When you have a hard nine against low dealer cards
In blackjack terminology, a “hard” hand is one without an ace. When you are dealt cards that add up to 9, you can double down if the dealer’s up card (revealed card) shows a low number between 2 and 6. It’s imperative that neither hand has an ace.
This means your cards can be 3 and 6, 2 and 7, or 4 and 5. If you have an ace, it’s safer to stand no matter how low the dealer’s cards are.
When you have a soft sixteen, seventeen or eighteen against low dealer cards
A soft hand includes an ace which, of course, can be counted as 11. This is called a soft total. If you have an ace in your hand combined with a 5, 6, or 7 – giving you a soft total of 16, 17 or 18 – you can double your bet if the dealer has a card between 2 and 6. The reason you can risk a high hand is because your ace can be counted as either 1 or 11.
If your hand combines an ace with a lower card between 2 and 4, don’t double down because you have lower chances of ending with a high hand.
When you have a hard ten or eleven against any lower dealer card
Let’s look at a few examples of hard 10 or 11 hands. Hands with 5 and 6, 5 and 5, 4 and 7, 4 and 6, 3 and 8, 3 and 7, 2 and 9, and 2 and 8 are all hard 10 or 11 hands. This hand puts you at an advantage if the dealer’s card is lower than yours. While you can’t go bust or lose, the dealer has a high chance of going bust because they have to hit until they reach 17.
Using these strategies as a guideline when you’re playing live dealer blackjack will put you in the best position when the odds are in your favor. Still, in blackjack things do not always turn out as expected. Even the most effective strategy won’t work all the time. Let’s look at some don’ts of doubling down in blackjack.
When not to double down in blackjack
Even if you’re the kind of player who likes to follow their gut, there are times when you should not double down. Here are a few tips and tricks to avoid making a big mistake.