Blackjack’s Doubling Down Strategy
Under the rules of blackjack, you may double down after you have received your first two cards and the dealer has revealed his one “up card”. When you double down, the size of your bet on the virtual blackjack table is doubled, you receive one more card, and then you must stand.
The up side of doubling down is that, with your bet doubled on a good hand, you stand to win twice as much money. The down side, of course, is that you also stand to lose twice as much money, which is why you must double down carefully. Another down side is that your freedom of action is limited, since you cannot hit again after receiving your one additional card.
The rules of some online black jack games allow you to double down only if your first two cards total 9, 10, or 11. Other games allow you to double down on any two cards. And there are even a few blackjack variations that allow you double down with more than two cards. So make sure you know the rules of your particular online blackjack game and tailor your double-down strategy accordingly.
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Doubling Down on 9, 10, or 11
The key to all winning blackjack strategies is remembering that, since 10, Jack, Queen, and King are all worth 10 points, there are more 10-value cards than any other card in the deck. So if you have a blackjack hand that totals 9, 10, or 11, there is a good chance that one more card will give you 19, 20, or 21, all excellent blackjack hands with a high probability of winning.
It is recommended that you double down if:
- Your cards total 9, and the dealer’s card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6.
- Your cards total 10, and the dealer’s card is anything except a 10 or Ace.
- Your cards total 11, and the dealer’s card is anything except an Ace.
Doubling Down on a Soft Hand
A “soft hand” in blackjack is a hand with an Ace counting as 11. For example, a hand with an Ace and a 5 is a “soft 16”. The beauty of a soft hand is that it cannot bust. With a soft 16, if you get lucky and draw a 5, you have 21 and you’re golden. If you get unlucky and draw a 6, all that happens is that your Ace turns from an 11 into a 1 and you’re still alive with a hand of 12.
If the rules of your blackjack game allow it, it is recommended that you take advantage of the soft hand and double down if:
- You have a soft 13 or 14, and the dealer’s card is a 5 or 6.
- You have a soft 15 or 16, and the dealer’s card is a 4, 5, or 6.
- You have a soft 17 or 18, and the dealer’s card is a 3, 4, 5, or 6.
Doubling Down on Three or More Cards
The standard rule of blackjack is that you may exercise the double-down option only on your first two cards. But there are a few online black jack variations — including Super Fun 21, Pontoon, and Spanish Blackjack — that defy tradition and allow you to double down with any number of cards.
Suppose your first two cards add up to 6. That’s not so great. Then you draw a 5, bringing your total up to 11. Now that’s a lot better. If the online blackjack game allows you to double down on your three-card 11, go for it!
Doubling Down and Winning Blackjack
The double-down option is a great tool in your kit of blackjack strategies. It allows you to examine your cards and the dealer’s card, make a realistic appraisal of your chances, and then increase your bet when you are most likely to win. When it pays off, it can double your real money blackjack winnings.
But please bear in mind that the double down bet will not pay off every time. Nothing in online blackjack gambling is guaranteed — that’s why they call it gambling. There will certainly be occasions when you double down precisely according to the recommended blackjack strategy and you still lose. Losing a doubled bet can be painful; you might be tempted to forget about doubling down altogether.
Don’t give in to the temptation. Yes, you will lose some double down bets, and yes, it will be painful. But following the recommended double down strategies means that, over the long run, you are likely to win more double-down bets than you lose, and that means more blackjack excitement and more blackjack real moneyin your pocket.
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