an Ace and a 6. This is one of the most sought after hands since the Ace card can be counted as either a 1 or as an 11. As a result, a soft 17—and soft hands in general—are perfect for doubling down.

All in all, if you time your bets wisely, this strategy is the most optimal way of beating the dealer. So, the next time you get to play Blackjack, be sure to try out this awesome strategy and see how it goes.

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