I remember sitting at a $5 Blackjack table at Arizona Charlie’s in Las Vegas a few years ago. It was the annual trek to VIMFP (the Vegas Internet Mafia Family Picnic) sponsored by the Vegas Gang at VegasTripping. It was late, my bankroll was dwindling. I had to decide to double a $25 bet, with only $100 left. Basic strategy said yes, I did, and I won. I went to bed with money in my pocket – it was a good thing!
One of the toughest decisions beginning Blackjack players face is “Doubling Down.” This is simply placing another wager on your hand which is equal to your initial bet, and for this wager you will receive another card. However, like all Blackjack strategies, you should only use this option when perfect strategy calls for it.
Variations in Blackjack rules are many, some even distinct to locale – such as surrender in Atlantic City, where I first saw it. The house rules are displayed on a small sign at the side of the dealer and will let you know when you can double down your hand.
According to 888CasinoBlog, a great blackjack strategy website, “most casinos allow you to double down on any two-card hand (hard or soft), whereas some restrict doubling to specific starting hands, e.g., doubling is allowed only on hard 10 and 11. The best player-friendly doubling rules are when you can double down on any two cards.”
Basic strategy for doubling down is as follows for beginning players at a 6 deck shoe. Taken from Al Moe’s article “Six Keys to Winning At Blackjack”
- 9 – double against a dealer 2 through 6 and hit 7 through ace
- 10 – double against a dealer 2 through 9
- 11 – double against a dealer 2 through 10
2. Soft Hands
- 16 and 17 – double against a dealer 2 through 6, otherwise hit
- 18 – double against a dealer 2 through 6, stand against a 7 or eight, hit against 9, 10 or ace
Other considerations include:
- # of decks used
- dealer’s up card
- hard hands vs. soft hands ( for example – a soft 18 = A, 7; a hard 18 would be 10, 8)
- doubling on low pairs (4,4 or 5,5) considering a single deck vs. 4-8 deck shoe.
As I continued to look at strategy cards & Blackjack websites, I realized that beyond basic strategy of doubling down, I was not the one to give the many viewpoints and advanced strategies needed to know.
So, here are websites for those of you beyond the “6 deck shoe basic strategy” play. Enjoy.
I hope this has been helpful, or at least, encourages you to check out other Blackjack resources.