A fundamental approach to Doubling in Blackjack

Hitting and standing are the two basic choices a player has when playing a game of blackjack but most people do not really know if they should be doubling or when to do so.

Doubling adds some interesting dynamics to the game of blackjack and here we'll look at what you should be looking for when making the decision as to when to double and how to avoid the common doubling mistakes that people make when playing blackjack.

In any hand in a game of blackjack you will either have an advantage or disadvantage which can be expressed as a percentage of your wager. For example, if you have placed a $10 wager with a 5% advantage you will be up $.50. If you double the amount of your wager you will effectively be doubling your total advantage in the currency you are playing in. The opposite however is also true – if you are at a disadvantage and double when the situation does not require you to, you are in essence, throwing your money away.

During a game of blackjack if you are able to hit once and gain an advantage over the dealer then you should double unless you are able to split cards for an increased advantage, although this rarely happens. So how do you ascertain whether or not you actually have the advantage? There are two factors that play a role in this:

  1. The dealer's face up card
  2. Your hand

By examining what the dealer has in comparison to what you are holding you should be able to determine if hitting once is a good and potentially profitable idea or not. If it is then you should always double and if it's not don't and play the hand out.

For example, if you hold a hard 11 then you're in a solid position to double. If however you've got a soft 14 which is a strong hand, you may not have the advantage if you hit only once. Look at the dealer's cards and only if he/she has weak cards (four, five, and six) then you may consider doubling, if however the dealer has stronger cards, it's better to play it safe.

This may sound like a very simple approach and it is, the problem is that most people just don't realise how easy the decision to double should be, they get caught up in complex blackjack systems and strategies and begin to doubt themselves. So if you're a nervous player or are in doubt when it comes to doubling in blackjack, rather stick to this basic doubling approach as it will help you to avoid mistakes that could be costly.