Let’s get a little more complicated and start doubling down. This means that after you get your face up card and your face down card, double your bet. You do this by putting a second $5.00 (or whatever the amount you first placed) in your betting box. You and the dealer understand that you have committed to trying to win by taking one more card.
What made you do this? How did you come to this decision? How can doing this be to your advantage?
First of all, you are gambling. You could well lose all of the money you have just bet. Doubling doesn’t increase your chances of winning, it increases the amount you will get if you do win. But the experts have worked out your chances and have a set of rules for you to follow that will tell you when it is safest to double.
There are even charts worked out (that the truly dedicated will memorize) telling you when to double and when not to double. However, some casinos will do that for you. Some have house rules about when you can double down. Some let you double at any time and others will only allow you to double if you have a ten or eleven in your hand.
Double down if you have a hard 10 or a hard 11 and the dealer isn’t showing an ace. Remember, by doubling down, you are telling the dealer, “I think I can beat your hand with just one more card. I’m so sure of it that I’m going to bet double on it. Seventeen points in a hand is considered a hand with a fair or better chance of winning. What are your chances of getting up to seventeen with a hard ten?
Hmm? Out of fifty-two card, thirty-two will get you a seventeen or better. A hard 11 could go bust with aces, so you have thirty-two cards that will get you to seventeen and four cards (the aces) that will bust you if counted as eleven or leave you with a miserable, losing twelve points if you count them as one. But there is still a tiny chance. Maybe the dealer will go bust (wind up with a hand worth over twenty one and then your twelve will still win. You are gambling after all and a lot of things can go wrong, but the charts say you are as safe as you can ever be in a casino. Go ahead and double.
Double down on a hard nine, if the dealer is showing a card from 2 to 6. You’ve still got better than a fifty percent chance of drawing a seventeen or better with just one more card. You know that the dealer will probably draw one more card, chances are fair that he will have to draw two and maybe go bust.
Finally you might consider doubling if you have a soft hand (anything with an ace) if the dealer has a 3 to a 6 showing. You can count the ace in two ways. That will increase your chances of winning and the dealer has a pretty bad hand. There’s a chance you can win.
There are a lot of other times you should double and times when you certainly shouldn’t. If you are just there to pass an evening and have a good time, remember these few rules, bet small and keep smiling if things don’t work out. If you want to become an expert at the game, get a chart and start studying.