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What Does It Mean to Double Down in Blackjack?

Doubling down in blackjack is one of the moves that you can make in the game. When you double down, you are simply raising your initial wager by 100% and taking another hit from the dealer. The rules regarding doubling down in blackjack state that you must stand after you’ve received the additional card. Generally, players only double down when they are confident in the two cards they’ve been dealt thus far. But, there are other rules regarding when the best time to double down is.

When you play blackjack online, the option to double down will be clearly visible with a nearby button on the screen. Of course, if you are playing live blackjack you can signal intent verbally. When playing at a land-based casino you simply place an equal bet next to your initial bet on the table. This signals your intent to double down and the casino dealer will assist you accordingly.

Doubling Down in Blackjack

When to Double Down

Doubling down in blackjack should not be the first move you make. It’s advised that you cross out all the other possible moves first. Based on the first two cards you’ve been given you must first ask yourself if it’s better to surrender at this point. Remember, not every online casino has the option to surrender, and you can only surrender after your initial two cards. You only choose this option if you’ve received a hand that you absolutely cannot work with.

The second question you need to ask yourself is “should I split”? But again, splitting is only advisable if you’ve been dealt a pair. If your answer is no, only then should you resolve to doubling down in blackjack.

Now, there are only three instances in the game where it makes sense to double down. Have a look at what they are below.

  • Only double down in blackjack if you have a hard nine against the dealer’s up-card of 2 through 6. A hard nine in blackjack is a hand of two cards that add up to nine but don’t include an Ace card.
  • Only double down if you have a hard 10 or 11 against the dealer’s up card that has to be of lower value than what you’ve got. 10s and 11s in blackjack can come in many combinations e.g. 5+5, 5+ 6, 8 + 2, 7+ 3 etc.
  • The only other instance is if you have a hand that adds up to 18, 17 or 16 against the dealer’s up-card that must be 2 through 6.

When Not to Double Down in Blackjack

Just like there are optimal opportunities to double down in blackjack, there are also instances where it’s best to not do it. Experts say that you should never double down when the dealer’s up-card is an Ace. An Ace is a powerful card in blackjack and the likelihood of the dealer getting blackjack is just too high with an Ace. Even if they do not get blackjack, the player with a value closest to it can also win the hand and that’s still very likely with an Ace.

Do not double down in blackjack if you have a total higher than 11. The likelihood of going bust is high in this instance. The safest option here is to stand or hit.

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