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Double Down Blackjack: The Ultimate Strategy

Shane C

May 2, 2023

A guide to double down in blackjack

Well, let me tell you, blackjack is like a roller coaster ride of emotions. It's one of the most thrilling card games out there, even in online casinos, and there are a few reasons for that. First off, the game is super easy to understand. You just need to get closer to 21 than the dealer, without going over. How simple is that?

But then, it's not just about luck, it's also about strategy. You have to decide things like whether to hit, stand, or even split your hand. And when you do that, you're risking your money, so the adrenaline starts pumping. There’s one strategy that might make you feel like you’re watching a thriller movie or pushing a stack of chips to the centre of the table in a poker’s all-in move. Its name? Double down. Can this be the game’s ultimate strategy to win big? Let’s find out.

What is Doubling Down in Blackjack?

When you double down in Blackjack, you're basically doubling your original bet in exchange for receiving an extra card from the dealer. This move is risky, but it can also be super rewarding if you play your cards right (pun intended).

It works in the following way: let's say you receive two cards and have a starting hand of 10 or 11, and the dealer is showing a weak card like a 4 or a 5. This is the perfect time to double down. By doubling your bet and taking one more card, you increase your chances of getting a higher total than the dealer, without risking too much.

Now, there's no guarantee that you'll win, but the potential payout may be worth the risk. If you get a high card like a 10 or an ace, you're in a great position to beat the dealer and get a nice chunk of change. But, and this is a big but, if you get a low card like a 2 or a 3, you're kinda screwed. That's why doubling down is all about timing and reading the table. 

When Should You Double Down?

When To Double Down in BlackjackThe best time to double down is when you have a hand with a high chance of winning, and the dealer has a weak up-card. For example, if you have a hand of 10 or 11 and the dealer is showing a weak up-card like a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, it's a good time to double down.

Let's take a closer look at the odds of getting a good card when doubling down. If the player has a hand of 10 or 11, there is a relatively high probability of getting a good card, which makes doubling down a good option.

For example, if the player has a hand of 10 and the dealer is showing a weak up-card like a 5, the probability of getting a high card (10, J, Q, K, or A) is around 30%. In this scenario, the player has a good chance of improving their hand and beating the dealer, making doubling down a favourable option.

On the other hand, it might be a risky option to double down if the dealer is showing a strong up-card like a 10 or an ace, and the player has a weak hand, so the probability of getting a good card is much lower.

For example, if the player has a hand of 8 and the dealer is showing a strong up-card like a 10, the probability of getting a good card is around 16%. In this scenario, the player is more likely to bust than improve their hand, making doubling down a poor option.

The Strategy’s Pros and Cons

Some considerable pros of taking this strategy into gameplay are:

  • The potential payout is higher: By doubling your initial bet, you stand to win more money if you win the hand, possibly more than in two normal separate hands.

  • Increases your chances of winning: If you have a strong hand, and the dealer is showing a weak up-card, doubling down can increase your chances of winning the hand.

  • You can take advantage of a favourable situation: Doubling down is a way to make the most of a good opportunity. If you have a strong hand and the dealer is showing a weak up-card, doubling down can give you a better chance of winning a larger pot.

  • It can be a way to catch up: If you've been losing for a while, doubling down can be a way to catch up quickly. By doubling your bet and winning the hand, you can recover some of your losses.

  • It can increase your confidence: Successfully doubling down can boost your confidence and give you a sense of control over the game.

On the other hand, some cons are:

  • You risk losing more money: If you lose the hand after doubling down, you'll lose twice the amount you would have if you hadn't doubled down.

  • You may get a bad card: Doubling down gives you one more card, but there's no guarantee that it will be a good one. If you get a low card, your chances of winning the hand decrease significantly.

  • It can be addictive: Doubling down can be a thrill, and some players may get carried away with it. This can lead to impulsive and risky behaviour, which can result in significant losses.

  • It requires good timing: Doubling down is only effective when done at the right time. If you double your bet too often or at the wrong time, you can quickly deplete your bankroll.

  • It's not always profitable: Doubling down doesn't always result in a win, and it's not a guarantee of a profit. In some cases, it may be better to stand or hit rather than double down.

Overall, doubling down in blackjack is a high-risk, high-reward move. It can be very rewarding if done at the right time, but it's not something you should do all the time. Now that you understand why this might be your ultimate strategy to win big when playing blackjack, practise it a lot in free play so that you can figure out the best opportunity to double down when your money is on the line.