When to Double Down in Blackjack
Doubling down in blackjack is one of the game’s simplest moves and an essential part of blackjack strategy. It can also increase your chances of beating the dealer’s hand.
But when should a blackjack player double down, and where can they find games that let you do it? Luckily, all online casinos in New Jersey offer some form of double down blackjack game. You can also double down at any blackjack table at the biggest Atlantic City casinos.
Read our guide to doubling down, then find a great casino site that’s right for you.
What Does Double Down Mean in Blackjack?
Doubling down is the simplest bet to make in blackjack. It gives you a little more control over the game and gives you the chance to double your winnings if you’re lucky.
At the start of a hand of blackjack, you place an ante or initial bet. You receive two cards, and the dealer receives two - one face up and one face down – his hole card.
You can choose to double down by placing an additional bet equal to your original wager. You then receive one extra card, and one only. Your turn is over, and it’s up to the dealer to make their move.
Some blackjack variants, like European Blackjack, only let you double down on a hard 9, 10 or 11. However, most online blackjack games will let you double down on any total.
In most games, you can double down after a split hand (splitting your pair). European Blackjack is available online at some casinos and won’t let you double after a split.
After splitting, you will now have two hands to double down with. Splitting eights or nines, then doubling down, can be a good move. You have two strong hands to play with rather than just one. However, you generally won’t be able to double down on split aces.
When You Should Double Down
The million-dollar question is: When to double down in blackjack? Get it wrong and you will be stuck on a total that can’t beat the dealer’s hand. However, get it right and you will have a distinct advantage over the house. That’s why, when apply perfect basic strategy, blackjack enjoys one of the lowest house edges of any casino game.
The double down in blackjack isn’t just about what you are holding. It’s also about the dealer’s upcard. You need to double down when the dealer has the best chance of busting.
IN BRIEF: When to double down
- Hard 9 against dealer’s upcard of 2-6
- Hard 10 or 11 against most dealer cards
- Soft 17 or 18 against low cards
Let’s dive deeper into this essential blackjack strategy.
Let’s examine the correct double down blackjack strategy for classic games. This is a standard Classic Blackjack game played with 4-8 decks. The dealer will hit on a soft 17 (an ace and a 6), and a double is allowed after a split hand.
Optimal basic strategy for classic blackjack is to double down on all 9, 10 and 11 hands. That includes hard 9, 10, or 11, as well as A-8 and 5-5 if you are allowed. A hard hand is one that doesn’t include an ace. You should also bet on some soft totals if you are allowed, depending on the dealer’s up card. Check our table below to make the best move.
Note: H = Hit | S = Stand | DD = Double Down
Your Hand | Dealer's Upcard
Atlantic City Blackjack
Atlantic City Blackjack is an exciting variant of blackjack that you can also play online in New Jersey. It’s also perfect for the double down.
In the game, the dealer draws to 16, and will stand on all 17s. You can double down on any hand and double after the split.
The difference in Atlantic City Blackjack is that the dealer “peeks” on 10 value cards and aces to check for blackjack. If he has it, the hand ends. But if he doesn’t, the hand continues. A blackjack player can then make a more informed move to try and beat the dealer’s hand.
The basic strategy for Atlantic City Blackjack is to double down on most 9, 10 or 11 hands. Of course, it depends on what the dealer is holding, as sometimes it pays just to hit.
In Atlantic City Blackjack, you can also double down on any hands other than 9, 10, or 11. We recommend doubling on A2 through A7, as long as the dealer shows the appropriate upcard. Check our table below.
Note: H = Hit | S = Stand | DD = Double Downp>Your Hand | Dealer's Upcard
When Not to Double Down
You know when to double down in blackjack, but when should you NOT double down?
In most cases, you won’t be doubling down at all. You will either be hitting and receiving multiple cards, splitting a pair and hitting, or standing and receiving no more cards. Again, we turn to cheat sheets to find the optimal moves in blackjack.
Dealer shows an ace: One essential rule is to never double down if the dealer’s up card is an ace. Why? Because in a multideck blackjack game, the dealer has a good chance of making 21. Your hand will lose, or tie at best, and you will have wasted your double down.
Player’s hand totals 12-20: Equally, don’t double down if your hand is higher than 11. You should either hit or stand, depending on the dealer’s upcard.
Player’s hand totals 5-8: A low card is a terrible card for you to double down in blackjack with. You can only make 18 at best, and you won’t be able to draw any more cards. It’s a better move to hit and see what your total is. You can always hit again and take another card. You are more likely to win this way.
Player has a pair: In most cases, you should split your pairs. 6-6 and 7-7 should be split if the dealer shows a 6 or 7. If the dealer’s upcard is higher, keep your pair and hit. If you can, double down on 5-5 only.
Advantages and Disadvantages to Doubling Down in Blackjack
Hopefully you understand when to double down. But what about the advantages and disadvantages?
The beauty of the double down in blackjack is that you can make an additional bet with more information. You know your first two cards, and you know the dealer’s. You can then make a more informed judgment on what move to make.
The double down also reduces the house edge in games where you can double after a split. The house edge reduces to around 0.42% in a multideck blackjack game. However, if you can only double down on 9, 10 or 11, the house edge increases to around 0.76%.
You can also earn a free double down in games like Free Bet Blackjack. The payouts are lower than in classic blackjack, but you won’t risk a dime when you double down.
But what about the downside? First, you’re quite restricted on what to do after the double down. You can only receive one more card, then your hand’s over. You’re at the mercy of the dealer’s play.
- Make a second bet based on more information
- House edge reduced in double down blackjack after a split
- Available in most blackjack games in New Jersey
- Find favorable situations to make your double down
- Enjoy a free double down wager in some variants
- House edge increases if double down only allowed on hard 9, 10 or 11
- You risk losing more money
- You only receive one more card
How to Signal Double Down During a Game
In online blackjack, it’s easy to double down. Simply click on the Double Down button when it’s your move. In a land-based casino in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, there’s a strict etiquette to making the double down. Either:
Move a stack of chips alongside your original bet. It must be equal to your original wager. Don’t put the chips on top of your initial bet, as it might confuse the dealer trying to figure out any payouts.
Tell the dealer you want to double down. They will tell you to add a certain number of chips before giving you your card. You can tap the table to request another card.
Double Down Blackjack FAQ
Can you double down after hitting?
No. You must double down before receiving any cards.
Can you split and double down?
Yes, most blackjack variants let you split and double down. You can double down on one or both split hands.
Should you always double down on 11?
In classic blackjack, you should always double down on 11, regardless of the dealer’s up card. In Atlantic City Blackjack, you should double down on 11 unless the dealer shows an ace. In that case, just hit.
Should I double down on 10?
Yes, you should double down on 10 unless the dealer shows a 10 or ace.
Can you double down on 21?
No. If you have 21 you will be paid out automatically for a blackjack.
How many cards do you receive when doubling down?
You only receive one card when you double down. Your hand is over and you cannot receive any more cards.