When to Double Down in Blackjack – Top Tips

Blackjack, Cards, Dealer

Have you ever wondered when to double down in blackjack? I show you when the optimal times to do so are and a few situations where you shouldn’t do so in this guide.

I explain what doubling down means, the three situations in which you should do so, and the two in which you never should.

What Is Doubling Down in Blackjack?

Doubling down in blackjack is when you double your bet mid-hand. You’ve received your initial cards, seen the dealer’s upcard, and you like your chances.

After you double down, you’ll receive one extra card. Yes, that means if you have 10, you double down, and you hit and get a two, you’re stuck with 12 and are highly likely to lose the hand.

Doubling down is something you should do in specific circumstances in which you fancy your chances of winning the hand, and therefore, you double your bet.

The Pros and Cons of Doubling Down in Blackjack

The main pro of doubling down in blackjack is obvious: when you get a strong hand, or the dealer likely has a weak one, you have a chance to double your winnings. The trick is to take advantage when things are looking good, and the odds are in your favor.

The main drawbacks of doubling down are that casinos only usually let you do it in specific situations (see below), and you can lose double your money.

Remember that, as with everything in gambling, there’s both risk and potential reward to doubling down in blackjack. This post is about helping you identify when to do so and when to stick with your initial bet.

When Should You Double Down in Blackjack?

There are three important situations in which you should double down when playing real money blackjack. These aren’t necessarily the only situations you should do it in (you’ll have to use your intuition and experience to determine the others), but they are good starting points.

When Your Cards Total 11

The reason to double down in blackjack is to maximize your winnings. When you have a hand worth 11, you’ve got a great chance of hitting blackjack. If you don’t, you’ve still got a great chance to hit a hand worth 17 or more.

When you’ve got 11, the odds are in your favor. That’s when you want to double down and go for it.

When You Have Soft 16, 17, or 18

A ‘soft’ hand in blackjack means you have a card plus an ace. When your soft hand equals 16, 17, or 18, you might think it’s good enough, but you have a good chance to improve your hand, and there’s little chance of going bust as the ace will automatically be played as 1 if that’s to your advantage.

When You Have Hard 9 or 10

A hard hand is made up of cards with no ace. For example, a hard 10 could be made up of two fives. In this case, you can’t go bust, and you’ve got a great chance of getting a card that gives you a total of 17 or more.

Please note: it’s a rule of thumb that you should double down only when the dealer’s card is low. Remember, the more chance she has of getting blackjack, the more chance you have of losing double your initial bet if you opt to double down.

When Not to Double Down in Blackjack

Equally important to when to double down in 21 is when not to do so. There are two specific situations where I advise avoiding it.

When the Dealer Is Showing an Ace

When the dealer is showing an ace, the chances of her getting blackjack or close to it are good. This is not the time to double your risk.

You’re Showing Higher Than 11

If you’re showing a hand higher than 11, your chances of going bust when you receive your next card are too high to double down. Also, in some casinos, you won’t be able to double down on hands higher than 11.

Extra Tip - Pay Attention to the House Rules

When you’re allowed to double down will depend partly on the house rules and the variant you’re playing. In some casinos, you can only double down when you’re showing 10 or 11.

There are also certain types of blackjack in which you can get a better idea of the dealer’s hand before deciding whether to double down or not. For example, when you play Double Exposure blackjack, you can see both the dealer’s initial cards. This can help you make an informed decision.

Where to Play Blackjack?

If you want to test the knowledge about doubling down from this article online, I strongly recommend checking BetUS Casino. You will find cool blackjack promotions and multiple tables with favorable rules, including in the leaver dealer section.