When to Double Down in Blackjack

When to Double Down in Blackjack

Playing blackjack properly is important for having the most success and profitability at the table. Blackjack is mostly a game of luck, but the player has far more control at the blackjack table than in other pit games.

Deciding when to split cards or when to double down in blackjack is all part of the fun and improving your odds of winning.

Card counting is the ultimate blackjack strategy, but casinos will soon catch on. Moreover, counting cards at online blackjack is a waste of time. Even the live dealer tables online make it incredibly difficult and not worth your energy to attempt to card count.

You don’t have to be a card counter to follow basic blackjack strategy. In the long run, following a basic blackjack strategy isn’t going to put the odds in your favor, though it is still one of the best bets you can make at the casino. Blackjack played with a perfect strategy on an optimal 3:2 table that can have a house edge under 0.50%.

Being aware of when to double down in blackjack is an important part of being a good blackjack player. Does this promise that you are going to win every hand you play properly? Absolutely not.

There are no promises when it comes to any blackjack bet. Even if you are playing perfect strategy at the table, it can still result in a losing session. However, we’re trying to improve your odds of winning by playing to the best of your ability.

When it comes to gambling, following the math is the best plan. Our blackjack double down strategy is only looking at the probability of having success.

Double down in blackjack on a hunch or superstition? This isn’t a strategy that is going to work in the long term. You could get lucky once in a while, but it isn’t going to work out well over time. Our blackjack double down tips for when to double down are based on your best chances of winning.

When To Double Down In Blackjack

There are certain situations where the player should double down in blackjack. However, there are other instances where doubling down would be an erroneous move.

We are going to go over the blackjack hands where it is appropriate to double down.

At the online blackjack tables, there will be a button to click if you wish to double down. If you want to double down at a live blackjack table at the casino, you have to place your chips next to your original bet and point with one finger. Always check with the dealer if you are confused.

When a player doubles down, they will receive only one more card for a total of three.

Once the player doubles down, there are no more opportunities to hit. Your action is done at the table and you’ll have to wait for the dealer to play their hand. Too bad if you don’t like your third card.

Your Cards Equal 11

This is the easiest blackjack double down tip to remember. Every time your two cards add up to 11, then you have to consider doubling down. There shouldn’t be any second-guessing when you have an 11.

In this situation, it doesn’t matter what the dealer has in their possession. It is an easy decision to double down when your cards equal 11 no matter what the dealer’s face-up card is on the table.

The reasoning for doubling down with an 11 is simple. The odds of hitting a 10, King, Queen, or Jack is high. This would complete a 21, with a worst-case scenario of a push. Your odds of going bust on your third card is 0%.

Note that this is the only situation where you should double down regardless of the dealer’s hand. In other situations, the player will have to evaluate their two cards to the dealer’s one face-up card. It’s a little trickier, but shouldn’t be a problem with some practice.

Hard 9 or 10 vs. Dealer 4, 5, or 6 (2 or 3 is fine)

When the dealer turns up a 4, 5, or 6, this is good news for the player. The dealer has their best chances of going over 21 and busting.

When a dealer has a 4, 5, or 6, their odds of going bust is around 42%. This is the most likely chance of going over 21. If you were wondering, an Ace for the dealer is the least likely chance of busting at just 12%.

You are in a better position with a 10 to double down, of course, but doubling down on a 9 isn’t a bad option, either. If you are more risk-averse, it’s fine to double down when the dealer has a 2 or 3. The odds of a dealer going bust are approximately 36% with a 2 or 3.

There are no strict rules against doubling down when the dealer has a 2 or 3 versus a player’s hard 9 or 10. However, 9 or 10 versus 4, 5, or 6 is a MUST to double down in blackjack. You are not playing properly otherwise.

Soft 12, 13, or 14 (AA, A2, A3) vs. Dealer 5 or 6

A soft hand includes an Ace, which acts as 1 or 11. Consider doubling down when your soft hand equals 12, 13, or 14. We noted that 4, 5, and 6 are the worst cards for the house to have. The 5 and 6 are slightly worse than a 4 for the dealer, so we can look at it a bit differently.

Having a 12, 13, or 14 is often a frustrating situation for inexperienced blackjack players.

This is when blackjack players tend to question their decisions and aren’t confident. However, with a soft hand, your decision to double down should be easier on 12, 13, or 14.

In this example, you are aware that the dealer has a strong chance of busting over 21, so this isn’t a bad situation to be in at all.

Soft 15 or 16 (A4, A5) vs. Dealer 4, 5, or 6

Hitting on a 15 or 16? Sure, if this is a soft number. Note that you wouldn’t double down on a hard 15 or 16. That would be foolish and probably be accused of being drunk. Playing online? The live dealer will probably believe you are drunk or misclicked.

The player has the casino right where they have them with soft cards, though. We’ve discussed how bad a 4, 5, and 6 are for the house, so this has to be a situation where we target a dealer busting.

Again, this is the best chance of the dealer going bust, so you can afford to be a little riskier. Double down and hope the cards fall your way against the dealer.

Soft 17 or 18 (A6, A7) vs. Dealer 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6

A soft 17 or 18, which also equates to a 7 and 8, the player has to consider doubling down against any low card. The dealer with a 2 is a little more questionable.

More risk-averse players may not want to double down, but it still isn’t a bad move. If the dealer pulls a 3, 4, 5, 6, though, any good blackjack player has to double down.

The math suggests that the player is in a good spot versus the dealer in this case.

When it comes to winning at blackjack, the numbers don’t lie. Do your best to follow the math even if it feels like a wrong move. It’s important to differentiate between soft versus hard hands.


Note that not all casinos and blackjack tables have the same double-down rules. There are some blackjack tables that don’t allow doubling down on anything besides a 10 or 11.

Doubling down on an 11 is a must and the most logical hand to double down on. However, there are other situations where doubling down is in the player’s best interest, too. The casinos don’t like giving too many positive outs for players, though.

Knowing what to double down in blackjack might seem like more of an advanced technique. As you’ve come to learn, it’s not that difficult with some initiative, though. Best of luck in your next blackjack session!

Visit our best blackjack sites if you want to get started playing online blackjack at the top online casinos.

About the Author
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Kyle Eve
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Kyle Eve is a seasoned pro of The Sports Geek. Since joining the team in 2012, Kyle, has covered some of the biggest sporting events in the world. From the Super Bowl and World Series to March Madness, the NBA Finals, Kentucky Derby, and many more, Kyle has provided reliable analysis for millions of readers. After dedicating himself to hockey and football in high school, Kyle placed his first sports bet on his 18th birthday. Since then, he has spent his entire adult life devoting himself to becoming the best sports bettor and casino gambler possible. Kyle is from Windsor, ON, Canada

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