In blackjack, two of the most common moves are splitting, where you literally split a pair, effectively playing two hands at once, and doubling down, where after receiving your opening two cards, you double your bet and play one more card. They’re useful tools to help double your winnings quickly, but they can be misused by people who don’t quite know how to use them to their maximum advantage.
There is actually a way to combine both splitting and doubling down by doing the latter after the former. How it works is simple: after splitting your pair and you receive two new cards (one for each of the pair) you may find yourself holding a hand, or two hands, that’s worth doubling down on. Then, like any other double down, your bet is doubled and you receive one more card.
If both doubling down and splitting are open for misuse and abuse by players who don’t know better, you can imagine how much trouble a player can get into by combining them. A double down after a split can be a killer move, but whether it’s for the house or the player depends on whether the player follows the following basic tips:
- Know the best hands to split on. You always want to split on 8s and aces or according to the following chart:
|You||Dealer’s Revealed Card|
|2s, 3s and 7s||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
|6s||2, 3, 4, 5, 6|
|9s||2, 3, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9|
2. Know when to double down. This somewhat more tricky but here’s a basic guide to doubling down:
- You have a hard nine (and two cards that don’t include an ace that add up to 9) AND the revealed card of the dealer falls between two and six, inclusive.
- You have a hard 10 or 11 (again, no aces) and the dealer’s card is any number lower than that.
- You have a soft 16, 17 and 18 (“soft” meaning that one of the cards can be an ace) and the dealer has a card between 2 and 6, inclusive.
3. With this in mind, combine the two strategies to maximum effect. Doubling down when your split contains an ace or ten-value cards is always a no-no, obviously.What you want to do is double down on lower value splits, like a 7 or a 5, and then only double down when the dealer’s upturned card is similarly low.
Keep these simple tricks in mind and you will know the secret to one of the best plays in all of blackjack. And remember, the less you deviate from these carefully worked out rules, the better it will be for you.