What is doubling down in blackjack?

If you find yourself on a break from the best online slot machines for real money, boning up on your blackjack strategy might be the way to go. In blackjack  ‘Doubling down’, also known to casino staff as ‘reaching deep’, is an option whereby a blackjack player, finding himself or herself in a favourable position after being dealt two cards, can double his or her initial stake in return for one, and only one, additional card. Some variants of blackjack allow players to double down on any total, while others only allow doubling down on totals of nine, ten or eleven. Of course, doubling down is not without risk, but conventional wisdom – or, in other words, basic blackjack strategy – dictates that doubling your initial stake is advantageous, statistically, in certain situations.

For example, if your first two cards equal a ‘hard’ ten or eleven – that is, any combination, not including an ace, which adds up to ten or eleven – doubling down is the mathematically correct play if the dealer shows anything between a two and a seven, or an eight, if your hand totals eleven. Similarly, if your first two cards equal a ‘soft’ sixteen, seventeen or eighteen – that is, you hold an ace and a five, six or seven – and the dealer shows anything between a two and a six, doubling down is the best play. Other examples of situations when you should double down include when you hold a ‘hard’ nine against a dealer’s upcard between two and six or a ‘soft’ thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen or seventeen – that is, an ace plus a two, three, four, five or six – and the dealer shows a five or six, otherwise known as a ‘bust card’.