Home » bitcoin blackjack » double down
Gary McLellan

Double Down Blackjack is a popular move in the classic casino card game of blackjack, where players have the opportunity to double their initial bet in exchange for committing to stand after receiving exactly one more card.

This strategic decision can be made by a player when they are confident that a single additional card will give them a strong hand against the dealer.

The act of doubling down presents a risk since the additional wager could be lost, but it also offers a chance to maximize potential earnings if the player’s judgment is sound.

The option to double down is available to players after they receive their initial two cards.

Typically, the best time to double down is when holding a total of 9, 10, or 11, which increases the chances of achieving a high hand, since cards with values of 10 are plentiful in the deck.

However, live and crypto casinos may have different rules regarding when players can double down, such as only allowing it on certain totals or after splitting a pair.

Understanding when and how to effectively double down is essential for any blackjack player wishing to optimize their gameplay.

Successful use of the double down can shift the odds in the player’s favor, potentially leading to more significant payouts.

However, this decision should be made considering the dealer’s upcard and the composition of the player’s hand, requiring players to possess a good grasp of blackjack strategy to exploit this option to its full advantage.

Basics of Blackjack

In Blackjack, players aim to beat the dealer by having a hand total closest to 21 without exceeding it. Understanding card values, the game’s objective, and the table layout is crucial for any player.

Card Values

  • Number cards (2 through 10) are worth their face value.
  • Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are each worth 10.
  • Aces can be worth either 1 or 11, depending on which is more favorable to the player’s hand.


The main goal in Blackjack is to achieve a hand total that is higher than the dealer’s without going over 21. Players must decide whether to ‘hit’ (take another card), ‘stand’ (keep their current hand), ‘split’ (if they have a pair), or ‘double down’ in pursuit of this objective.

Player’s Action Description
Hit Take another card to add to the hand total.
Stand Keep the current hand and end the turn.
Split Divide a pair into two separate hands.
Double Down Double the bet, take a single card, and stand.

Table Layout

A standard Blackjack table is typically semi-circular and can accommodate several players.

Each player has a designated area for placing bets, and the dealer stands on the opposite side facing the players. Cards are dealt from a ‘shoe’ that can hold multiple decks, increasing the complexity of the game.

  • Dealer’s Area: The space where the dealer stands and where the deck(s) and chip tray are located.
  • Player’s Area: Includes individual spaces for bets, and where cards are placed in front of each player.

Double Down: The Concept

In blackjack, doubling down is a powerful move that can significantly increase a player’s winnings when used correctly. It allows for an additional wager in favorable situations.


Double down refers to the action taken by a player in blackjack after receiving their initial two cards.

The player can choose to double their original bet, receive exactly one additional card, and then stand. This move is available on any two-card hand and is conducted as follows:

  1. Player’s Decision: The player opts to double down.
  2. Additional Wager: The player places an additional bet, up to the original bet amount.
  3. One More Card: The dealer gives the player one more card, dealt face-down most of the time.

Strategic Importance

The strategic weight of doubling down lies in the opportunity to capitalize on a situation where the odds are perceived to be in the player’s favor. Key strategic considerations include:

  • Dealer’s Upcard: Players often double down if the dealer’s upcard is a 4, 5, or 6, which are considered weak cards for the dealer.
  • Player’s Total: The best totals for players to double down on are usually 10 or 11, as the chance of hitting a 20 or 21 with one card is high.

Using this option at the right moment can significantly enhance a player’s edge, turning a potentially modest win into a more substantial one.

Rules for Doubling Down

In Blackjack, doubling down is a powerful move that can significantly increase a player’s bet on a promising hand. It’s essential to understand the specific conditions under which one can and should double down.

Hard and Soft Hands

Hard Hands: A hard hand in Blackjack is a hand without an Ace, or with an Ace valued as 1. For example, a 10 and a 7 together make a hard 17.

Hand Value Rule for Doubling Down
8 or less Typically not allowed.
9 Double against dealer’s 3 through 6.
10-11 Double if the dealer has a lower value card.

Soft Hands: A soft hand has an Ace counted as 11. An example is an Ace with a 4, termed a soft 15.

Hand Value Rule for Doubling Down
Soft 13-14 Double against dealer’s 5 or 6.
Soft 15-16 Double against dealer’s 4 through 6.
Soft 17-18 Double against dealer’s 3 through 6.

When to Double Down

Doubling down should be considered when a player’s cards total 9, 10, or 11, as this provides a good chance of hitting a high hand with one additional card. It’s also strategic to double down on a soft 16, 17, or 18 when the dealer shows a weak upcard.

  • Player’s Cards Total 9:
    • Double down if the dealer shows a card between 3 and 6.
  • Player’s Cards Total 10:
    • Double down if the dealer shows a card between 2 and 9.
  • Player’s Cards Total 11:
    • Double down unless the dealer has an Ace.

Soft hands offer flexibility since the Ace can be counted as 1 or 11, so they allow for aggressive play. Players should be cautious and consider the dealer’s upcard before deciding to double down.

Doubling Down Variations

The rules for doubling down can vary significantly between different casinos and blackjack games, affecting players’ strategies.

By Casino

Casinos tailor their blackjack rules to create a unique playing experience or to adjust the house edge. Common variations include:

  • Table Limits: Some casinos may restrict doubling down to specific table limits. For instance:
Minimum Bet Doubling Down Allowed
$5 On 9, 10, or 11 only
$25+ On any two cards
  • Number of Decks: Casinos might only allow doubling down in games with a particular number of decks.
Number of DecksBet Doubling Down Rule
Single Deck On any two cards
Multiple Decks On 9, 10, or 11 only

Dealer’s Up Card: Some venues may allow doubling down only if the dealer’s up card falls within a certain range, like between 3 and 6.

By Blackjack Variant

Different blackjack variants have distinct doubling down rules.

  • Classic Blackjack: Generally allows players to double down on any two cards.
  • European Blackjack: Often restricts doubling down to hard totals of 9, 10, or 11.
  • Spanish 21: This variant not only allows players to double down on any number of cards, but it also offers the option to rescue or surrender after doubling down.

Advanced Strategies

In mastering the art of doubling down in blackjack, players must focus on risk management and statistical considerations to optimize their gameplay.

Risk Management

A player should only double down when the odds are in their favor. It is crucial to evaluate the bankroll before making a decision. A general guideline is as follows:

  • Strong Total: Double down with a total of 11, as the chances of getting a 10-value card are high.
  • Dealer’s Weak Card: If the dealer shows a card between 2 and 6, the player has better odds of winning, making it safer to double down.

Statistical Considerations

The decision to double down should be based on mathematical probabilities. The following situations illustrate when doubling down is statistically beneficial:

  • When the player’s cards total 10 and the dealer’s upcard is 9 or less.
  • If the player has 9 and the dealer’s card is between 3 and 6.
  • On a soft 16, 17, or 18 (an Ace combined with a 5, 6, or 7), especially if the dealer shows a low card.

Using a basic blackjack strategy chart can help players make statistically sound decisions about when to double down.

Common Mistakes

Players often fall into traps of poor blackjack strategy. Two frequent errors include the over-application of the double down move and misinterpretation of the dealer’s hand.

Overuse of Double Down

Players sometimes double down too often, misconstruing it as a go-to strategy. It is crucial to double down only when the conditions are optimal, typically when holding a total of 9, 10, or 11. Unfavorable circumstances for doubling down include:

  • When the dealer shows an ace or a card worth 10, as their chance of getting a high total is substantial.
  • When the player has a hand showing 12 or higher, as the risk of busting is too great.

Misreading the Dealer’s Hand

Misinterpretation of the dealer’s hand can lead to misguided strategy choices. Key aspects to consider are:

  • The dealer’s upcard; if it is 7 or higher, the player should assume the dealer’s hole card gives them a total of at least 17.
  • When the dealer’s upcard is an ace, players should remember the dealer has a significant chance of achieving Blackjack or a strong hand, affecting the player’s decision to hit or stand.

Double Down in Online Blackjack

In online blackjack, the Double Down option allows players to increase their initial bet by up to 100% in exchange for committing to stand after receiving one additional card.

Differences from Live Games

When playing crypto blackjack online, the Double Down option varies slightly from live games.

For instance, online platforms often display the Double Down option more prominently, with a dedicated button or prompt, making it more accessible than in a physical casino.

Additionally, time constraints are typically less strict online, giving players more time to consider when to Double Down than they might have at a live table with other players.

Software Impact

The software that powers online blackjack games has a significant impact on the Double Down feature. Most blackjack games are designed to automatically limit doubling down to certain hands, such as a total of 9, 10, or 11.

Moreover, the software ensures that the rules related to Double Down are consistently applied, unlike in a live game where dealer error or player negotiation might influence the application of the rules.

  • Rule consistency: Every instance of doubling down follows the pre-set game rules without variation.
  • Random Number Generators (RNGs): Online games utilize RNGs to ensure fair card distribution, affecting the strategy players use when considering a Double Down.

In summary, players should be aware of the nuances of doubling down in online blackjack, which can affect their overall strategy and potentially the outcome of their game.


In blackjack, the option to double down is a powerful move that can significantly affect the house edge. Understanding when and how to use this option can be beneficial, especially when considering split hands.

House Edge and Double Down

The house edge in blackjack refers to the percentage of each bet that the casino expects to keep over the long run.

A player’s decision to double down at the right moment can decrease the house edge. Specifically, if a player doubles down on a total of 9, 10, or 11 against a dealer’s low up-card, the house advantage can be reduced.

Player’s Hand Dealer’s Up-card Advisable to Double Down?
9 3 through 6 Yes
10 2 through 9 Yes
11 2 through 10 Yes

Doubling down on other hands requires careful consideration of the current game situation and the casino’s rules.

Double Down on Split Hands

When a player splits a pair into two separate hands, certain casinos allow the option to double down on one or both of the new hands. This move can be advantageous if the player splits a pair of aces or eights and receives a favorable card on the next draw.

  • Split Aces: If a player receives a card worth 10 points after splitting aces, doubling down can be beneficial.
  • Split Eights: Doubling down after splitting eights is often favorable when the dealer shows a weak up-card.

Players should acquaint themselves with the specific rules at their casino regarding doubling down after splits, as these can vary.


In conclusion, mastering the Double Down strategy in blackjack is essential for any player looking to maximize their potential earnings. This move, which allows players to double their initial bet in exchange for one additional card, is most effective when used in situations with a strong likelihood of winning, such as having a hand total of 9, 10, or 11. While the decision to Double Down carries inherent risks, understanding the game’s dynamics, including the dealer’s upcard and the composition of one’s hand, is crucial to making this strategy work to the player’s advantage. As with any blackjack strategy, successful use of the Double Down requires careful consideration of the game’s rules, the player’s hand, and the casino’s specific regulations, ensuring that this high-reward move is executed at the most opportune moments.

Gary McLellan

Gary McLellan has been involved in the gambling sector for years after studying Journalism in Glasgow. Starting out with running a poker blog over 10 years ago, he has since worked with many betting publications, focusing on crypto-related sites more recently due to their growing popularity. Gary brings his expertise on gambling to BitcoinCasinos.com since 2022 after successfully overseeing the launch of several sports betting sites including legalsportsbooks.com.