When to Double Down in Blackjack

Keen to maximise your potential winnings with a double down bet? Discover when to double your bet stake in exchange for one additional card from the dealer and the best hands to double down on in blackjack.

Doubling down is one of the most exciting moves you can deploy at the blackjack table. It’s used when you believe one extra card could improve your hand sufficiently to beat the dealer’s. Below, we explore the optimal blackjack double down strategy to help you play at our blackjack tables with probability on your side.

What is Doubling Down in Blackjack?

If you’re unfamiliar with the blackjack double down meaning, it’s a case of doubling your initial wager after receiving your first two cards from the dealer. After doubling down, you only commit to receiving one additional card from the dealer.

What to Know About Doubling Down in Blackjack

The double down strategy in blackjack can be a risky move, especially if you don’t use it at the right time. Remember, the dealer always acts after the player. If you double down and fail to get the third card you need, the dealer might draw that very card and improve their hand instead.

When to Double Down in Blackjack

Before choosing a blackjack table, familiarise yourself with the double down rules offered. In some cases, you may only be allowed to double down if your initial hand is worth nine, ten or 11. In other instances, you may be permitted to double down on any hand total.

Below, we look at the best blackjack double down strategy based on the probability of beating the dealer’s hand.

When the Total of Your Cards Is 11

If your hand makes 11 in any combination, doubling down is an absolute must. It’s a chance to land the highest-scoring hand of 21 by drawing a ten or face card from the dealer’s shoe. Even hands worth six, seven, eight or nine will significantly improve your score, bearing in mind that the dealer must stand on 17 or higher.

Hard 9 or 10

If you have a hard nine or ten and the dealer’s upcard is anything between 2 and 6, blackjack strategy suggests doubling down.

If you have a ‘soft’ nine, with an ace as part of your hand, it’s better to stand, regardless of the dealer’s hand, as your hand is worth 19.

Soft 16, 17 or 18

If you have an ace, plus a five, six or seven, you should consider doubling down when the dealer’s upcard is lower than your second card.

When Not to Double Down in Blackjack

It’s important to know in blackjack when can you double down, and part of that is knowing when it’s best not to. One of the biggest blackjack tips double down strategists need is to avoid doubling down when the dealer’s chances of landing a blackjack or 21 are too high.

If the Dealer Has an Ace

It’s best to sit on your hands whenever a dealer has an ace as an upcard. Even if they are allowed to check for blackjack and they don’t have it, there’s still a greater probability of them having a hand worth close to 21.

Hard Hand Higher Than 11

If your current two-card hand is worth more than 11, you should never consider a double down. The risk of hitting a ten and busting your hand is too great. You’ll have a better chance of standing your hand and hoping the dealer busts instead.

Tips on Double Down in Blackjack

  • If you want to double down, signal your move by placing your doubled wager alongside your existing bet. This isn’t necessary when you play blackjack online.
  • If you choose to split, be mindful that it’s not always an option to double down post-split.
  • Remember – you cannot double down if you hit a third card.


How to double down in blackjack?

You can only double down after the first two cards are dealt to your hand. If you happen to split your hand, you will be able to double down once the second cards are dealt to each hand. If you decide after your first two cards to hit a third card, you will no longer be able to double down on a fourth card.

How to signal double down in blackjack?

You must place the same amount of chips as your initial stake next to your original chips, but outside the betting ring. Once the chips are positioned, you must point at the additional chips with your index finger to alert the dealer of your intentions.

None of this is necessary when you play blackjack online as you’ll just need to click ‘Double Down’ when the option is available to you.

When should players double down in blackjack?

Double down your hand if it’s worth 11 and the dealer’s upcard is not an ace. If you have a hard nine or ten hand, double down whenever the dealer’s upcard is worth between two and six. Hands worth soft 16, 17 and 18 should also be doubled down if the dealer’s upcard is worth less than your second card.

When should players not double down in blackjack?

The blackjack double down odds aren’t in your favour whenever the dealer has an ace. Never double down when the dealer’s upcard is an ace. Don’t double down if your existing hand is worth more than 11. In this instance, you should either hit, split or stand, depending on your basic blackjack strategy.