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Blackjack : Gain an edge Doubling Down in Blackjack

By Daniel Michaels

Level: Apr 13th 2007
Almost every time you bet in a casino, land based or online, you are at a disadvantage and expected to lose. Do I exaggerate? The casino pays out less than what's dictated by your odds of winning and you get your edge with only a few bets.

For example, make a $5 craps bet on the four. The casino offers you for this bet 2-1 odds. So, you win $9 but a fair wager would pay you $10. The difference is made by the commission held by the casino, commission that helps the casino to offer you the world-class adult leisure entertaining space.

Perhaps you might say that the difference is not that large, but trust me when I tell you that this will count in the long run. Wise players already have that down and they use whatever edge they can for bets where bettor has the edge or where the house gets a smaller percentage.

A good opportunity bet is the doubling down wager in blackjack. Doubling down represents the opportunity given by some casinos to make a second bet after you see your two cards and the dealers up-card. This bet must be of the same value as your initial bet. After making the bet you may draw once. This wager pays even money even the casino knows you have high chances to a win.

Depending on the specifics of the blackjack game you are playing, the rules for doubling down may differ. Below is a table with rules on doubling down in 6 or 8 deck blackjack games, in which you are allowed to make this bet on any 2 cards.

Player Dealer
Hard 11 (9-2, 8-3, 7-4, 6-5) 2 - 10
Hard 10 (8-2, 7-3, 6-4, 5-5) 2 - 9
Hard 9 (7-2, 6-3, 5-4) 3 - 6
Soft 18 (A-7) 3 - 6
Soft 17 (A-6) 3 - 6
Soft 16 (A-5) 4 - 6
Soft 15 (A-4) 4 - 6
Soft 14 (A-3) 5 - 6
Soft 13 (A-2) 5 - 6

To double on 11 against a dealer’s six is a bet with a great advantage since the chances you will win are 63.3, tie 6.7 and 30% chances to lose. So, if you will play this hand for 100 times X a $10 bet you should expect to win $633 times and lose $300 in change of a net profit of $333 for the same bet.

To double on 10 against a dealer’s five you are facing odds of winning of 59.3, tie 7.1, and lose 33.6 %. Again, if you play this hand for 100 times X a $10 bet the expected net profit on the extra bet is $593-$336=$257. On other doubles you will get smaller odds but the choice is still a smart one compared to other bets you can make.

To demonstrate I will continue to explain you another doubles:

You have odds of winning of 49.6, tie 6.8, and lose 43.6 % when doubling on nine against a dealer’s three and your expected profit on a $10 double bet after 100 times is $496-$436=$60.

Now, to double on bad hands will only bring a profit for the casino. Say you make a double bet on eight against a dealer’s seven. The odds are you'll win 41.5, tie 7.7, and lose 50.8%. 100 bets of these at $10 can be expected to lose $508-$415=$93 on the extra bet.

Now, if you also take into account the loss on the initial bet and admit that you should have hit, the initial $10 bet has an expected net profit of over $80 on the 100 hands. Now you can see the real cost of your mistake. Similarly, all doubles on or below totals of seven are trash bets.

So, in the end I can only advise you to always exploit the opportunities of doubling on favorable hands. A wise man once said: “A blackjack player is in trouble if he ignores the chance to double.” (Sumner A Ingmark, Tennyson of the tables)
Lesson 1: Blackjack History
Where was the game born? And who named it BlackJack?
Lesson 2: Blackjack Rules
All you need to know before getting started.
Lesson 3: Blackjack Strategy
The many strategies to get a winning edge over the casino, besides getting "Rain Man" to play for you of course!
Lesson 4: Blackjack Vocabulary
Speak like a pro. Talk the talk, the walk is up to you!
Lesson 5: Blackjack Tips
What you should keep in mind, and even a little more on strategy.

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