Blackjack Strategy: Knowing When to Double
It’s always good to put more money on the blackjack table when it’s to your advantage. This can be done in a number of ways, including one that’s baked right into the game: doubling down. When you double, you’re increasing your bet by up to 100% – many modern games, including online blackjack at Bodog, make it exactly 100%. In exchange, you agree to receive one card, and one card only.
There are times when it makes absolute sense to “reach deep,” as they say in Vegas. But most players either fail to double when they should or do it way too much. Here are some things to remember about doubling down the next time you play Blackjack at Bodog or at a live casino.
Understand Blackjack Rules
Some blackjack games, like the ones at Bodog, allow you to double down on any two cards. Others place restrictions on you, like only doubling on 9-11, or 10-11. You’ll also find games where you’re not allowed to double after you split. Make sure you know the specific rules of the Blackjack game you’re playing. (Here’s a guide on How to Play Blackjack). Also, be aware of the number of decks in the shoe, whether the Dealer hits or stands on soft 17, and the other rules that vary from game to game. Many of these rules will have an effect on whether or not you should double in certain situations.
(Almost) Always Double on Hard 11
When you’ve got 11 in your hand, life is pretty good. You can’t go bust if you double – the worst card you can get is an Ace, to give you 12 – and you’ve got a fantastic chance to make Blackjack. You’ll also want to double on hard 10 most of the time, and usually on hard 9 when the Dealer is showing a low card (2-6).
(Almost) Always Double on Soft 16-18 Versus a Low Card
Again, there are some situations where you don’t want to do this, but for the most part, doubling with soft 16-18 against the Dealer’s low card is the right play. As you get better at blackjack, you can learn more specific spots to double other hands, like soft 13-15.
The Only Pair to Double is Fives
If you get dealt two Fives, you’ve got 10, which is ordinarily a great time to double. You also have the option of splitting, but that wouldn’t be too smart – then you’d have two hands worth 5 each. Those hands don’t draw very well. Stick with your 10 and double when the Dealer is showing anything Nine or lower, otherwise hit.