When to Double Down in Blackjack?

January 20, 2021
when to double down in blackjack

If you’re looking for ways to learn how to play blackjack well, and how to earn money while doing so, you have come to the right place. If you are new to it, there’s a lot to learn. Here, you will not only learn the features of Blackjack but also about when to double down in blackjack or how to use the ‘Doubling Down’ strategy. 

So fasten your seatbelts. This is going to be a fun ride.

When to Double Down in Blackjack

There are 3 scenarios where placing double down bets is ideal in blackjack:

  • When the cards sum to 11: The probability of hitting 21 is high. Even if you don’t, you are still likely to have a score that’s close to this number.
  • When there is a soft 18, 17, or 16: This means you have a card and an ace. Generally, you should double down only if the dealer shows a lower card. 
  • When you hold a hard 10 or 9: “Hard” is the hand without an ace. Again double down only if the dealer shows a lower card. 

Doubling down is a thrilling move to pull off in a game of Blackjack. It’s a way to make twice as much profit without much effort. The act of doubling down, referred to as “reaching deep” by the pit bosses is a true gamble. 

Timid casino-goers might avoid the double bet at all costs while more adventurous players might make it way too often.

I’m going to tell you what doubling down is and what splitting is, and also about when to double down, when to split, which hands you should split, and so on.

I’m going to teach you basically how to increase your odds against the house by using these strategies and most importantly find a way to make money every single time a bet is placed, whether the house wins, or the player wins.

Let’s start by talking about doubling down. 

  • Doubling down is when you can bet up to the full amount of your original. 
  • You can double down for less than your full bet or you can go as much as your original bet, hence the term doubling down. 
  • Now regardless of whether you bet the full amount or you double for less, you are only going to get one hit card if you decide to double down, so let’s talk about what hands you should definitely double down on. 

The prime hands are the four hands that you will want to double down every single time regardless of what the dealer’s up card is.

  • According to the rule of eleven, if you don’t have an ace in your hand and your two cards equal 11, you always want to double down. 
  • If you do have an ace it probably means you either already have 21 or you want to go ahead and hit because that’s going to be your best odds. But with these four hands, you must always double down these hands.

Now let’s talk about the subprime hands. Just like on the last hand we talked about the Rule of 11, with the subprime hands this IS the rule of 10. 

  • With these four hands you really first need to look at the dealer’s up card before you decide whether you want to double down. 
  • If the dealer does not have an ace or a face card showing a face card, of course being king queen Jack or 10, then you should double down with these four hands. 
  • This is going to put the odds in your favor now if the dealer does have an ace or a face card you will definitely want to hit you have the option to double down with these cards, but if it’s not really the odds in your favor then remember you’re trying to beat the dealer and not push the dealer. 

Splitting while Doubling Down

doubling down in blackjack

Now let’s talk about what splitting is and also the option of splitting combined with doubling down. Splitting is when you can take your hand with your two cards and you can make it into two hands. 

Remember you have to have a pair in order to split, but there are some pairs you don’t want to split. For example, 5/5 was a card that met the rule of 10 and that would be a hand that might be better to double down on and you would never want to split a 5/5, but there are other hands that you will want to split.

Just remember that with splitting, you have to make the exact same bet for the second hand that you made originally on your first hand. So if you bet $20 on your first hand and you got a pair and you want to split them, you have to bet $20 on your second hand as well in order to split.

Also, remember that while splitting you are not limited to only one hit card in the same way that you are with doubling down. You can continue to hit on each of these new hands and you can keep hitting on those until you’re ready to hold. 

Or if you make 11 with either of these hands then you would want to double down as we discussed previously and that’s where you would be combining the strategy of doubling down with splitting, and that really puts the odds in your favor. 

Let’s talk about splitting which hands you can and should split. First of all, as we said earlier, remember you have to have a pocket pair in order to split and while you can split any pocket pair you shouldn’t necessarily split any pocket pair. 

Some pocket pairs are not good to split and these are:

  • King-King
  • Queen-Queen
  • Jack-Jack
  • 10-10 

These hands are not a good idea to split because they already add up to 20 and your odds of beating the dealer are already very good so you don’t want to split them and decrease your odds. Second of all, there are some pairs that are risky depending on the dealer’s up card which you may or may not want to split. 

There are really only two scenarios where you should split every time regardless of the dealer’s up card and that’s what we want to discuss. Those are 8-8 and ace-ace. 

If you split these cards, every time you will increase your odds against the house, so no questions asked. If you get an 8-8 or you get an ace-ace, no matter what the dealer has up to, split them always to increase your odds at blackjack.

In a nutshell, doubling down is a fantastic blackjack strategy. But, your opportunism needs to be informed by one of the situations we’ve just gone through. 

If you don’t double down when you’ve got the best chance to turn a profit the house is most likely going to take your cash. If, however, you pay attention and choose your moments carefully you might step away from the table with a smile on your face and a heavier wallet.

An Overview of Blackjack

First of all, I will tell you about the goal or the objective of blackjack, so that you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. To put it in simpler words, if you beat the dealer, you win at blackjack and hence that is the ultimate objective of this game. 

There are some other gambling games such as poker, in which you’re playing among yourselves, i.e. the game is set against all the other players around you. That is not the case in Blackjack. Here, the aim is to win the game against the dealer of the bet. 

The one way through which you can beat the dealer is by getting as close to 21 as possible in comparison to the dealer, while also making sure that you don’t go over 21. For this very reason, blackjack is sometimes called Vingt Un, which is german for 21. 

As soon as the dealer gets closer to 21 than you, or if you yourself end up going over 21, that very instant loss comes your way. 

All the number cards in this game, ie. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10,  hold their original value in black. The Jack, Queen, and King are all equalized and hold the same value of 10. What makes blackjack unique is that the ace can either denote a value of one or eleven based on the player’s convenience.

How to Deal in Blackjack?

Here, I will teach you how to deal in Blackjack. The player and the dealer both will get two cards, but the dealer only ends up showing one card. Meanwhile, the other card is kept on the table facing down. Now, the player will go first and will have the choice to stay or to take more cards. A point that must be noted is that the player always goes first.

The aim here, as discussed above, is to get closer to 21 than the dealer, while also making sure that you don’t go over 21. Following the complete dealing of this blackjack round, there are three possible outcomes. In case the player wins, they get paid the same amount as what they just bet. In case they lose, they get nothing. In case they end up getting a point value equal to the dealer, which is also known as a ‘Push’, then they neither win nor lose, and the fresh round starts.

A quick way that can lead to an automatic blackjack win would be if you’re dealt a blackjack, also known as a Natural. Such combinations include ace and jack, ace and queen, ace and king or ace and 10.

Say we’re playing with three players, a player’s area would be called a box in a casino so you deal one card each to each box and the dealer would get one card and you deal another card out to each box. The dealer would show his top card, giving each player a decision based on the holding that they have. Let’s assume the dealer is showing a queen, which is a ten, making it a pretty powerful situation forcing the players in each box to make a decision about the hand, whether they stick, or whether they take a card, etc. 

Playing Decisions in Blackjack

As a player, there are chiefly four decisions that you can be made by you at the blackjack table. These are hitting, standing, doubling down, and splitting.

In the following few paragraphs, I will break down each of these for you so you can use them when you play blackjack in the future. Before doing that, you should know that there is an actual chart, that will help you figure out the appropriate playing decision for each hand of blackjack. This strategy is also known as the ‘Basic Strategy’. It was created by mathematicians, and according to them, it is the most perfect way to play all possible hands in the game. 

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  A
8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H D D D D H H H H H
10 D D D D D D D D H H
11 D D D D D D D D D H
12 H H S S S H H H H H
13 – 16 H S S S S H H H H H
17 – 21 S S S S S S S S S S
A – 2 H H H D D H H H H H
A – 3  H H H D D H H H H H
A – 4 H H D D D H H H H H
A – 5 H H D D D H H H H H
A – 6 H D D D D H H H H H
A – 7 S D D D D S S H H H
A – 8 S S S S S S S S S S
A – 9 S S S S S S S S S S
A – A P P P P P P P P P P
2 – 2 P P P P P P H H H H
3 – 3 P P P P P P H H H H
4 – 4 H H H P P H H H H H
5 – 5 D D D D D D D D H H
6 – 6 P P P P P H H H H H
7 – 7 P P P P P P H H H H
8 – 8 P P P P P P P P P P
9 – 9 P P P P P S P P S S
10 – 10 S S S S S S S S S S
S – Stand

D – Double

H – Hit

P – Split

Even though this method only takes a couple of hours in a few days to memorize, it will not give you an upper hand over the casino. For that purpose, what you need is card counting, but that lesson is for later.

First of all, let’s tackle the concept of hitting. You’d first think as to why you would practice hitting and the answer to that is, to get a better hand. For example, in a situation in which there is an eight against say, a seven, the player will prefer to hit. Hitting is done by You’re going to do that by scraping on the table or even tapping the table’s surface. After doing this, the dealer will provide you with another card.

In case the situation is such that you don’t want another card, you should choose to stand. Say, for instance, that you hold an 18 against the dealer’s 7. In this situation, you will prefer standing. To signal the same, you can wave your hand. This would pause your hand. Following this, you would decide to stand if your hand is good. Otherwise, you will have to bust it. The third resort here is doubling down.


In conclusion, I would like to go over all the points so that you can review what you have learned through this article. 

The game can be played amongst two or more players and the aim of Blackjack is to get your card total closer to 21 in comparison to the dealer while also making sure that you don’t go over 21. Besides there being multiple players in the game, every player is playing the dealer.

To begin the game, you start by placing your bets.  Every player on the table is dealt one card at a time. The player’s cards are dealt in the face-up direction. The dealer’s card is kept face-down. Now, players can either stay a hit, or indicate a hit. They can indicate a hit by tapping on the table. When a player waves their hand over the table, it signals a stay, which means to suggest that the player does not want more cards. 

The player sitting on the left side of the dealer is first to either stay or hit, while the second player taps the table to indicate he wants another card. The six gives him 20 and the second player waves his hand to stay. The third player goes next and waves his hand indicating he does not want any more cards. The fourth player is up next. On tapping for another card, he gets a 5 for a total of 13, while player 4 signals another hit and gets a 10. This takes fourth players to a total of over 21. The fourth player hence loses his bet. This action is known as a bust.

A player can double down by adding to his bet and signaling one pointed finger. When doubling down a player only gets one card and has to stay. The double down usually only happens when a player’s first two cards equal nine, ten, or eleven. In case the player and dealer come to a tie, such a situation is known as a push. The player will keep his original bet and the dealer is forced to hit if his first two cards equal sixteen or less the dealer has to stay if his first two cards equal seventeen or more the round begins with each player placing a bet.

Hence, you can see that the game of blackjack can be played in a profitable manner without too much requirement of luck. I don’t mean to say luck doesn’t play a part, but you can always take the rein in your hands. What is needed is an intelligent brain, alertness, and just a few prayers. 

Author Neha

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.