Two of the most basic principles in Blackjack are the spilt and the double down. In general, these two happen sequentially i.e. you should double down after you split. Splitting means separating the pair you were dealt (say two aces or two 7s) and creating two separate hands and playing both against the dealer. There are certain hands you should always split and certain hands you should never split:
- 7s or 8s if the dealer is showing a card equal to or lesser than your card, but never when he’s holding a 9, 10, face card, or Ace.
- 2s and 3s, but only when the dealer is showing 4, 5 or 6.
- 5s, 10s, or face cards.
Splitting the pairs listed above allows you to double your bet by playing two good hands at once, instead of just one. Conversely, splitting when it is not to your advantage could lose you twice as much money. The reason 5s, 10s, and face cards are not in your advantage to split is because the odds of you hitting good hands on both are minimal.
Ok, so now we know when to split and when not to. Next comes the double down. As the name would suggest, doubling down means placing an additional bet on your newly split hand. You have now doubled your potential earning and losses. Because the risk of loss is present as well, you must make sure to only double down when it is statistically wise to do so.
These are the hands you should double down with:
- When you have an ace.
- When you have 10s and the dealer is showing a 9 or less.
- When you have 9s.
- When you have a total between your cards of 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 when the dealer is holding a 4, 5 or 6.
Employing these two strategies will greatly improve your chances of winning in Blackjack.