Doubling Down in Blackjack

Doubling Down in BlackjackBlackjack is an interesting casino game whose rules are very straightforward and easy to understand. It is one of the most played card games of all time as it offers players the chance to influence the outcome of every round by applying a strategy. In order to manage to follow their chosen strategy successfully, blackjack enthusiasts should be fully acquainted with the possible moves they can make during the game.

The choice of whether to hit, stand, split, or double down can be very hard, especially if you don’t know what they will lead to in a given situation.. Doubling down in blackjack is one of the best opportunities that the game offers as this move can be very profitable and beneficial if used correctly. Since doubling down is one of the basic moves that can be made, it is essential to get familiar with all of the situations in which it is best to use it in order to manage to make the most of every game.


OverviewDoubling down is one of the most exciting moves that you can make during the game. Thanks to it, you are able to make your original wager twice as much which gives you the opportunity to win more money. In order to indicate this move, you must put the extra bet next to your initial wager, outside the designated betting area and point the amount with one finger. After you are dealt your first two cards, you receive one more card. The amount of the additional bet that can be placed differs from one casino to another.

Some games allow half of the amount of the initial bet to be placed, whereas others require the full amount to be put. Even though the amount, that needs to be placed, is not fixed, it should be noted that this wager cannot exceed the original bet under any circumstances. The rules regarding this move can vary, depending on the casino and the particular version of the game. Some casinos allow doubling down on any two cards, while others have certain restrictions when it comes to this matter. Thus, it is essential to double-check the rules in advance in order to be prepared for all of the possible situations that might occur.

Doubling Down for Less

Doubling Down for LessSome casinos allow patrons to double down for less than their original wagers. Even though it may sound like a good idea as it decreases the risk of losing a lot of money, you will never see a basic strategy blackjack player who rises to this bait. After all, by doubling down you want to maximize your potential winnings.

Let us assume that you are dealt hard 11. If you are familiar with the basic strategy, you should know that the most optimal move in this situation is to double down provided that the dealer’s up card is a ten. Your original wager is $50, but the casino allows you to double down for less than your original bet. Regardless of which approach you will go for, if you double down, you will receive only one more card to your hand. From a mathematical perspective, you are expected to win 54% of the time. So, if you decide to double down, you will have a total of $100 in action. In other words, you will have 54 wins over 100 hands at $100, which equals $5,400. On the other hand, 46% of the time you will lose. A simple calculation shows that you will lose a total of 46 x 100 = $4,600 and you will have net profits of $800.

But if you decide to double down for less and bet $20 more, then you will have a total of $70 in action. The win ratio does not change, meaning that 54% of the time you will win. This means that you will win a total of 54 x 70 = $3,780. On the other hand, you will lose 46 x $70 = $3,220, leaving you with net profits of $560.

If you have a hard 11, another optimal move is to hit. Then, your winning chances are even slightly higher, and more precisely 56%. So, if your bet is $50, you will win 56 x 50 = $2,800, while your losses will amount to 44 x 50 = $2,200. So, your new winnings are $2,800 – $2,200 = $600. And let us not forget that you do not put more money into action. In other words, you will win more money if you hit than double down for less. However, if you double down for the full amount of your wager, you will win more money in the long haul.

When to Double Down

When to Double DownDoubling down can be a very beneficial move, however only on the condition that you know when it is appropriate to use it. While it is true that whether a particular hand will win or lose cannot be predicted as blackjack is a casino game, it is possible to influence its outcome to a huge extent by applying a basic strategy. The basic strategy contains valuable information about the situations in which it is best to perform a particular move, including doubling down.

You should decide whether to double down by taking into account the up card of the dealer and the total of your hand. Usually, it is advisable to make this move if the dealer is currently in a visibly unfavorable position.. When he has low-valued cards, you stand a very good chance of winning and thus, it is essential to get the most out of such situations. For example, if you have a soft 13 through 18 in your hand and the up card of the dealer is 3, 4, 5, or 6, it is best to double down. If doubling down is not allowed, the basic strategy advises players to hit on soft 13 through 17. However, if you have a soft 18, it is better to stand as the chance to bust is big.

Other situations in which doubling down is an optimal move include:
  • Hard 9 against 3 through 6
  • Hard 10 and 11 against low-valued cards

It is essential to get familiar with all of the cases in which it is best to double down as in this way, you will be able to win enough money to compensate for the times when you lose.

Strategy for doubling down in Blackjack
Player’s TotalThe up card of the dealer

Doubling Down a Pair of 5s

Down a Pair of 5’Usually, when players get a pair of two cards of the same rank, they decide to split them in order to form two new hands and in this way, increase their chances of winning. In most cases, it is a good idea to do so. However, there are several exceptions that should be considered. One of them is when you get a pair of 5s and the up card of the dealer is from two through nine as then you should double down instead of splitting.

Even though two 5s form a very decent total, if they are separated, they won’t make two strong hands. In fact, if you split such a pair, you will have exactly the opposite effect as you will end up with two hands whose chances of winning are fairly low. This is the reason why you should double down instead as the dealer is placed in a weak position and the odds are in your favor. It is really important to make the most of such beneficial situations as they offer valuable opportunities which shouldn’t be missed.

Rule Variations of Doubling Down

Rule Variations of Doubling DownAs already mentioned, doubling down rules strictly depend on the particular version of the game and the casino. Every change of the rules, even a seemingly insignificant one, actually has a huge impact on the house edge. Thus, you should always take your time to consider when you are allowed to double down and when this move is forbidden as it determines to some extent your chances of making a decent profit.

For instance, if doubling down is allowed after splitting, the house edge is reduced approximately by 0.13%. If you are permitted to double down only on 10s and 11s, providing that the game is played with six decks, this works in favor of the casino as it increases the house edge by 0.61%. Let’s consider the same situation but instead of six decks, let’s assume that the game is played with two packs of cards – the house edge increases by approximately 0.26%.

In case that you are allowed to double down whenever you wish, this rule works in your favor as it decreases their house edge by 0.62%.


ConclusionBlackjack is a casino game which requires both skills and luck and thus, the final outcome of every hand can be influenced significantly. By applying a reliable strategy, you can drastically increase your chances of winning. However there is never a hundred percent guarantee that a particular hand will be a winning one. Doubling down is often a move performed by more advantageous players who like to increase their level of excitement and adrenaline.