What is doubling down in Blackjack?
Have you ever wondered how you can possibly break even or win at blackjack when overall you stand to win only about 47% (excluding ties) of the hands dealt to you? One reason is the double down option.
CASINO RULES FOR DOUBLING DOWNWhen a casino allows you the option to double down, it means you can double the amount of your initial bet in return for receiving one, and only one, draw card; i.e., when you double down you give up the option of drawing more than one card. Most casinos allow you to double down on any two-card hand (hard or soft), whereas some restrict doubling to specific starting hands, e.g., doubling is allowed only on hard 10 and 11. The best player-friendly doubling rules are when you can double down on any two cards. The two variables that determine whether or not you should double down are the total of the cards in your hand and the dealer’s upcard. As a general rule, the hands you are most likely to double are hard 8, 9, 10, and 11, and the soft 13 (A-2) through 18 (A-7) hands.
BASIC STRATEGY FOR SINGLE DECKThe following black and white tables and color-coded chart summarize the doubling down basic strategy for:
- Single-Deck Hard Hands
- Single-Deck Soft Hands
- Single-Deck Pairs
- Single-Deck colored chart containing all of the above
Single-Deck Soft Hands
In a single-deck game, you would double down on a pair of 5s, and sometimes on a pair of 4s. The latter depends on if the game is NDAS or DAS.
Single-Deck Doubling Down Colored Chart
The following color-coded chart summarizes the basic strategy for doubling hard hands (including pairs) and soft hands for a single-deck game.
BASIC STRATEGY FOR DOUBLE- AND 4/6/8-DECKThe following black and white tables and color-coded chart summarize the doubling down basic strategy for:
- Double- and 4/6/8-Deck Hard Hands
- Double- and 4/6/8-Deck Soft Hands with S17
- Double- and 4/6/8-Deck Soft Hands with H17
- Double- and 4/6/8-Deck Pairs
- Double- and 4/6/8-Deck colored chart containing all of the above
Double- and 4/6/8-Deck PairsThe following color-coded charts summarize the double down basic strategy for Double Deck and 4/6/8 Decks with S17, followed by Double- and 4/6/8-Deck with H17.
- Single-deck game with h17, you hold 9 and the dealer’s upcard is a 2. You should double down.
- Double-deck game with h17, you hold A-8 and the dealer’s upcard is a 6. You should double-down.
- 4/6/8-deck game with s17, you hold 7-4. Dealer shows an ace. You should not double down.
You would double 7-4 against an ace only in single- and double-deck games.
LOGIC FOR DOUBLING DOWN ON HARD HANDS
Most of the time when you play blackjack you must play defensively because the dealer’s hand has a likelihood of beating your hand. But the logic for doubling down is you get to go on the offensive at the best possible time - when the dealer has a relatively high probability of busting or when you have the edge over the dealer on the hand.
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