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Blackjack Hands

Doubling Down

One of the main draws of blackjack is the option that allows you, as a player, to increase your bets in mid-hand if you feel you have a good opportunity to win. This is the main reason that blackjack can be played nearly even. You should take advantage of this, when you have the chance to make these bets.

One of the circumstances in which you can use to increase your bet is called doubling down. This is where the casino will allow you to make a second bet equal in size to your first bet. In return for this ability, you agree to receive only one more card for your hand. You cannot hit and then double down. You can double down only after looking at your first two cards. Some casinos allow you to double down for less than the amount of your original bet. If the hand is worth doubling down, it is worth the full amount of your original bet. You should avoid betting less than your original bet when doubling down.

To inform the dealer you want to double down, you simply slide a second wager next to your original wager in the betting circle. You do not want to place your second wager on top of your original wager. You do not want any misunderstanding that may cause the dealer to think that you are trying to cheat by increasing your bet illegally.

No hand signal is necessary. The dealer will see your double-down bet and give you one card. This card is generally placed across the first two cards horizontally. In the hand-held game, the dealer will usually place the card under your chips in the betting circle. You may pick up the card to see what you’ve been given, but your fellow players will give you more respect if you wait until the dealer settles all bets to expose your hand.

If you win your bet, you’ll be paid even money for the two bets, and receive double your original wager. If you lose, of course, both bets are taken away. In the even of a push, you keep both bets, but are not paid.

For a bit more information, and a chart showing you some basic strategy for doubling down, see our pages on doubling down with hard hands and soft hands.


There is a second option to increase your original wager which is known as “splitting”. Splitting is when you receive two cards that are of the same value. You are allowed to split these cards in to two separate hands, but you must match your original bet. There is no requirement to split; you can play the hand like any other hand, but in some situations, it is to your advantage make two hands out of a pair. It is entirely up to you.

Each card of the pair becomes the first card of a separate, totally individual, hand, and each wager – the original bet and the second bet – applies only to the hand to which it is attached. The dealer gives one additional card on the first hand, and then takes instructions on how you want to play this hand. When play on the first hand has been completed, the second hand proceeds in the same manner.

Since the two hands are separate, you may win both, lose both or win one and lose one. To split a hand you will need to place a second wager of the same value as your first next to the first wager. This wager cannot be any more or any less than the original.

Depending upon the rules of the casino, it may be possible to split hands up to four times. For example, if you have two sevens and split them, and you receive another seven, you maybe allowed to split that hand creating a third individual hand. The rules governing this situation may vary from casino to casino.

The Ace is the only card that has different splitting rules. When you receive two Aces and split them, you will receive one card on each Ace. If that card happens to have a value of ten, it is not blackjack, it is simply 21. Blackjack must appear in the first two cards of the original hand.

In many casinos, you may also double down after splitting. The same rules apply for doubling down on a split hand that would apply for the original hand.

For a bit more information, and a chart showing you some basic strategy for when to split and when not to, see our page on splitting pairs.

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