When to Double Down in Blackjack and When Not to?

Content Team 1 year ago
When to Double Down in Blackjack and When Not to?

Blackjack can be a game of strategy — but winning big in blackjack is a matter of timing and knowing when the right time is to double down. Namely, doubling down is among the most popular bets in blackjack, but many people don’t fully understand how the move works and how timing plays a crucial role in the process. I’ll explain when to double down in Blackjack because, In some cases, if you do this right, you’ll be upping your winnings in a big way.

What Does Doubling Down Mean in Blackjack?

When you double down in blackjack, you receive only one more card after doubling your bet. A possible problem in this scenario is that if you get dealt a low card, you can’t hit again, and you may lose twice as much money. So, it’s essential to know when to double down during a game of blackjack in order to win, and the key is to find the right balance between playing safe and taking risks to ensure that you have the edge over your competitors in the game.

When to Double Down in Blackjack?

Fortunately, basic strategies for blackjack have been meticulously mapped out using mathematical probability to tell you exactly when it’s best (on a long-term basis) to double down. Depending on the situation, there are three times when it’s best to double down, and as a result, you are in the likely position to finish with a high hand in situations below, whereas the dealer is most likely to lose.

Here are the hands when you should double down:

  • Hand total equals 11
  • Hard 9 or 10
  • Soft 16, 17, 18

Hand Total is 11

Undoubtedly, this is the most popular and well-known time for players to double down on blackjack. You’re more likely to hit blackjack if holding eleven in your hand, as one more card can get you close to it. In any case, you won’t break 21. As a result, many people opt to double down when their total number of cards is 11.

Hard 9 or 10

The term “hard hand” refers to a hand in which no ace is involved (sigh). If your dealer is showing a lower card than what you have, which puts you in a better position than the dealer, it may be a good time for you to double down on your hand.

Soft 16, 17, 18

“Soft” is the term used to describe a hand with an ace and another card. If you had a chance to play blackjack, you know that an ace can be a great advantage since it increases your chances of either hitting 21 or coming very close to it, depending on the situation. Even so, it’s important not to get overconfident when you see the all-important ace on the board.

It’s a good rule of thumb that you should only double down in these situations when, once again, the dealer is showing the lower card in hand.

When Not to Double Down?

Double downing too frequently can backfire in an attempt to increase your winnings. However, there are some instances where it isn’t a good idea, and you’ll likely lose a lot of money quickly if you do so.

There are times when you should not double down, such as:

  • The dealer holds an Ace
  • You have a hard hand over 11

The Dealer Has an Ace

When it comes to blackjack, an ace can be quite a powerful card to have in your hand, which is why you should never double down when the dealer has one. In other words, the odds are in their favor if they hit blackjack or get very close to 21.

Hard Hand Over 11

It’s not a good idea to double down if your hard hand is higher than 11, and you have a chance of going bust. Never take a risk if you’re unsure.

Tips for Doubling Down in Blackjack

To help you decide whether to double down or stick with your initial bet, here are some tricks and tips that you can take into account:

  • If you’re ready to take the risk, push a stack of chips equal to your original wager next to your current wager. To avoid being perceived as tampering, new chips shouldn’t be added over the original bet. Remember to always double down on the same amount as your initial bet.
  • When you show an 11, it’s almost always a good idea to double down, particularly for those new to blackjack.
  • It’s usually impossible to double down after you split a hand. As the name implies, splitting is receiving two cards of the same value and then being given the option to split these two cards into two separate hands, from which you will receive two new cards from the dealer. Online casinos may allow you to do this, but most in-person casinos will not allow you to do so.
  • After hitting, you cannot double down. Hitting is the act of taking another card from the deck. A rule states that doubling down can only be done after the initial two cards are dealt.


If you think that your hand has a much better chance of winning, you can double down and make an extra wager. Of course, it will cost you double the amount you were planning to bet, so you’ll risk more.

Some games allow you to double down on a split pair as well, where, for example, if you are dealt a pair of 10s, and the dealer shows a 3, 4, 5, or 6, you can split your tens, double down on them both, and aim to make 21 with both hands.

The downside to doubling down is that there is still some risk involved. The dealer always goes after the players and has more information at his disposal. Because of this, the house has a slight advantage over the players. Lastly, it’s good to know that only the player’s stake will be returned if there’s a tie.

If you have more questions about when to double down in blackjack, check the questions below.


Do you always double down on 11?

Although there are some theoretical situations where you shouldn’t double down on 11, depending on the particular table rules, you can keep things simple and always double down on 11. In the long run, there is no doubt that this move will turn out to be profitable.

Do you double down on an 11 against a 10?

The player is in a strong position when holding 11 after two cards have been dealt because the player and dealer are trying to get close to 21. Therefore, doubling down is a good idea when the dealer shows a lower card than a 10.

Should you double down on 12?

Yes, you should double down on 12 because to double down, you need to have a hand value of 10 or 11 in order to make sense of the strategy. Considering that there’s a 30.7% chance of you hitting another 10-value card and making a high hand in this situation.

Can you double down after hitting?

No, there are practically no blackjack games in which you can double down after hitting.

Should you double down on 10?

No, you should always double down when you hold ten and the dealer holds a card lower than seven. However, you shouldn’t double your bet if the dealer also has 10 or 11. The value of doubling or not will be fairly equal if they have 7, 8, or 9.

Can you double down after splitting?

Once you have split your cards in most casinos, you won’t be able to double your bet once you have done so. However, a few casinos, especially online ones, allow split hands to be doubled. Use the same logic for each split hand you used for your initial hand if this is the case.

When you double down in blackjack, what number of cards do you receive?

The extra card you receive when you double down is the only one. New players in the game of blackjack make the mistake of believing that they will receive as many cards as they like. If a low card is dealt, doubling down the blackjack bet could result in a low total.

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