When to Double Down in Blackjack

When to Double Down in Blackjack

  • As an example, when the cards total 10, the player will most likely lose if the dealer shows a higher card. However, the dealer may have a hand that totals anything from a 20 to a 21. In this instance, the hand held by the dealer is more likely to beat the player even if the player beats the dealer, than if the dealer beats the player.
  • This is because of the statistical fact that the dealer has less of an edge in blackjack, then the player. While the player has an edge in the game, the dealer is less likely to have an edge. Consequently, the player should bet more money and more aggressively.

There are several instances in blackjack where doubling down may be mathematically sound.

Another example of when mathematically sound objectives could be achieved is when the cards have low denominations. If the dealer shows a 9 or lower, the player should not double down on a two-card hand. Instead, the player should lose half of his bet and not be permitted to double down on a hand with an Ace and a 9.

Why not just bet 9, and hope for a little better hand, rather than risk it all on a hand with no value?

Still another mathematical formula to bet when in favorable position awaits a hand with an Ace and low denomination. Let’s say the player has $5 on the first card, and $5 on the last card. He has a good opportunity to split the cards, in case the dealer shows a 10 or A. Since the dealer has $10 on the first card, and $10 on the last card, the player has a statistical advantage over the dealer. In this situation, the player should bet $5. If the dealer offers to pay the player $1, the player should take the $1 bet.

Using these hands, the player should bet on the first card, on the second card if the showing card is a 9 or lower, on the third card if the card is 10 or 11, otherwise on the fourth card, if the fourth card is a 10, the third card, and the fifth card is a face card. Since the player has good odds of winning with the first card, the player should bet a $5 on the first card. The dealer has a big edge with the second card, so the player should bet only $3, and, if the dealer offers a $1 bet, the player should take it. The player will win $9 ($7.5 + $1), and lose only $3 ($4.5 – $1) on the fifth card, for a total of $0.90. In this case, the player has a 0.90/2.0 edge over the dealer, and is therefore recommended to double down.

The player should also bet on the fifth card if the dealer shows a face card, and the player has a higher card. In this case the player should double down on 9, and keep the third card. The dealer has a 0.39% advantage over the player. In order to get a more favorable edge, the player should then double down on 10 only, and keep the other three cards. The player will have a 70% to 30% edge over the dealer, and will be assured of at least $30 on each card. If the dealer is showing a 7 or lower, the player should also keep the third card.

Finally, if the player has a total of 11, and the dealer has a 10 or a face card, the player should double down. The player will only have to add an additional $1 to the bet; however, the dealer will have to add an additional $1 to the bet as well. However, if the dealer shows a 9 or lower, the player should surrender, because the odds are no better than a coin toss.

Poker is a game of statistics, and the mathematical playing of hands is the true secret to winning big pots time and again. Learn this secret and you will start winning on more than just the cash tables.