Doubling Down in Blackjack Is a Good Bet

Proper player strategy involves taking every advantage

Paying a Double Down
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Winning at blackjack requires taking advantage of every opportunity the game offers, and one of the most favorable situations for the player is the double down. When you double down, you get to double your original wager in exchange for a single card. Most casinos allow you to double down on any two cards, while some casinos limit your doubling to hands that total 10 or 11. Some casinos even allow players to double down after splitting a pair.

Whenever you can, play where the rules are best.

On a shoe game with eight decks where you can double on anything, the house edge is a little more than half of 1 percent. These other rules relating to doubling will increase or decrease the house edge:

  • Allowing double downs after splitting reduces the house edge by 0.13% to -0.42.
  • Restricting double downs to 10 or 11 increases the house edge by 0.21% to -0.76.

By using basic strategy, you can determine when you should double down based on the mathematics of the game. Doubling down is so favorable because you are doubling your bet when you have the best opportunity of beating the dealer. Most of the time, this is when the dealer is at their weakest, such as having an up card of 2 through 6, 6 being the weakest.

When the dealer must hit, they will bust more times with 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 showing, so your double down will be most successful against these cards.

There are other situations in which you will double down with a 10 against the dealer's 9 or an 11 against a dealer's 10. These are close calls, and some newer players hesitate to do this. In the long run, however, you will earn more by doubling down than by just hitting because you get to wager more.

Why It's Worth It

Some players hesitate to double down because they are afraid of losing more money. If the size of your bet makes you sweat, then you are playing with table stakes higher than you should be.

Most casinos will let you double down for less than your original bet, providing it meets the table minimum. This is foolish. You only double in favorable situations, and it is to your advantage to double for the maximum. If it's available, you might also consider playing Free Bet Blackjack, where the casino puts up the double down wager for you.

Double down hands are likely to make or break you during your evening, as there will be times when you run into a bad streak of cards. It can be frustrating, but negative fluctuations do occur. If you are a new player and this happens, you might be tempted to deviate from correct strategy and skip your double downs. That would be a mistake unless your bankroll is too small to continue.

Doubling down is extremely profitable for the player, and it is factored into the figures that are computed for the house edge. When you don’t double down at the right time, you are not playing correct basic strategy and you increase the house edge against you.

Seize the moment and double down when you can.

Dealer Bust Percentage

Dealer's Up Card2345678910Ace
Bust Percentage35374042422624232317