When To Double Down In Blackjack | LeoVegas

When To Double Down in Blackjack


Double down:

  • When your cards total 9, 10, or 11 without an ace.
  • When you have a hard 9 or 10 and the dealer's face-up card is two to six, inclusive .
  • When you have a soft 16, 17, or 18 and the dealer's face-up card is two to six, inclusive.

Do not double down:

  • When the dealer has an ace.
  • When your cards total more than 11.
  • When you have a hard hand higher than 1.

Understanding how and when to double down when playing online blackjack can help boost your bankroll whilst playing the game. Timed correctly, an effective double down can see a player double their winnings. Of course, if timed poorly, it can lead to some big losses.

Table of Content:

In this comprehensive blackjack guide, we are going to look at when to double down in blackjack, the rules for doing so, and when doubling down in blackjack is not a good idea.

What Does Double Down Mean In Blackjack?

Doubling down in blackjack is one of the most exciting moves a player can make, it is also one of the most commonly used by players in an attempt to boost their wins. Put simply, to double down is to double the amount of money you have already placed on your hand. There are, however, a few caveats. The first is that this move can only be made when you have been dealt your initial hand.

The second rule, and perhaps the most important, is that once you have doubled down, you are only allowed to receive one more card. As such, players need to be smart about when they double down. The dealer can continue to play their hand as normal, so you will need to be confident in your decision based on their initial card.

Blackjack Double Down Rules

The rules for doubling down are fairly consistent, but there may be some variations in different types of a blackjack game or at different casinos.

The first rule, and the one that all variations of the game will have, is that you can only double down before you have hit. For example, if you are dealt a 4 and a 2 in your first hand, and then you hit a 5, you can’t decide to double down because that ship has sailed.

Secondly, there may be different rules regarding hitting on soft or hard blackjack hands. This is not very common but some games may not allow players to double down on soft hands, which are hands made up using an Ace.

Finally, you will want to check the rules regarding being able to split and double down. A lot of games will now allow you to do this, as they will view the split hands as two new hands. Some games, however, are slightly more old-school with their rules and do not allow you to split and then double down.

As you should with all casino games, take the time to read through the rules before you are dealt your first hand. This way, you can avoid any nasty surprises and will understand exactly how you are betting your money.

Blackjack Double Down Charts

Knowing when to make a certain move in blackjack can be tricky, but there is a method players can use to help them. Basic strategy is a series of charts and rules that have been developed over the years to help players to know what to do when they have a specific hand.

The chart shows the dealer’s hand, the player’s hand, and the best move to make in that situation. Of course, using a basic strategy is not a guaranteed way to win at blackjack. In fact, there is no guaranteed way to win at blackjack, however, the use of strategies could help to reduce your losses over time and help you score more wins than if you are reacting off gut instinct alone.

On a basic blackjack strategy chart, you will see the letters - D, H, S and SP. These stand for double down, hit, stand, and split, respectively. Of course, learning blackjack strategies can take a lot of practice, but the potential benefits justify the time invested.

When You Should Double Down in Blackjack

Most blackjack strategists agree on three key scenarios in which it is a good idea to double down. While none of this guarantees success, doubling down could enable you to to score a bigger win.

The first, and most popular time, is when the two cards in your hand total 11. The biggest reason for this is that you are guaranteed not to go bust on the next hand. There is also a good chance of you hitting 21, or at the very least, getting much closer to it.

A soft 16, 17, or 18 can also be a great opportunity. A soft hand is one that is made up using an Ace card. This should be done if the dealer is showing a lower card. This is because you have a good chance of beating the hand that the dealer could make in these circumstances.

Likewise, a hard (a hand with no Ace) 9 or 10 and a low dealer card can also be a good opportunity. This is because you can not go bust and if you get a higher card, there is a good chance you will beat the dealer.

Basic blackjack strategy also suggests players should lean towards doubling down when they hold a hard 10 and the dealer holds any card lower than a 10. Once again, players are in a good position in this situation as at the very least, they are not going to go bust on their next card. The chances of the dealer beating them are also reduced.

When You Should Not Double Down in Blackjack

While there are some good opportunities to double down in the game, there are plenty of times when doubling down is not a viable option and should, in fact, be actively avoided. Perhaps the most obvious time you should not double down is if the dealer is holding an Ace. This is because the chances of them hitting a blackjack or a high number are high and doubling down could just be a way of guaranteeing you lose more money.

If you are showing a higher hand yourself, then doubling down is also not a good idea. The easiest rule to apply here is: if your hand is worth more than 11, then don’t double down. This is because there is a good chance you might go bust on the next hand.

As a general rule, if you feel as though doubling down is not a good idea or you have any questions about doing it, then you should stayon the side of caution and let the hand play out normally. Doubling down does, as its name suggests, double your financial risk, so don’t make any moves that you don’t feel comfortable taking.

Blackjack Double FAQ

Can You Double Down after Hitting?

No. Players are only given the option to double down when they are dealt their initial hand. Once you have hit, the only options that you will have are to hit again or to stand.

Can You Split and Double Down?

The answer to this is going to come down to the version of the game you are playing. Some variations and casinos will allow players to split and then double down, while others will not. The majority of online casinos and games will fall into the latter category. This is because the game is now considered as two new hands. Of course, we recommend checking the rules of the game you are playing before you place your initial bet and start betting.

Should You Always Double Down on 11?

While there is no situation in which you should always double down, it's worth remembering that doubling down when you have 11 in your hand is definitely one of the best opportunities to reap benefits. There are several reasons for this, but perhaps the most obvious is that you will not break 21 with your next card, regardless of what it is. There is also a very good chance that you will hit a blackjack on your next card, depending on how many 10+ cards have already come out of the deck.

Do you double down on 11 against a 10?

Yes, according to the basic blackjack strategy doubling down on 11 gives the player an advantage. However, you should hit instead of double down if the dealer's face up card is Ace.

When Is It Best To Double Down In Blackjack?

There are a handful of situations in which it is best to double down in blackjack. The best situation to double down is when you have 11 from your first two cards. This is because you stand a good chance of a high-scoring hand from the next card. Of course, you should think twice about this if the dealer is showing an 11.

The other two situations when doubling down can be advantageous. This is when you have a soft 16 or 17 or a hard 9 or 10. The chances of landing a high-scoring hand on the back of these are quite high. However, you should also take into account the hand that the dealer is showing. If they have a high-scoring face-up card, then you may want to approach this with caution.

Should I double down a 7?

In most cases, it is better to double down if you have 10 and more and the dealer has a total lower than 7.

Do you double with 11 against a 2?

Double down can be a good option if you have a hard 11 blackjack hand and the dealer has low value cards.

How many cards do you get when you double down in blackjack?

When you use a double down option in blackjack, you receive only one extra card.

Do you double down a 10 against an ace?

According to the basic strategy, you should double down on the dealer's 9 or less and hit against Ace.

Learn about other blackjack strategies in our guides: