When playing casino games, in-game functions and perks can be entertaining in a big way. Different games come with their own extra side bets and further options to utilise. Blackjack is one such casino game, which includes its own added benefits to take advantage of.
It does have a set of basic rules to follow. Yet there are also versions of the game that allow you to make use of extras. One of those extra features to experience is the double down function. Through this, you can give yourself a great chance to enhance your potential payout.
Yet it is poignant to know what doubling down is and when to use it. After all, there’s nothing worse than having an extra function and not using it in a proper way. That’s why we have put together our own guide to doubling down in blackjack. Through it, we will give you all the necessary information on what a double down move is. Plus, we’ve got insight into when you should take advantage of it. Thus, without further ado, here is our guide to the blackjack double down feature.
What Is Doubling Down?
Doubling down when playing blackjack can be quite the exciting move to make. What’s more, it can be a profitable function to utilise should you get it right.
Through it, you can double your bet in the middle of a hand. That’s where the move’s name comes from – because you’re doubling your wager. It is important to note that when you do this, you will receive a single extra card onto your hand. Nothing more and nothing less will come your way after doubling down. Of course, the card received will then dictate how the double down has gone.
Doubling down can be a very risky move to make. Should you receive a low number card into your hand after doubling down, you can’t hit again. Thus, you could also be at risk of losing twice as much money from that hand. Because of this, it’s important to know when it is best to double down in blackjack. There is a balance to consider between playing it safe and taking that risk. You need to be certain that you do actually have an advantage to work with.
To put it in a simple way, a double down move is a vote of confidence in your own hand. Three situations stand out as being appropriate and ideal to double down in. We’ll discuss the best times to use it in due course. Generally speaking, doubling down is best when you have an advantage over the dealer.
When Should You Double Down?
The three instances where we recommend doubling down are simple to remember. Incorporating the idea of those into your gameplay is something you’ll need to get the hang of. So, here are our tips for doubling down and when to do it.
With Cards That Total 11
Most blackjack players know this is as the ideal time to double down. It’s a wonderful opportunity because you stand the chance of hitting 21 when you have a total of 11. Doubling down doubles up the wager, and the hope is there that a 10 card will come to you afterwards. With 10s, Js, Qs and Ks all having a value of 10, your chances are higher. At the same time, you won’t be able to break 21 with any card turned over. Even if you don’t hit 21, you may still get a card that pushes the total up to 19 or 20, for example.
Because you aren’t risking as much with a double down at this point, it remains popular with players. You don’t stand any chance of going bust and your chances of obtaining 21 are better. What’s not to love about that scenario?
With a Hard 9 or 10 Hand
If you have had two cards dealt that equate to 9 or 10, then you can go for a double down. It is important to note that this must be a hard 9 or 10, though. This means that the hand should not include an ace in it. So, if you get a 6 of clubs and a 4 of hearts, you have a hard 10. A 9 of diamonds and an ace of spades is not a hard 10. There is something else to consider before proceeding with a double down here, though.
The dealer’s hand needs to be showing a low up-card. So, if the dealer has an up-card of the 2 of clubs, then doubling down is ideal. Providing you get a nice high card after doubling down, you stand a good chance of success. The rules dictate that the dealer always has to stand on a certain total. So, if your hard 9 or 10 becomes an 18 or a 19 or more after doubling, that works in your favour.
When You Are on Soft 16, 17 or 18 in Total
A soft hand will always contain an ace. This is because ace cards will always increase your statistical chances of winning. You stand more of a chance of getting to 21 or getting very close to it this way. If you have an ace, it can equate to 1 or 11. So, with a hand that features the ace of hearts and the 6 of spades, you’re in a good position. That equates to either 17 or 7. Doubling down gives you more chances with the two ace card values.
The temptation may be there to stick with a soft 18. After all, it’s quite close to 21 in itself. Yet if you double down, there is a great chance of improving your hand with the extra card. So, consider it, but again, only do it if the dealer is displaying a low up-card. This way, their hand is not in quite as good a position as yours is.
When You Shouldn’t Double Down
As is the case with most things, there are times you should do them and times you shouldn’t. The same is true for doubling down. Now that you know about the best moments to double down, here are the worst times to go with it.
When the Dealer Holds an Ace Card
An ace card is a powerful card in blackjack. That goes for both when you hold one and when the dealer does. Knowing this gives you an instant insight that you shouldn’t double down against a dealer ace. The odds are very much in their favour. From it, they could hit blackjack or even get very close to 21 with their hand. If you have doubled down, then you are more likely to suffer a devastating loss in this instance.
If Your Hand Is Higher Than 11
Any hand that is higher than 11 puts you in the position of being closer to going bust. This is why you should never double down on such hands (unless they are soft). Once again, you risk surpassing 21 with a hand that you double down on of this value. That’s why it’s always better to stick to the safe option and maintain the standard bet. If you’re ever unsure about doubling down, hold back from using it. It’s better to not take the risk in such circumstances.
Further Insight into Doubling Down in Blackjack
If you have played blackjack in a land-based venue, then you may have seen some players doubling down often. These are more often than not the players who are losing the most money. They don’t understand using double down in an effective way. To put things in a blunt way, you shouldn’t be doubling down on most of your hands. You need to seize the moment instead. Only take the risk when you’re the frontrunner in the round.
If you’re a newbie to blackjack, then it’s ideal to remember the very best moment to double down. That is when you have a hand equating to 11. Start out with doubling down at this moment. Then, introduce double down at the other two instances when you’re comfortable. There is no point in trying to remember all three ideal instances for the function. Start out with one and then add the others to your repertoire.
It is important to note that you will not usually have the chance to double down after splitting. When you split, you have received two cards of the same value and separated them. Thus, you have two hands instead of one. While it is true that some online casinos may allow you to double down afterwards, it isn’t very often the case.
One other piece of information to remember is that once you hit, you cannot double down after. Only after you have received the first two cards into a hand can you double down. This is why it is important not to make any rash moves in blackjack. Consider the two cards you have received and then make the appropriate move.
Something to finish off with relates to whether the dealer checks for blackjack. If their up-card is an ace or a 10-card, then sometimes, dealer checks for blackjack. This can be the case online or in land-based venues. If that check results in continued gameplay, they don’t have a blackjack hand. That makes your chance of being successful when doubling down a bit higher. Thus, it is ideal to know about the dealer’s moves in a version of blackjack beforehand. If they do have a blackjack, then the hand will usually finish straight away. You lose in an automatic way in this instance, unless you also own a blackjack hand.