When to Double Down in Blackjack?

Prudence is an excellent quality of a gambler, which sometimes takes years to develop. Caution forces you to be moderate and not take unnecessary risks. This allows you to wait for a lucky moment and get a big win. Players lacking this quality can lose their money very quickly simply because they are overconfident and bet too big.

But what if you are absolutely sure that the next card in blackjack will bring you a win? Choose a double-down strategy and get more winnings thanks to your skills and lucky coincidence!

Why Follow the Double-Down Strategy

The rules of blackjack demand that each player places their bet before the dealer deals each of them two cards. You cannot know in advance what the cards will be. Perhaps it will be a ridiculous combination of 2 and 3, and then it will be very difficult to win with an additional card, even if it is an Ace. Therefore, betting too big from the very beginning is very risky. The dealer can get 21 points faster than you, and all your money will stay with the casino.

But when two cards have already been dealt, you get a more objective view of the situation:

  • You can evaluate how strong your cards are. The ideal option is if you get natural blackjack right away. But even if it is just a “soft hand” due to the presence of an Ace, this is also an excellent option because it will protect you from busting and losing your bet.
  • You will see one of the dealer’s cards and be able to assess their chances of winning. Compare your two cards and their one. Even from this one card, you can understand who has the stronger hand. For example, if the dealer’s face-up card is an ace, it is better not to double down your bet but, on the contrary, take insurance and halve it.
  • You will be able to see how many aces have already hit the table and how many are left in the deck. This will allow you to predict the likelihood of getting one of them the next time you get a card.

With all this information, you will be able to see your chances of winning more accurately. And if you have no doubt that Luck is on your side, you can double your bet to get a bigger win.

When to Use the Double Down Strategy During a Game

According to the rules of offline and online casinos, you can double down your bet only after the dealer has initially dealt the first two cards. Doing this after receiving the third card and further is not allowed. Therefore, the decision must be made quickly enough. Also, remember that if you double your bet, you will receive only one card from the dealer. Therefore, if you have raised your hopes too high and the third card does not give you a win, you will lose twice as much as your original bet.

Two Important Rules for Deciding When to Double Down the Bet

  • The first general rule that unites different situations favorable for doubling down is the absence of the risk of busting. Otherwise, the doubling-down strategy can drain your bankroll very quickly.
  • The second rule states that the decision to raise a bet is never made solely on the basis of an analysis of only your cards. Since you are playing against the dealer, their gain is your loss. Therefore, you always need to evaluate their cards and your cards at the same time.

Situations Conducive to Double Down in Blackjack

You can win against the dealer not only with a soft hand but also with a hard one. Much depends on how strong the cards are in your and their hands after the first deal.

Favorable Condition for a Soft Hand

If you are dealt an Ace and a smaller card from 5 to 7, your chances of collecting 21 points with the next card are quite good. Look at the dealer’s face-up card. If it is small and does not exceed 6, you have a high probability of beating them thanks to the 3rd card. However, remember that in this situation, having an Ace and a higher card such as an 8 or 9 does not favor doubling down. With these cards, you are very close to 21, and if the third card is big enough, you will have to turn your Ace from 11 points into 1 to stay within 21 points.

Favorable Situation for a Hard Hand

If you didn’t get an Ace the first time you dealt cards, you won’t have a chance to get a natural blackjack with a maximum payout. Nevertheless, the chances of beating the dealer and getting a win equal to your bet remain. Therefore, it makes sense to double it, but only if the following conditions match:

  • The total of your cards will be 10 or 11, but no more and no less.
  • The dealer’s face-up card value is lower than yours.

In this case, the chances are high that the third card will bring you very close to 21 points, and maybe, you will even be lucky to collect exactly 21 points. In any case, you will not get the risk of busting. However, the risk of busting for a dealer in this case is quite high. According to the rules of blackjack, the dealer must always choose a hit until they score 17 points.

You can also double down your bet with a total of 9 points, but the dealer must have a fairly low face-up card not exceeding 6 points. This is the key difference from the previous situation:

  • If you have 10 or 11 points, the dealer can have any card, but it must be at least one point less than yours.
  • If you have a hard 9, the dealer’s card must be at least 3 points lower.

The Bottom Line

The opportunity to double down makes blackjack a more attractive game due to the ability to weigh risks and make informed decisions. Over time, as you play a lot of games of blackjack and see how it works, you will almost automatically double down your bet in favorable situations. Of course, this does not mean that you will win every time you double. However, in the aggregate, you will win much more often than you lose, and therefore, this strategy makes sense. 

Also, if you are not playing one-on-one with the dealer but in the company of other players, pay attention to their actions. Notice when they double down their bets and what happens. Learning from other people’s experiences is also very useful because, in this case, you do not risk your money. And only when you see how effectively this strategy can be applied, take a risk with your bet — it’s worth it!