What does Double Down mean in Blackjack?

Blackjack is a classic card game that is a mainstay in most land-based and online casinos. In this board game, players search for the magic number of 21 without going over. Blackjack is also one of two skill-based online casino games, the other being poker. Consequently, the house or other players will often cover for you if you don’t have the skills to play the game.

One of the most successful blackjack strategies is doubling down. But what is doubling down in blackjack? When should players use this strategy? Today we are answering these questions, so let’s dig deeper.

What is Double Down in Blackjack?

As the name suggests, doubling down in blackjack is  an exciting move that allows players to double their initial bet during an active hand. In exchange, the player in question receives an extra card and must stand afterwards. Although this can be risky if a low card is dealt, it can also increase the overall payout. 

That’s why the next section looks at when exactly is the perfect time to double down on blackjack. It’s about striking the right balance between taking risks and playing it safe. So, read on!

when to fold

In blackjack, players can only double down after receiving two cards. If this happens, there are three opportunities to double down that you should take advantage of. These opportunities allow players to create a better hand than the dealer without going bust. ( Busting is when a pair of cards hits more than 21 )

3 chances to double down on Blackjack:

Situation #1. When your card total is 11

Does your hand total equal 11? Then this is, without a doubt, the perfect opportunity to double down. With a total hand of 11, the chances of getting an additional card that comes to 21 or something closer to it are very high. If you miss Blackjack, you will mostly get 20, 19, or 18, and with any of these hands, you are likely to win the game. So, in general, double down as soon as you have a total of 11 in your hand. 

Situation #2. When you have a Soft 18, 17 or 16

A soft hand is a full hand with an Ace and another card on top. For example, a soft hand of 17 might have Ace + 2 + 4. In other words, Ace cards count as either 1 or 11. Soft hands are very beneficial because players can adjust their hand totals accordingly. 

Consider doubling down when your hand shows a soft 16, 17 or 18. But don’t be too quick to double down unless the dealer’s up card is low (2 to 6). Always remember that the ace can be 1 or 11, depending on the deal of cards. 

Situation #3. When your card total is a hard 10 or 9

Hard blackjack hands are the exact opposite of soft hands. Here you have a hand total without ace. Therefore, these hands are not as flexible as soft hands, since you cannot take advantage of certain situations. 

But if you run into a hard 9 or 10, then that’s an excellent opportunity to double down. However, the dealer’s up card must be 2 to 6. The thing is, the dealer will have to hit to get to 17, so he can bust. 

When to avoid duplication

By now, you should be eager to start doubling down on blackjack. Well, keep your horses until you learn to spot some situations to avoid. There are some blackjack situations where players should not double down even at gunpoint. They include:

Situation #1. When the dealer has an ace

Having an Ace card is exciting for blackjack players. But so it is for the distributor. If the dealer shows an Ace, the odds are definitely in his favor to get 21 with his next card. So hold off any temptation to double down. 

Situation #2. When you show something bigger than 11

If your hand total is greater than 11, your chances of busting are high. Unfortunately, most players miss this moment due to the excitement of the game. Instead of doubling down on a total hand over 11, he hits and prays the dealer busts. Blackjack, as you know, is full of surprises. 

Can it be doubled after ordering or splitting?

Hitting and splitting are common strategies in blackjack. Hitting is taking an additional card up to or over 21. In other words, you can hit as many times as you want. On the other hand, players can split a hand if their first two cards have the same face value. But can you double down on these scenarios?

The dealer will generally not allow players to double down after hitting, as this will greatly increase their edge over the house. Also, most casinos do not allow doubling down after splitting.


Blackjack is a game full of twists and turns. Fortunately, the doubling down strategy can give you an advantage over the dealer. Just master the art of when to use it. But even with that, know that the house edge always wins. So don’t get your hopes up. If you are just beginning your journey, trying to understand how to play, we recommend additional reading such as common blackjack mistakes or how to match the dealer in blackjack.