One thing that will increase your chance of making a profit on any given blackjack session is doubling down when the opportunity arises.
What does Doubling Down Mean?
Doubling down means matching your initial bet so that you now have twice the amount on the table in the chosen hand. You get to act like a boss – perhaps that’s natural for those of you who play games like Deathloop.
At the start of every round of blackjack, you are dealt two cards and see the dealer’s upcard only. If, after seeing these cards, you believe you are in a strong position, you can elect to double down.
The dealer will then give you one more card, after which you must stand and wait to see if you get closer to 21 than the dealer or the dealer busts.
Straight off the bat, you can see how this would benefit your game and help you play better blackjack. You get to win more in the circumstances where you are more likely to beat the dealer.
However, the move needs you to have a reasonable understanding of blackjack probability so that you do not waste your cash.
Blackjack Double Down Strategy
All blackjack strategies relate to one overriding concept you should get your head around, which is the foundation of what is known as a basic blackjack strategy. Get this right, and you can bring the house edge down to around 0.5%, meaning you are only expected to lose 50c for every $100 you bet. Not bad for a form of entertainment.
Everything points to the fact that, in blackjack, every picture card is valued at ten. That means tens, jacks, queens, and kings are all value ten – or put it another way, 16 cards out of every 52-card deck.
With that in mind, you must always presume that the next card the dealer turns over is more likely to be a ten than any other value. Armed with this knowledge, you can make more sensible blackjack decisions, including when to double down.
Your decision-making should be based on two factors. Firstly, of course, there is the current total of your starting two cards. If you are dealt a 2 and a 4, total 6, you won’t double down because it’s most likely your third card is a ten, making a rather hopeless total of 16. Secondly, consider the dealer’s upcard and his likely starting total, given his downcard is most likely a ten. If his upcard is 10, it’s most likely he is sitting on 20. Do you want to double down in this case?
Once you look at your cards and the dealer’s upcard, you can see immediately that there are some circumstances where it makes sense to double down – and many when you should not.
A blackjack strategy chart that you can download for free online will help you here, but essentially, you should only think of doubling down if your total is 9, 10, or 11:
• 11 – double down no matter what the dealer’s card is
• 10 – double down if the dealer card is 2 through 9
• 9 – double down if the dealer card is 3 through 6
• Do not double down with anything else!
Inexperienced blackjack players fall into one of two elementary mistakes when it comes to doubling down. They either double down too much – or not at all.
It’s certainly more fun to double down whenever possible, and that’s enough reason for some to do it. But you will be losing more money than you need, and at a casino, that means you won’t get to play for as long as you might have liked. You’ll be finished and back at home playing the latest games instead.
On the flip side, those timid players won’t double down even if their two cards total 11, meaning it’s most likely a third card will make them 21.
Similar mistakes are made on when to split a pair in blackjack. Some players assume that you should split two tens. But this is an error because it’s likely you already have the winning hand, so sit back and rake in the win, rather than double your stake and risk ending up with two losing hands.
The best advice we can give is to follow the basic blackjack strategy and, again, that blackjack chart we mentioned earlier will do that for you. Use this strategy whether you are playing in a swanky Las Vegas casino or at your favorite online platform. It’s the only way you can bring the house edge down from the usual 2% to 0.5%.