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What is Double Down in Blackjack? Definition, rules, and payouts

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Simon Young

November 16th, 2021

The double-down meaning in blackjack is simple to understand, yet not always so easy to play profitably. It’s a way to get more money in play when you think your hand is strong. But with that comes the risk of losing more than you would have done had you played out your hand in the normal way.

Some players think of doubling down as a sort of side bet and use it sparingly. But it’s a key part of the main game of blackjack, and you should introduce it to your strategy to improve your chances of making a profit over a session at TwinSpires Casino.

Double Down Meaning

When you play blackjack, you get two cards and see only the upcard of the dealer’s hand. Once you assess the comparative strength of the dealer against your cards, you can decide how you wish to play the hand.

The most common moves are standing and taking no further action or hitting and receiving a third card. If your two cards are the same value, you might also elect to split and play them as separate hands.

But you also have the option to double down if you think your hand is strong or if the dealer seems weak.

To do so, you simply double up your initial bet. So, if you bet $5 at the start of the hand, you add another $5 to receive your next card. Hopefully, you are now in a position of strength, and your hand either beats the dealer, or the dealer goes on to bust.

Blackjack Double Down Payout

If you double down and win the hand, you win 1:1 on your money. In our example, you ended up betting $10 on the hand, getting $20 back, including your stake.

While this seems like a happy state of affairs, the risk is clearly that if you double down and receive a terrible third card, you could end up losing the hand and saying goodbye to twice as much as your usual bet.

Let’s say your starting two cards totaled 11 – the perfect hand to double down with (unless the dealer’s upcard is an ace.) Your hope is that because 10 is the most common value in the deck, you will end up with a total of 21. Even getting a seven, eight, or nine as a third card is not terrible. But what if you get a three, four, or five? Now you have one of those difficult totals of 14, 15, or 16 and will be vulnerable.

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Blackjack Double Down Rules

In most casinos, live and online, you will receive only one more card when you double down. Whatever its value, that is your finishing total. However, some places will allow you to double down, take a third card, and take another if you wish.

As ever, check the rules at the table before you play so that you know what to expect.

Double Down Strategy

Whether you play online or at a local casino, the simplest thing to do is print out one of the blackjack hand charts that you can download for free online (search blackjack hand chart in Google images, for example).

You will notice that the optimum time to double down is fairly limited, which makes sense because you don’t want to splash your money around for no good reason. These are the spots you should look for:

  • You have 11, double down always unless the dealer shows an ace
  • You have 10, double down always unless the dealer shows an ace or ten
  • You have 9, double down only when the dealer shows three, four, five, or six

Soft totals, where you have an ace in your hand, play differently, so your total can be one of two numbers.

  • You have soft 18 or 17, double down when the dealer has three through six
  • You have soft 16 or 15, double down when the dealer shows four through six
  • You have soft 14 or 13, double down only when the dealer shows five or six

The only other time you should consider doubling down is if you receive two fives. You should not split in this instance but double down, treating your hand as ten, so you can double down in all cases unless the dealer has a ten or ace.

Explore Double Down Meaning at TwinSpires Casino

While at first sight, you might be reluctant to double down and risk more money, it’s a profitable play – so long as you only do it in the circumstances outlined in this article.

You can try it for yourself at TwinSpires Casino today. Sign up for your account, make your first real money deposit, and claim your welcome bonus. You can then explore the random number generated animated table games or try blackjack with real dealers in the live dealer games section. Good luck!