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Knowing how to play blackjack can be very easy to understand. It’s you vs. the dealer. Whoever ends up with cards totaling closer to 21 wins. Even the betting is simple. You place your initial bet. If you win, the bet pays out 1:1.
Well, most of the time.
While blackjack isn’t a betting-intensive game like poker, there is a basic strategy to help change your potential payout. One of the best opportunities when it comes to maximizing your winnings is the double down. This guide will go over double downs, what they are and where they fit within the blackjack rules, and when to double down in blackjack, so you’ll be ready to win it all the next time you play.
What Is a Double Down in Blackjack?
A double down in blackjack is your opportunity to increase your original bet after you have some information. After the initial cards are dealt, you know what your two cards are, and you know one of the dealer’s cards. At this point, you can double down. That means increasing your original bet by as much as double the real money.
But how much should you add to your bet when you double down? Some casinos will restrict you from truly doubling your initial bet, but most will allow you to add any amount up to double.
That said, you should only be doubling down when you’re in a favorable position to maximize your winnings.
As for when you’re allowed to double down, it will be determined by specific rules set by the casino (or the blackjack table) you’re playing at. Restrictions on doubling down for each player generally include:
- You’re only allowed to double down if your initial hard hand equals 10 or 11.
- You’re only allowed to double down if your initial hard hand equals 9, 10, or 11.
- Some casinos will allow you to double down after splitting a pair. Other casinos will not allow doubling after a split.
If your initial hand allows you to double down and you choose to do so, then what? You will add to your bet and be dealt one more card. You cannot hit again after being dealt this card. Your turn is over. The game then advances as normal and you see whether your hand beats the dealer’s hand.
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When Should You Double Down?
Now that you know when you can double down, when should you double down? Basic logic tells us that it’s a smart idea for a blackjack player to double down whenever they have a high likelihood of winning the hand. To determine that, it’s time to look at your hand compared to what the dealer is showing.
Good times to double down include:
- When your hand equals 11. At this point, you can’t bust with one card, and the card that the dealer is showing can’t be worth more than your hand. That means you’ve got a good chance of winning. The one possible exception is if the dealer is showing an Ace (equal to 11). You can still double down in this situation, but you may also want to play things straight.
- When your hand equals 10 and the dealer is showing 9 or lower. Same basic situation. You can’t bust, and you’re likely to be beating the dealer after you get your next card. If the dealer is showing 10 or Ace, they may already be unbeatable, so it’s best not to push.
- When your hand equals 9 and the dealer is showing 2-6. Nine is a less impressive total, and with only one card coming your way, you might be in trouble. But 2-6 is a tough spot for the dealer as they’re at risk of either totaling less than your nine or being in a position likely to bust.
- When you have a soft 16, 17, 18, and the dealer is showing 3-6. This can get complicated. Some casinos won’t even allow a double in this situation and some strategies say doubling isn’t a good idea if, say, you have a soft 16 and the dealer is showing a 3.However, a “soft” hand means you have an Ace, which means you’re in no danger of busting, but you still have a good chance of improving your hand with one additional card. This gives you an advantage worth pushing.
Hone Your Skills at Tipico Casino
Blackjack basic strategy requires more than just knowledge of the double down bet. Should you ever surrender (yes, but it’s rare)? Should you take out insurance (probably not)? When should you split? You can read all the strategies you want but the best way to learn your best strategy is by playing.
And the best place to play is Tipico Casino. Our online casino has all your favorite games. Place some bets at the roulette table. Hone your blackjack skills. Learn how to win at slots before you try your luck at our online slots. Then head over to Tipico online sportsbook and use your sports knowledge to add to your bankroll.
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