When Should You Double Down In Blackjack?

September 1, 2020

Being successful in blackjack relies on strategy – but winning big in blackjack is a matter of timing, and knowing the right time to double down.

Doubling down is a thrill move, and one of the best known bets in blackjack. But surprisingly, many people don’t understand the ins and outs of the move, and how timing plays an important role. When done the right way, you can find yourself upping your winnings, big time.

So. What exactly is doubling down? In short and sweet terms, it’s when you double your bet in the middle of a hand (equal to your ante) in return for only one extra card. Yep, it’s risky. But, it can also increase your payout. In order for the risk to pay off, you need to double down at a time when you have the advantage against the dealer.

When You Should Double Down

The whole point of playing blackjack is to win against the dealer. If you think that you have a statistical advantage, then that’s your shot! In general, there are certain hands that are better to take advantage of, like:

When the total of your cards equal 11

This is by far the most popular and well-known time to double down in blackjack. That’s because there’s a good chance that if you’re showing an eleven, then one more card could hit blackjack – or get close to it. Or at the very least, you won’t break 21. This is why so many people choose to double down when their total cards equal 11.

With a hard 9 or 10

A “hard” hand is one where there is no ace involved (sigh). If you find yourself in this situation, it’s a good opportunity to double down if the dealer is showing a lower card. If it’s in the cards, you’re putting yourself in a pretty good situation to win against the dealer.

When you are showing a soft 16,17 or 18

The term “soft” refers to a hand where you have an ace plus another card. It’s common knowledge when playing blackjack that an ace can be a real winner, because it increases your statistical chances of either hitting or getting very close to 21. But don’t get too confident when you see that all-important ace. It’s a good rule of thumb to only double down in this situation when, once again, the dealer is showing a lower card.

When Not To Double Down

Doubling down is a thrill – we get it. But too frequently double downing because of the urge to increase your win can backfire. There are some instances where it’s a bad idea, and you’ll find yourself losing a lot of money, fast. Yikes. Times to not double down include:

When The Dealer Has An Ace

An ace is a pretty powerful card to have in your hand when you’re playing blackjack, which is exactly why you should never double down if the dealer is showing one! The odds are in their favor to either hit blackjack or get very close to 21.

If You Have A Hard Hand That’s Higher Than 11

Unfortunately, if you have a hard hand higher than 11, your chances of going bust are just too high to risk doubling down. If you’re ever unsure, it’s better to hold back and not take the risk.

More Blackjack Double Down Tips and Tricks

Know when to double down or when to just stick with your initial bet with these extra tips and tricks:

  • If and when you’re ready to take the risk, signal your double down by simply pushing a stack of chips (the same amount as your initial bet) next to your current wager. Avoid putting the new chips on top of the initial amount as this can be seen as tampering with your bet. Remember, your double down bet must always match your initial bet amount.
  • For most people, particularly those who are newer to blackjack, it’s almost always a good idea to double down when you are showing an 11.
  • Typically, you will not be allowed to double down after splitting. Splitting is when you receive two cards of the same value, and you are given the option to split those cards into two separate hands and receive two new cards from the dealer. Some online casinos may allow you to, but most in-person casinos will not.
  • You cannot double down after hitting. Hitting is to take another card. Doubling down is a move that is only allowed after the initial two cards have been dealt.

Now that you know more about doubling down in blackjack, it’s time for you to hit the Kiowa Casino & Hotel floor! Just remember when it’s a good idea to take the risk, and when it’s safer to stay away from doubling down. And if you’re not sure whether or not to double your bet, it’s better to just stick to your initial wager rather than jeopardize losing double your money!

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