When playing blackjack, one of the most favorable situations is when you have the opportunity to double. When a player doubles down, they have the right to double their bet after receiving the first two cards dealt. In this case, the player receives one more card.
Most online casinos allow you to double down on any two cards (DOA), but some only allow you to double down when you get a total of ten or 11. Another favorable situation is when the casino allows you to double down after split (DAS). All this has an effect on the house’s edge.
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The two charts below illustrate when you should, and when you shouldn’t, double down at blackjack. The first chart indicates what to do when you have a hard total; the second chart what to do when you have a soft total. A hard total is simply a hand either containing no aces, or where the aces count as one. A soft total is a hand containing an ace that counts as 11.
If the casino uses eight-card shoes, then you have the opportunity to double down on any cards. The basic house edge is 0.55%. There are other rules that apply to doubling down, which increase or decrease the house edge.
Doubling down after a split reduces the house edge by 0.13%, bringing it to 0.42%. If a casino only allows double down on ten and 11, the house edge increases to 0.76%.
Once familiar with the double down strategy, you can use the laws of probability to determine the optimal combinations to double down on. This ability to decide when and when not to double down ensures it is a popular strategy. You should use it wisely, when the dealer is at his most vulnerable, such as when he has an up-card most likely to go bust.
The worst cards for the dealer are when the up-card is between two and six. They offer the highest chance of going bust. This is the optimal time to double down.
There are other situations when you can double down:
These are more risky strategies which novice players may be reluctant to employ at first. But even if players are not as successful in such situations as when the dealer has a lower card, long-term use of this strategy should improve winnings.
Players may be reluctant to double down, because they are afraid of losing a double bet. If the size of a double down bet is too high for you, then it means you are playing at tables with the wrong stake limits for your budget. You should consider moving to lower limit tables.
If a player does not double down at the correct time, then it means that they have not grasped the double down strategy. This only increases the house edge. Learn when to double down effectively, and see your blackjack winnings increase!
Want to learn other blackjack strategies? Try hit or stand!