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  • When to Double Down at Blackjack Tables

    Published on July 31, 2013

    Written by Robbie Strazynski

    when to double down at blackjack tablesWhen you’re playing blackjack, one of the most exciting moments you can have is the opportunity to double down. You’re chugging away at the tables, placing bet after bet, slogging through hot stretches and cold ones, and the game starts to get monotonous. Doubling down, though, is like a shot of adrenalin. Suddenly, there’s twice the risk and the potential for twice the reward. If you want to get in there and gamble, you’ve got to double down. There’s no rush quite like it.

    There’s a strategy to doubling down at blackjack, though. You can’t just say the word and throw down the money whenever you please. If you do, you’ll be putting your chips at risk unnecessarily. You’ve got to be smart about it and try to master blackjack strategy.

    Part of mastering basic blackjack strategy is knowing when you should double down and when you shouldn’t. There’s a lot of math and a lot of game theory involved in ironing out the specifics, but in the end, it all boils down to these four rules.

    Be Aggressive with 9, 10, and 11

    The most important rule is this one: if you’re starting hand adds up to nine, 10, or 11, you’re in a prime position to hit and end up with a total of between 19–21. In other words, you’re very likely to win the hand. So, don’t just hit in this situation – double down. The golden rule of gambling is to push your edge when you’re ahead. Even if you’re a risk-averse player and you don’t like to make big wagers, you still have to be willing to put your money in with a strong starting hand like 6-4 or 7-2. Maximize your winnings when you’re the odds-on favorite.

    Split Fives? No Way!

    With most low “pocket pairs” of cards, players like to increase their wager by splitting. Got two deuces? There’s no sense in proceeding with a 4 for a starting hand, so split the dueces and try to improve your luck in two separate hands. The same applies when you’re dealt two threes, and maybe also fours or sixes, depending on the dealer’s up card. With fives, though? No way! It might be tempting to split your 5-5 and try to double your money, but educated blackjack players don’t do it. The better strategy is to double down on your 10 and try to win two bets with one hand. So, you see, knowing when to split pairs in blackjack is pretty important!

    Get Creative with an Ace

    If your starting hand is something like A-6 or A-7, you might consider simply standing pat, trying to win the hand with a made 17 or 18. That’s the wimpy way out though. If you double down, you can maximize your profits. You can hit a face card and still make that same 17 or 18 anyway, thus potentially doubling your money if you beat the dealer. Or, if you’re really lucky, the miracle 3 or 4 will land and you’ll hit that beautiful 21! Lots of starting hands with an ace in the hole – anything from A-7 down to A-2, really – represent a chance for you to double down and win big.

    Consider the Dealer’s Up Card

    All of the above rules are dependent on the dealer’s up card. Generally speaking, it’s good to be aggressive with a big starting hand. On the other hand, if you have a 9 and the dealer does too, that might spell trouble. Doubling down with 5-5 might be wise, but what if the dealer’s showing a 10 of his own? All of your decisions should consider not just your own hand, but the dealer’s hand as well. Remember, you’re not playing blackjack in a vacuum.

    Follow these tips and you’ll be doubling down at the right times and giving yourself the opportunity to make the most money possible.

    What about you? When do you double down while playing online blackjack at Titan Casino? Let us know in the comments section below.

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