What Is Doubling Down In Blackjack?

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Doubling down is a great way to grow your blackjack winnings. The appeal is clear: it’s an opportunity to increase the size of your bet. Boosting the amount you can win. But it also carries high risks. If you double down at the wrong time, you’ll just be multiplying your losses. Here's what you need to know before you start doubling down in blackjack.

When Can You Double Down?

During blackjack, you need at least two cards before you can decide to double down. But the new bet has to be equal to your original wager. As always, there is a catch. Once you decide to double down, you’ll only be able to get one more card.

Of course, these rules can vary a little from casino to casino. For example, some casinos let you double after you split a pair, others won't. That's why you should always check the house rules before sitting down to play.

The Strategy Behind Doubling Down

Deciding when you should double down is tricky. Do it at the right time, and you'll multiply your winnings. Pick the wrong moment, and your losses will skyrocket. Wise players should consider a few things before deciding whether to double down.

First, you need to consider your hand. Most players prefer to double the bet when they are holding an 11, a 9, or a 10. If the next card is high, there is a good chance that you’ll have a competitive hand. Even better, you can’t go over 21.

You might also want to double down when you are holding a soft 16, 17, or 18. This means you have an Ace, which is valued at 11. If the card is low, you’ll be close to 21. If the card is too high, the value of the Ace can switch to a hard 1. This will stop you from going bust.

Generally, if you have a hand that’s higher than a hard 11, it’s a good idea to avoid doubling down. The odds of going bust are just too high.

However, that’s not all you need to weigh up. You also have to think about the cards the dealer has and the chances that your hand will beat theirs. For example, players should be wary when the dealer has an ace. This means that there is a possibility they will get blackjack and beat you. On the other hand, they typically have to hold on to a 17. Giving you lots of opportunities to beat them.

There is a third element to consider: your risk tolerance levels. Some players love the excitement of increasing the wager. They'll take this approach whenever they have a halfway decent hand. As you can imagine, this type of play is very risky, and they’ll likely end up losing far more money than they gain. On the other hand, some players never double down. Playing it too safe leaves a lot of money on the table. In reality, the ideal mix lies in the middle.


Doubling down requires risk management. Savvy players get a chance to boost their winnings. Foolhardy players will end up losing big. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you to determine how you want to use this technique.

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