There are many moves in a game of Blackjack, but the Blackjack Double Down move is the most exciting one! Why? Because it can be the most profitable move you make.
It is one of the most popular bets at the table, but the key is knowing when to double down in Blackjack, and that's where we come in!
We're going to explain what it all means when you should use it, and just as importantly, when not to use it! To make sure you understand the bet, we will give you some ideal situations to practice next time you head to the Blackjack table.
By the end of the blog, we hope that you will be able to master the Blackjack double down rule and use it to try and beat the dealer.
What Does Double Down Mean in Blackjack?
The double-down Blackjack bet is when you double your bet during the middle of a hand. However, the Blackjack double down rules mean that once you activate the bet, you can only receive one more card (you must then Stand). However, by doing so, you now have the chance to increase the value of your bet by up to 100%.
In essence, this is a confident bet, but it's also risky too. If you're dealt a low card, you have to remember that you can't hit again. This potentially means you could lose double your initial bet. This is why knowing when to double down in Blackjack is important. It's about getting the right balance and knowing when to play it safe, and knowing when to take a risk.
There is only one point in a game of Blackjack where you are allowed to double down, which we're about to discuss in more detail below.
When to Double Down in Blackjack
Like we said, knowing when to double down in Blackjack is essential. It can be an exciting and profitable bet, but if you play it at the wrong time, it will cause the opposite effect. The following three situations are the ideal chance for you to use the double down Blackjack bet:
Your Hand Scores 10 or 11 (Situation 1)
If, after the first two cards have been dealt, your hand scores a hard 10 or 11 and the dealers' card is lower, then the odds are in your favour. Your cards could be a 2 and 8, 2 and 9, 3 and 7, 3 and 8, 4 and 6, 4 and 7, two 5's, or 5 and 6.
Right now, you stand a good chance of scoring 21. It's also an excellent time to double down. Why? Because you can't go bust! However, the dealer is at risk of going over 21 because they have to hit until they reach at least 17.
You Have a Hard 9 (Situation 2)
If the dealer has a low card again, you'll be in another good situation to use the double-down bet here. Receiving a Hard 9 is simply a hand that adds up to nine but does not include an ace. This means your cards could be 2 and 7, 4 and 5, or 3 and 6.
Using the double down bet is not always going to go in your favour, and that's an important note to remember. However, using this strategy can increase your chances of beating the dealer over time.
When You Have a Soft 16, 17, or 18 (Situation 3)
Having a soft hand means that you have a card plus an ace. So, your initial two cards can be an ace with either a 5, 6, or 7, and if the dealer has a low card like a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6, then this is another good chance to use the double down Blackjack bet.
Having a soft 18 already puts you in a good situation, but using double down could put you in an even better one. If you use the double down bet, you have the option to use the ace as a one or an 11, and you could then improve your hand with your final card.
Like we said, using the double down bet is not a guarantee every time, but it's about finding the balance of when and when not to use it.
When Not to Double Down in Blackjack
We keep saying you must know when to double down in Blackjack, but it is just as important to know when not to double down. Here are three situations when you should not consider activating this bet:
The Dealer Has an Ace (Situation 1)
Yes, it may seem like an obvious one, but it's all about learning the ropes if you're a beginner. If the dealer is dealt an ace, they're in a good position to score 21.
As you've learned by now, a double down bet is a confidence vote in your bet; if the dealer has an ace, there's a good chance you're about to lose the bet.
Even if the dealer doesn't score 21, the odds are in their favour that they'll score close to 21 and win the bet. If you chose to double down, chances are you have just lost twice the amount of your original bet.
Your Hand is Higher Than 11 (Situation 2)
If you have a hand higher than an 11 (excluding a soft 16, 17, or 18), your chances of going bust are higher, and you should avoid using the double down bet. In this situation, you are better off either Hitting or Standing and hope the dealer goes bust.
If you don't have confidence in your hand, don't double down. Keep your original bet and stick to the safe option.
When You Have 21 (Situation 3)
Contrary to some beliefs, you cannot double down when you have a hand of 21. Just imagine that you could! Every time a player was dealt 21, the player would double down, and the casino would probably go bust!
If you score the perfect hand of 21, depending on the Blackjack variant, there is a good chance that the dealer will automatically pay your winnings straight away, and the game round will end.
Blackjack Double Down Rules
It is important to remember that you can only double down at one point during the game, directly after your initial two cards have been dealt. If you Hit, most casinos will not allow you to double down as it gives you a solid edge over the casino. The same applies if you Split.
Once you have decided you want to double down, you must double your bet. The rule is that you are then allowed one more card, and you must Stand after you have been dealt it, regardless of its value.
A common mistake made by players is that they think they can be dealt numerous cards after a double down bet, so this is an important rule to remember. Once you have been dealt your card, you must then wait to see what the dealer has been dealt.
These are the two main rules to remember when considering to double down. You should then consider the situations that we have listed above.
There is no guaranteed double-down bet; it's a game of luck after all. The best time to double down is, without a doubt, when you have a hand that is valued at 11, but there is no rule of thumb. Every player is different, and you'll start to learn your strategy as you play more hands.
Be smart. Only take the risk of a double-down Blackjack to bet when you're a front runner; this is the only way it will be profitable for you. Some players will use the double-down bet on many of their hands, and they'll also be the ones losing a lot of money.
Yes, it's exciting. Yes, you can double your winnings. But if you use it at the wrong time, you'll lose far more than you earn! Players often wonder how to win at Blackjack, and unfortunately, there is no definitive answer, but using the double down bet can increase your chances, so use it wisely.