Doubling down is an exciting move to make in blackjack – and profitable if you get it right.
In this post we’ll explain when you should and shouldn’t double down and how to signal the move in a casino.
What Is Doubling Down In Blackjack?
The double down in blackjack is when you double
your bet in the middle of a hand, after which you only receive one more card.
It’s risky because if you get dealt a low card, you
can’t hit again, and could risk losing twice as many chips.
Knowing when to double down during a game of
blackjack is essential.
It’s all about getting the balance right between
playing it safe and taking the risk – being sure you have an advantage.
When To Double Down
There are three times we’d recommend placing the
blackjack double down bet:
1. When your cards total 11.
This is because you have a fantastic chance to hit 21, and even if you don’t, you’re likely to get a score close to that magic number.
2. When you have a soft 16, 17 or 18 (this means that you have a card plus an ace).
Here you should generally only double down if the dealer is showing a lower card.
You might be tempted to stay as you are, especially with a soft 18, however there’s actually a great chance of improving your hand with a single card.
3. When you have a hard 9 or 10 (“hard” describes a hand with no ace).
Once again, only when the dealer is showing a low card. Providing you get a reasonably high card, you’ll be in very good shape against the dealer.
Please remember that you won’t always find things going your way when you double down.
The tactic, when used properly, will increase your winnings over a long period of time though.
When Not To Double Down
1. When the dealer has an Ace.
Here’s a pretty obvious one: never double
down when the dealer is showing an ace.
Quite simply, the chances of them getting blackjack
are just too high.
Even if they check and don’t have blackjack, there’s a very good chance that they’ll end up with a total close to 21.
2. When your card total is higher than 11.
Never double down when you’re showing anything higher than an 11, as the chances of going bust are too high to risk.
It’s better to simply hit or stick on a lower total, and then hope that the dealer goes bust.
3. When you’re unsure.
Basically, if you’re ever unsure whether to double
down, stick to the safe option and keep your bet as it is.
You’ll see some players at a table doubling down
all the time, and they’re usually the players losing money at a significant
You shouldn’t be doubling down on the vast majority
of hands – only take the risk when you’re a clear frontrunner.
How To Signal Double Down In
When looking to double down in blackjack, there’s
only one thing you need to do: push a stack of chips next to your initial bet.
This stack must be of equal value to your starting bet.
How to double down in blackjack: double your bet and receive only one more card.
If pushing the extra chips onto the table doesn’t work (it will 99 percent of the time), simply tell the dealer your intention to double down and point with one finger to signal that you want one more card.
It really is that simple.
Top Tip: Don’t put the chips on top of the initial bet. This is frowned on by croupiers and other casino staff as it could mean you’ve tampered with the initial bet.
Things To Look For When Doubling Down
There’s one important thing to look for when
doubling down: the casino’s rules. The most basic of these will tell you when
doubling down is allowed.
Many casinos only allow players to double down when
they’re showing cards totalling 10 or 11 – if you have any other value hand,
you’ll only be able to continue as normal (unless you have the chance to split,
Also, pay particular attention to the value the
dealer must hit up to. Why? Well, this impacts on how likely they are to go
Most games make the dealer hit up to 17, however in
some games, the dealer only hits up to 16 – something that makes it less likely
they’ll exceed 21.
The more likely they are to go over 21, the more
you should think about making a double down blackjack bet.
Finally, learn whether the dealer checks for
blackjack when they’re dealt an ace or a 10-value card – if they do check and
the game continues, they don’t have blackjack.
This makes your chances of winning when placing a
double down bet much higher.
You’ll know if they have blackjack, as the hand
will stop there, and everyone will lose (except those who have also got
Common Questions About Doubling Down
We get quite a few questions about doubling down in
blackjack, so we’ve listed answers to the most common ones below.
Can you double down after splitting?
Typically, you won’t be able to double down after splitting, however, you will find some online casinos that allow this to happen.
If you can double down after splitting, use the
same decision-making process you would when evaluating any normal hands dealt
Can you double down after hitting?
99 percent of the time you will not be able to
double down after hitting.
This is because it would give the player too much
of an edge over the casino.
Once you have hit, you won’t actually be able to do
anything else other than hit again – it’s also not possible to split or get
Should you always double down on 11?
Generally speaking, yes. This is a really good way
of making money in blackjack, especially if you are a casual player.
Should you double down on 10?
Once again, this really depends on the card the
dealer is showing.
If they have an ace or a 10-value card, you might
not want to double down, as there’s a real chance that they could get a nice
hand and easily beat you.
If they’re showing a 6 or lower, doubling down is a
How many cards do you get when you double down in
When you double down, you will only receive one
Thinking that you will receive as many cards as you
want is one of the major mistakes made by those new to the game of blackjack.
This is where the risk of a double down blackjack
bet comes in, as you could end up with a low total if a low card is dealt.
Can you double down on 21 in blackjack?
No, you can’t double down on 21.
If you could, everyone would do it every time the
croupier dealt them blackjack!
If you are lucky enough to get blackjack, you’ll
find that the dealer pays you straightaway and you won’t be able to do anything
else with your hand.
If you found this post useful, you might want to check out our post on when to surrender or read up on everything you ever wanted to know about blackjack.
Once you’ve read these, why not practice playing blackjack for free or play online blackjack for real money?