Spanish Blackjack at Luxury Casino allows you to double down on any number of cards.
As a blackjack player you’re probably always looking for ways to come out even if not beat the casinos. In the general scheme of things, the average blackjack stands to just 47% of the hands they play, so getting the edge is of vital importance to your bankroll over the long term.
The things is that the majority of the time, blackjack players are on the defensive, losing regardless of whether they hit or stand and basic blackjack strategy is used to essentially just reduce losses. Of course this goes a long way to bankroll preservation, but it’s not really a growth strategy.
Enter doubling down… A blackjack play that allows you to go on the offense and attack when the dealer is showing a weak upcard (low value cards 2 through 6) and has a 40% chance of busting or when there is a high probability that you’ll out-drawn him/her (when you have hard hands whose values total 9, 10, 11 or with a ten or picture card you have a value of 19 through 21).
In both scenarios doubling down allows you to place higher value bets at the best possible time – when the dealer has a high probability of busting or losing to your hand.
Doubling down allows you to double your original bet and receive a single draw card. However it is always advisable to check the rules of the particular blackjack variant that you’re playing as rules can differ as to when you’re allowed to double down in different games. Obviously games that allow for unlimited doubling are the most favourable as they allow you to double down on any initial two card hand, but many online casinos will only allow you to double if you hold a hard hand totaling 9, 10 or 11, which is slightly less favourable.
In general, casinos will allow you to double down after splitting pairs and you’ll generally find this rule in multi-deck games. This rule gives you a 0.13% advantage when you have pairs, and let’s face it, every little bit helps!
You don’t always have to double your bet to double down, you can wager less than you did on your original hand. So if you’re playing $25 a hand blackjack, you can double down for a lesser amount, although it’s advisable to stick with doubling your bet to increase your gains.
You may be wondering – if doubling down is so great, why did the casinos add this option to the game? There are two possible explanations – it may have been done to encourage interest in the game by giving players the opportunity to lower the house edge, or it could have been done to give unskilled players the chance to win. Still casinos make money on the bet when players misuse it, so that could be another reason too.
So make sure you only double down on hands where you stand more than a 50% chance of beating the dealer. Also be aware that doubling down on some hands reduces your odds of winning as you only get to draw a single card. So if you double on a hand comprising of a 6 and 3 against the dealer’s 5 and then draw a 2 for a total of eleven, the only way you’ll win is if the dealer busts. If you hadn’t doubled down you would have been able to hit and draw more cards to increase your odds of getting a winning total.
Still, taking into account the mathematics behind it all, doubling down would still be the correct play because when you hit on 9 you have a 59% chance of winning. If you double down you will have a 57% chance of winning but you’ll have double the money in action and while you are risking more, you’ll also have a greater profit to gain.
Double Down on these hands:
When you hold the following hard hands, doubling down rather than hitting will give you the advantage:
- Hard 11 against when the dealer shows 2 through 10
- Hard 10 against when the dealer shows 2 through 9
- Hard 9 when the dealer’s upcard is valued at 3 through 6
If you can find a single deck blackjack game and you should actively be looking for these as they give you better odds of winning, then double down on these hands too:
- Hard 11 when the dealer shows an Ace
- Hard 9 when the dealer has 2
- A hand comprised of 3 and 5 value cards when the dealer has a 5 and 6.
Statistically, you can anticipate being dealt a 9, 10 or 11 approximately eight times in every 100 blackjack hands that you play. By following the above strategy, you will earn a 1.3% edge.
But wait, there’s more…
If you find a game that allows you to double down on any initial two card hand, then you’ll be able to double down on soft hands too (those consisting of an Ace that is counted as eleven). When doing so correctly, you’ll be able to gain a further 0.13%.
But why double on a soft hand? While doing so is not so much to outdraw the dealer as it is on a hard hand, it’s about putting money on the table when the dealer has a high chance of busting. Here’s when you should be doubling on a soft hand to give you the edge:
- When you hold an Ace and two or Ace and three double against the dealer’s 5 and 6.
- When you hold an Ace and four or Ace and five double against the dealer’s 4, 5 and 6.
- When you hold an Ace and six or Ace and seven double against the dealer’s 3, 4, 5 and 6.
- Avoid doubling down on hand consisting of an Ace and eight or Ace and nine as you’ll gain more by standing.