When to Double Down and Split in Blackjack?

Last modified: August 12, 2019

Blackjack double down is one of the most exciting moves to play in blackjack. Blackjack double down allows you to double your bet in the middle of a blackjack hand in exchange for an additional card. Despite how exciting the doubling down option might be, it’s also risky. If you get a second low card, it would mean you can’t hit again, indicating that the probability you’d beat the dealer is low.

Splitting a pair, on the other hand, gives you the power beat the dealer and double your win. How? When dealt two cards that are the same, you have the option to split into two new blackjack hand. Knowing the basic strategy of when to use blackjack double down and splitting a pair would give you a significant advantage against the dealer.

When to use blackjack double down

Luckily for you, the basic strategy for blackjack have been mapped out with mathematical probability. So, you can use it to know when it’s best on the long run to double down or not. Here are some cases when you can double down without busting, and the dealer is more likely to lose the hand.

Hard 9 against a dealers low cards

In a case when you have a total hand of 9, double down when the dealer has a card between 2 and 6. Use the blackjack double down on any of the dealer’s card below seven except ACE. This rule only applies to when you have a hard 9, meaning you don’t have an ACE at hand. So, you can have a combination like 4-5, 3-6, or 2-7, but if you have an ACE-9 that’s a soft 9, and you shouldn’t use the. Blackjack double down on a soft-9.

Soft 16 to 18 against a dealers low card

In a case where you have an ACE and either a 5, 6 or 7 cards, then you have a soft hand that total between 16 to 18. If a dealer shows a low-card of 2 to 6, this would be an ideal time for you to double down on your wager. Generally, doubling on a soft hand like this gives you an upper hand to double your bet.

Hard 10 to 11 against a dealers low card

When you have a hard 10 or 11 card against any dealer’s low-card, you should double down. Meaning that when you have two cards that total 10 or 11 without an ACE, it’s a hard 10 or 11. It could be any of the combination 2-8, 2-9, 3-7, 3-8, 4-6, 4-7, 5-6, and so on. As long as the dealer has a lower cand than you, you should always double down.

When to use splitting a pair on blackjack

Having explained split basics in the introduction part, you also need to know when to use the option to split. You shouldn’t split all the time. The perfect time to split depends on the dealers up card.

Always split

  • When you have ACES: ACES are rare in blackjack, but with so many pair of 10-value cards in the deck, it’s easier to get  21 when you have an ACE. Splitting ACES is one of the best cards you can play in blackjack. You should also re-split your ACES.
  • When you have 8’s: having two 8’s would make a total of 16, however, it is more likely that the dealer can also have a 16 too. Standing on a pair of 8’s against a dealers 16 would be a push. So, it’s best you re-split your 8’s to give you a better chance of winning.

When to split against dealers up card

  • When you have 2-2, 3-3, 7-7 against a dealer’s upcard 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • When you have 6-6 against a dealer’s upcard 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
  • When you have 9-9 against a dealer upcard 2, 3, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9
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