Blackjack strategy: splitting and double down explained

Blackjack strategy

Most casinos offer the double option. It is good that you know exactly how doubling works before you start using it. There are still a lot of players who do not know the most basic blackjack strategy. For example like what doubling means. But when is it wise to double up? Doubling is actually about doubling your bet, but there are a number of rules attached to it.

Before we go into more detail about splitting and doubling in blackjack, it is important to know the basic rules of blackjack and the fact that casinos are always ahead of the player in this well-known card game. 

Another important fact: it doesn’t matter whether you are going to play online or offline, the odds remain the same as long as you play the same blackjack variant.

How do you play blackjack?

Blackjack is so popular simply because this card game so exciting. It’s not a difficult game toplat, so anyone could understand the basic rules very quickly. The main goal in playing blackjack is to defeat the dealer. This is done by getting points bigger than the dealer. However, there is a catch. Your total cards cannot exceed 21 points because then you are finished. If you have 21 points or less and you get closer to 21 than the dealer, you win the game round. These are the blackjack rules in a nutshell.

1. Betting

Before the game really starts you have to bet. All casinos have a minimum and a maximum bet. You need chips to bet in blackjack. At a land-based casino such as Holland Casino, you can buy it from the dealer. At an online casino this goes without saying, for example if you bet a 5 euro chip, 5 euros will be deducted from your balance.

2. Round Start


At the start of a game round, each player receives 2 cards from the dealer. The dealer starts with the player on his left. The dealer will always place the first card face up on the table for everyone to see.

All cards are given different number of points. And all cards are assumed to have the same value as printed on the card. For example, A 9 of hearts is therefor worth 9 points. While a jack of clubs, is worth ten points, just like the kings and queens. However, the Ace could be worth 1 or 11 points, as it is an exception. 

With all these combination of cards you have to try to score 21 points.

3. Make a decision

After you receive your two cards, the dealer will ask you what you want to do. You have the following options:

  • Pass (stand): You don’t need a new card because you may be happy with the two cards.
  • Buy (hit): Request an additional card.
  • Split: if you have received two cards of the same value, you may divide them into two so-called hands. With this you can double your chances of winning. On the other hand, your bet will also double.
  • Double down (double down): when you have doubled your bet, you receive another card. This is also the last card you get.
  • Surrender: You can also give up at some casinos if you have very bad cards and do not want to take any risks. This means you only lose half of your bet.

Read more: When Should You Double Down in Blackjack?

4. The Dealer plays

After all players have been, the dealer starts playing. He must continue with this until he has at least 17 points. He must pass from 17 points.

5. Payout

After the deal is completed, the bank will pay out

  • When you have more points than the bank (but no more than 21 points) you get 1x your bet.
  • With an equal number of points with the bank, your bet remains.
  • If the bank has more points than you (but no more than 21 points) you lose
  • If you have blackjack (an Ace with a 10), you get 1.5x your bet.

Better understanding of the basic blackjack strategy 

Make haphazard decisions and the house edge increases to a whopping 8%. This isn’t ideal, of course, but blackjack isn’t a casino game like the others. With a better understanding of the basic blackjack strategy, you can significantly reduce the house edge in blackjack. Make the right decision every hand and the chance that you will win money in blackjack is a lot bigger in one fell swoop.

Split cards

  • First, ‘split’. You will be offered to split the cards if your two cards form a pair of cards. This happens immediately after the cards have been dealt, you must decide to split or not right there. When you choose splitting the cards, then those cards will be split into two regular hands. Of course you have to pay your original bet again. 
  • As a result of this split, you are now twice as likely to win, or lose. Remember, if the game play isn’t favorable to you splitting your cards offers you the chance to win more money. It also adds more excitement to the game. However, you need to understand when it is a good decision to split the cards and when not. 
  • In a game of blackjack, It is always best to split the bet when you are given a pair of eights or a pair of aces. This is because the cards with 10-value are more often come out than the other cards in the deck (there are at least 16 in total). The statistic is in your favour because the chance of hitting 21 when splitting the bet is significantly higher. Further, two individual hands of eight are much easier to play than one hand of 16, where it is very rare to win.
  • When receiving a pair of tens, be sure not to split. It is very uncommon for your hand to improve with every other card you are dealt. In terms of hand rankings, 20 is very high as it is next to 21. However, it is important to watch carefully at the dealer, and see which card he has face up. This is partly because, for every pair you receive, statistically, it might turn out to be a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ decision to split when you have a specific cards against you.
  • In the case of a pair of nines, this will make the best possible option is to split if the dealer has a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8 and 9. However, if the dealer card has an ace, a 7, or a 10, it is very wise to stand. A similar situation is when you possess a pair of 6s and the dealer are being dealt with a card between 2 and 6. In this case you have to split. In other cases you take an extra card. 
  • When you might have sevens as well as the dealer has an account between seven and two, you also have to divide your cards, you ought to spin on the unique set. In the same way, for those who own some of sixes as well as also the dealer has a card between six and two, then you have to divide. You must choose another card.
  • When you might have fours along with also the dealer has a five or even six, then split, in just about any other event, simply take a card. For those who might have either some of twos or threes, divide in the event the dealer gets any card between seven and two, or you can even consider a hit.
  • Double down the bet. Still another Blackjack scenario feature the idea of that the ‘double down’. That can be as soon as the dealer allows one to double your size of one’s bet as soon as you were dealt with your first cards. In exchange for allowing so, your dealer might demands that you’re dealt with just one more card.
  • Strategically, it usually only makes sense to double when your hands value is corresponding to 10 or even 11. That is only because , for both conditions, you’ve got a 30.7percent potential for hitting still yet another 10-value card and so making a superior hand.
  • In case your cards dealt over 11, you shouldn’t ever double down. In the event that you get a hard 8 or 9 on hand, it’s ideal to twist only if you don’t feel the dealer can go bust (depending on the card the dealer has face up).
  • Counting cards can lower the house edge of blackjack by up to 0.28%, but at land-based casinos you will be kicked out if they discover you, and at online casinos the software makes it too difficult to do this. In short, other tactics are needed to take serious advantage of it and thus increase your balance.

Read more: Basic Strategy and How to Play Blackjack for Beginners

Optimum Blackjack Strategy

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The optimal strategy varies with the different rules with which the game is presented. However, the same buying strategy applies to all variations. It is best to buy against a 2 or 3 in the bank on 12 or less and stand on 13. Against a 4, 5 and 6 one already stands on 12.

Against higher cards one has to buy on 16 and stand on 17. For ” soft “hands (hands with an Ace, where you can count the Ace as 11, without exceeding 21), you should always buy with 7/17 (hands as A, 6) or less. You also buy on 8/18 (for example 7, A) against an Ace, 10 or 9 (many players find this strange, but it is statistically really better). You stand against other cards in the bank with 8/18.

Double: with 9 you double against a 3, 4, 5 or 6. With 10 and 11 if you have more than the bank (The bank has 2 to 9, respectively 2 to Mr), unless the bank has a chance blackjack. In America one doubles 11 against a 10 (hole card rule) and in the Netherlands and Belgium never (where the game is played with only one deck of cards, it is advisable to double 11 against an ace). 

The split strategy depends on other rules; if doubling is not allowed after a split, splitting becomes more unattractive. In America, people always split aces and eights. Without a hole-card rule, a pair of aces is split against a 10, but no pair of eights and a split is never split against an Ace.

It can be calculated that taking out insurance or even money is not attractive. It pays 1 to 2, while there are 9 non-tens out of 4 tens. This is the bank’s advantage on such bets{\displaystyle {\tfrac {1}{13}}}{\displaystyle {\tfrac {1}{13}}}, or more than 7%, while with good application of the basic strategy, players can limit their disadvantage to well below 1%.

When can you double?

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As a player you are dealt 2 cards by the dealer. If the value of these two cards together is 9, 10 or 11, you may double. However, the doubling rule is that you only get one more card. So suppose you get a two as the third card, then you are out of luck. To indicate that you are doubling, place your original bet again next to what is already there. Online the double button will automatically light up or appear, in the casino the croupier will indicate that you can double.

When the open cards have a value of 9, 10 or 11, as a player in blackjack you always have the option to double. The bet placed is then simply doubled, which also increases the potential profit on a winning round. 

However, you should keep in mind that doubling in blackjack is not always possible, for example when there is an ace in the set of cards. Moreover, as a player you must always take into account that there is a chance that you will draw a low card instead of a high card. Still, the first option seems to have the most potential and of course blackjack players are aware of that.

Greater chance of a high card

The doubling in blackjack strategy is actually based entirely on the assumption that the chances of getting a card with a high card value are very significant. If you already have a fairly high numerical value (9, 10 or 11) you will notice that the chance that you end up very close to the number 21 is very high. In this way you can just beat the dealer or you can let him play himself to pieces. In both cases, you as a player will at least go home with the winnings.

Only one extra card

At first glance, doubling in blackjack certainly seems to be a fantastic opportunity to increase your winnings, but in practice there is a not insignificant disadvantage. When you start doubling you have to take into account that the dealer can only give you one more card. 

If you are unlucky enough to be dealt a card with a low card value, the chance that you will win it from the dealer is very limited. However, if you receive a card with a high card value, the chance that you will make a very significant profit is of course very high. Regardless, the fact that in this situation you will only receive one more card from the dealer is definitely something to keep in mind.

Doubles excluded for certain strategies

When you as a player choose to use a certain strategy while playing blackjack, you should keep in mind that doubling is sometimes ruled out. This is the case, for example, when you start using the Mimic The Dealer strategy. In this case you have to copy all actions of the dealer. You can’t do anything he doesn’t do, including doubling. 

This means that you sometimes have to pass up a good opportunity, but on the other hand it can also ensure that you do not run more risk than necessary. Anyway, when you want to double up in blackjack, it is always necessary to take into account the method of the strategy you are using at that time.

The ace sticks sticks in the wheels

As you have already read, doubling is always possible when the number of points for the first two open cards is 9, 10 or 11. However, you should keep in mind that there is one exception, which is when an Ace is dealt. In that case you do not have the option to double. 

In principle, it is always clear to the player when the option to double up occurs and when not. If you do not have the option, you will not be able to press the appropriate button while playing in an online casino.

To double or not?


Doubling in blackjack can in certain cases be of interest to players looking for an opportunity to boost the winnings they can get from playing their favorite casino game, but it goes without saying that there are also risks involved.

After all, doubling ensures that you place a larger bet on the game while the risk remains that you will draw a card with a low card value so that the dealer can easily get over you. Doubling or not is therefore a question that many players ask themselves and that you really have to find an answer to yourself. 

Listen to your gut feeling and let it determine whether or not it is interesting to double up in a given situation. Does your gut feeling tell you to take your chance

Special rules

As we have just mentioned, you really only get one card. So if you end up with a low number of points, you can no longer change it. In addition, there is also a special rule for the Ace. Suppose you get an Ace and an eight, and you choose to double down, the Ace has a value of 1 and it cannot change. So suppose you get a two as the third card, you have eleven points and no blackjack.

However, there are casinos where different rules are applied. For example, in the United States there are casinos where you can double on any hand. This is stated in the table rules, the rules regarding the Ace also change.Search: 

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