Blackjack Double Down Rules Variations and When to Double Down

Nathan Bennett
Nathan Bennett
6 Min Read

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Every player that sits at the blackjack table already knows that you can’t win without a strategy in mind. Players must have the ability to get more money into action when they hold an advantage against a dealer. One of the ways you can increase your winnings is to double down. Of course, by doubling down, the risk is also increased. Blackjack Double Down is when you post an extra bet that should be equal in size to your initial stake. You will get one additional card, and lose the ability to hit your hand.

Although doubling down can be one of the most thrilling and profitable moves you can make at the blackjack table, it can be risky since it involves increasing your bet. That is why it is important to identify the advantageous situations that call for a bet increase.

The catch with this play is that the blackjack double down rules are not the same at all casinos, which is why you should be well-acquainted with the doubling rule variations you may encounter. For example, in many multiple-deck games, players can double down on any starting two-card total without further restrictions. This gives them the opportunity to potentially turn a profit in all advantageous situations they face. But, that is not the case in some casinos where they offer doubling only on specific two-card totals, particularly on hard 9, 10, and 11, which increases the house edge.

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Let’s tackle blackjack double down variations and see when can you double down in blackjack.

The Free Double Down Rule

We have mentioned that blackjack double down rules allow players to increase their bet up to the amount of their original stake. Some casinos, however, have blackjack tables where the “free double down” rule applies. This blackjack rule variation allowed players to double down without posting additional wager. If you win, the dealer pays you both for your initial bet and your double. Should you lose, you lose only your original bet.


  • No additional bet.
  • If you win, you get double.
  • If you lose, you only lose your original bet.


  • No cost doubling on a total of 9, 10, and 11.
  • House edge jumps to 1.04% with basic strategy.

Doubling Down on Three Cards or More

Some blackjack tables give players the option to double on three cards or more. This means more opportunities to turn in extra profits. For example, you start your hand with two cards that add up to 7 and draw 4, you’ll have a total of eleven. If the dealer has 5, you have the advantage.

In a regular game of 21, it would be impossible to double down at this stage. However, if you are playing a blackjack variation that allows for doubling on three or more cards, you can potentially pocket an extra payout.


  • You can pocket extra payout, without taking great risks.
  • Takes away 0.20% of the casino’s edge.


  • The rule is an absolute rarity.
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Doubling Down for Less

In some gambling establishments, blackjack players can double down for less than their initial bet. For example, if you wager $20 on a hand suitable for doubling down, you can double for a smaller amount, like $15 or $10. It is typical for some conservative or underbanked players to take advantage of this blackjack double down variation.

However, perhaps it is best to avoid doubling down for less. Doubling is all about maximizing your profits and placing a smaller amount defeats the purpose of blackjack double down rules.


  • Betting a smaller amount, takes away the risk of losing more money.


  • Defeats the purpose of doubling down.
  • You can’t win big if you place small wagers.

Doubling Down After Split

Can you double down after the split? Yes. At some casinos, blackjack double down after split is a totally valid move. Split hands are treated as separate hands, so they have almost full liberties as to what their hand looked like before the split. Splitting is something you should consider doing before you double down if you have a pair of cards at the same face value.


  • Split hands are treated as separate hands.
  • Doubling down after split maximizes your winnings.


  • It can be risky if you are not confident you’ll win.

Blackjack double down definitely adds to the thrill of the game and it is one of the best-known bets in blackjack. When done the right way, you can find yourself upping your winnings, big time.


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