Blackjack is a very popular casino game, both online and in land-based casinos. It’s a game you play against the dealer, and it’s really quite fun. However, one thing that makes it stand out from other games is that it’s not that simple. It requires a certain amount of skill and level of strategy.
Doubling Down can be one of the most thrilling parts of the game. It’s a move that allows you to double your bet, right in the middle of a hand. However, you have to take an extra card. The gamble is a risky one, generally because it signals the end of your betting. This is because if the dealer deals a particularly low second card, it’s not going to be possible to hit again.
More timid players out there may think such a move is not worth the risk. Players who aren’t afraid of taking a risk, on the other hand, may find themselves doubling down too often. It’s a delicate balance, but if you can manage to find it, risky double downs can help to maximize your potential winnings.
There are good and bad times to double down. Let’s fill you in on when the best time is.
A Good Time to Double Down
Thanks to mathematical probabilities, it’s possible to pin down the best time to double down. There are three ideal situations.
Hard 9 Against the Dealer’s Low Cards
Your total is a hard 9, which means there’s no Ace in your hand. You should double down if the dealer’s upcard is any card less than 7, but not including the Ace. Possible combinations include 2-7, 3-6, or 4-5.
Soft 16 to 16 Against the Dealer’s Low Cards
Your hand includes an Ace and either a 5, 6, or 7, which means you’ve got a soft total of 16-18. Double down if the dealer shows a card from 2 to 6.
Hard 10 or 11 Against any Lower Dealer Card
If you’ve got a hard 10 or a hard 11, you’re in a pretty powerful position. If the dealer’s total is lower, you should double down.
Splitting in Blackjack – Another Popular Strategy
When you’re offered the chance to spilt your two hole cards if they form a pair. If you decide to split, your cards are split into two standard hands, and you match the original bet with a second wager. In effect, you’ve doubled your chance of winning or your chance of losing if the cards are dealt in your favor.
As with double down, there is a good time to split your hand and when you should leave well alone. The best time is when you have a pair of Aces or a pair of eights.
A deck of cards has more 10-value cards than any other card in the deck. Therefore, statistically, you’ve got a better chance of hitting at least one 21 when splitting aces. Two separate hands of 8 are much easier to play with than one hand of 16, which is a hand that very rarely wins.
There are a few occasions when you should split your hand,
- Never split a hand of two 10s: if you’ve got a hand with two cards that have the value of 10, it doesn’t need splitting because the total hand value is 20. You can’t get much closer to 21. The dealer has no other option but to hit a 21 if they want to win. The chances of that happening are rare. If you’ve got a pair of 10s, it’s always best to stick.
- Never split a hand of two 5s: If you have two 5s, the total value of your hand is 10. The best way to go in this situation is to double down. Splitting just doubles your chance of landing two hands, both of which are valued at 10 each. It’s better to have one average hand you can do something about, rather than two you can’t do much about.
Hand-Based Blackjack Tips
Let’s share a few more tips to help you maximize your chances.
Game Play for Soft Hands
- Hit on a soft 17: Because it 6ives you a great shot at increasing your hand value.
- Hit if you have a soft hand lower than 17: You stand a better chance of increasing the value of your hand.
- If you have a soft 18 you can hit: Although the preferred way is to double down, the dealer’s hand has 8, 9, or 10.
Game Play for Hard Hands
- Stand if you have a hard hand valued between 12 and 6, and the value of the dealer’s hand is between 2 and 6. The chances of the dealer beating you are not that great.
- Hit if you have a hard hand valued between 12 and 16, and the dealer’s hand is valued at 7 or higher.
- Stand on a hard 17 or any higher value because they are all relatively closer to 21.
Pay Close Attention to the Rules of the Game
Let’s finish up with a spot of advice. Doubling down and splitting are strategies that should stay true regardless of the Blackjack game. However, Blackjack rules do vary from one casino to another. What the rules are can affect the decisions you make.
If you’re allowed to double with three or more cards, you might encounter more hands where it’s a good idea to double down.
On the other hand, you may come across games where the rules say you can’t double, even though the strategy says you should. Soft hands are a prime example. If you’re not allowed to double down when you want to, make sure you hit instead.
Now you’ve got a few valuable tips to help you improve your game and your winning opportunities. It’s time to hit the Blackjack table. We wish you all the luck in the world.