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When to double down in blackjack? Doubling down in blackjack is one of the most popular options available to blackjack players. Very few aspects of blackjack provide the thrill of doubling down your original wager and winning a nice profit. Even beginning players know what a double down is and they eagerly await those hands which qualify.

Just like so many other player options in blackjack, the double down can be very profitable when used correctly. Unfortunately, many players do not understand the strategy of doubling successfully.

What Is A Doubling Down in Blackjack?

Doubling down in blackjack is when you double your original wager after receiving your first two cards. Once the cards have been dealt, you will be given the option to double down if the rules permit. If you win this double down bet you will collect double your original wager.

Double Down Blackjack Rules

The rules of doubling down can vary from casino to casino. It is always best for you to know the house rules regarding a double down before you sit down to play blackjack.

Today, in most casinos, a player is allowed to double down on any two original cards. You can even double down a blackjack in some casinos. This rule applies whether you are playing blackjack live or playing online. A few casinos still restrict doubling down to a hard total of 9, 10, or 11. In these establishments, you can only double down if your first two cards total these amounts.

You are also permitted to double down after splitting a pair in most casinos. Once again, a very few casinos do not permit doubling down after splitting so be sure to check the house rules.

After you decide to double down and place your additional wager, you will receive one card which is placed across the two original cards you were dealt. You are not permitted to act further on this hand. The total you have with the additional card is the total you must play. You cannot hit your hand after a double down. You must stand.

Most casinos allow you to “double for less.” This means that your double down wager is less than half of your original bet.

Learn How To Double Down in Blackjack

In order to signify that you wish to double down your hand, place an additional amount of chips equal to or less than your original wager beside the original wager on the blackjack table. This is the universally accepted method of doubling down. The dealer will recognize that you wish to double down and will deal you an additional card.

One important thing to remember: if you are doubling down a pair be sure to speak the words “double down,” or “double” as you place your bet. The reason for this is so that the dealer does not mistake your double down for a desire to split the pair. The actions for doubling down and splitting are exactly the same, so always tell the dealer you are doubling down when you have a pair.

If you are playing online blackjack, just click the button which says DOUBLE DOWN and your bet will be automatically placed.

Doubling Down Blackjack Strategy

The long-held belief among casual blackjack players is that you always double down a total of 11. Why is this? There is a good chance you will receive a 10 for a total of 21. Many professionals as well as beginners always double down an 11, but is this always the right play?

It usually is the right play, but those who know how to count cards understand that there is never an always when it comes to blackjack. Card counters use the count to dictate whether or not they should double down, even on a total of 11.

If the deck has a very negative count, doubling down on any total can end in disaster. When the deck is negative, there are more low cards in the deck. This means that the additional card you receive on your 11 could be a 4, 5, or 6. If the dealer is showing a 10, this is big trouble for you. On the other hand, when the count is very positive a successful player will double down a wide range of hands because he knows that there are more tens in the deck. This gives him a chance to make that 21 out of an 11, or a 20 out of a ten.

The bottom line on doubling down strategy is this. If you are a card counter, always allow the count to dictate whether or not you will double down according to the basic strategy you choose to employ. If you are a beginner, with no card counting experience, here are a few basic double down rules which will serve you well:

  • Always double down a hard total of 11.
  • Double down a hard total of 10 against the dealer’s 4, 5, or 6.
  • Double down a hard total of 9 against the dealer’s 5 or 6.

Stick with these basic double down rules until you learn how to count cards. Once you learn how to count, you will find that more double down opportunities will come your way.


  1. What is “doubling down” in blackjack?
    • Doubling down allows a player to double their initial bet after receiving their first two cards. In return, the player agrees to stand after getting only one additional card.
  2. When should players typically double down?
    • The best situations to double down, based on basic blackjack strategy, are:
      • When holding a total of 11, as you hope for a 10 or face card.
      • With a total of 10 when the dealer shows a card between 2 and 9.
      • With a total of 9 when the dealer has a card between 3 and 6.
      • Sometimes with certain soft hands (those containing an Ace) when the dealer has a weak card.
  3. Can you double down after splitting?
    • The rules can vary by casino. Generally, many casinos do allow players to double down after splitting, but it’s always important to check the specific house rules.
  4. What is the advantage of doubling down?
    • Doubling down is a way to maximize potential winnings. By doubling your bet in situations where you have a statistical advantage (or the dealer has a statistical disadvantage), you can increase your overall profitability in the long run.
  5. Are there risks associated with doubling down?
    • Certainly! Doubling your bet means potentially doubling your loss for that hand if the dealer wins. It’s essential to double down strategically, not impulsively.
  6. Can you double down on any two cards?
    • House rules vary. Some casinos allow players to double down on any two cards, while others may restrict it to specific totals.
  7. Is doubling down effective in online blackjack?
    • Yes, the strategy behind doubling down is based on the game’s mathematics, so it applies to both live and online blackjack. However, always check the rules of the online platform you’re using.
  8. How do different blackjack variations affect the doubling down strategy?
    • Different game rules can impact when you should double down. For example, in games where the dealer hits on soft 17, or in games with more decks, the optimal doubling down strategy might differ slightly.
  9. Why is it called “doubling down”?
    • The term reflects the action: you are “doubling” your initial bet and “down” indicates that you are limiting yourself to one more card.
  10. Do all blackjack players agree on the same doubling down strategy?
    • While basic blackjack strategy provides a foundation, some players might use variations based on personal experience, specific game conditions, or advanced counting techniques.

Understanding the nuances of when and how to double down in blackjack can significantly affect a player’s odds and potential profitability. It’s one of the key decisions in the game that every serious player should study and practice.

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1 Response Comment

  • richApril 20, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Multi Deck basic strategy is Player:
    11 doubles against all dealer hands but Ace,
    10 doubles against all dealer hands but Ten & Ace
    9 doubles against dealer 3, 4, 5 and 6


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