Blackjack Strategy: Know When to Double Down in Blackjack


Doubling Down is a popular betting move to make in the game of Blackjack. Getting it right can greatly improve your chances of winning in the game. But if you don’t, it will quickly consume your bankroll at the Blackjack table.

That being said, knowing when you should and shouldn’t double down is an important skill to have as a Blackjack player. Here’s an article that offers insight into the use of the Blackjack double down option. Keep reading!

What is doubling down in Blackjack?

Before talking about when to double down in Blackjack, it’s important to know what the concept actually is. When playing Blackjack, the main aim is to get a hand value that’s exactly 21 or as close to it as possible. And that needs to be done by using the Blackjack hit stand option and without going bust.

While having the perfect score of 21 is great, you don’t always need it in order to win. If you ask Blackjack veterans, they’ll tell you that the real game is to have a score that’s higher than the dealer. That way, you are able to beat the dealer and win without having the perfect 21 value.

This is where the doubling down option can help you in European Blackjack and other Blackjack variations. When you double down, you increase your bet size by your initial wager to draw an extra card. As you’d guess, your final score is then calculated by adding the values of your initial two cards and the additional card.

Knowing when to double down is important because your hand gets over after using the option. Also, if you’re dealt a low card, doubling down increases your risk of losing an amount that’s double of what you’d lose in a regular Blackjack round.

When to double down in Blackjack

Here are some instances when you might consider doubling down in online Blackjack and land-based Blackjack games:

Dealer has a weak hand

This one doesn’t require much of an explanation. As a player, you’d want to double down if the dealer’s hand seems to be weak. Generally, the dealer is considered to have a weak hand if the value of his/her face up card is between 2 and 6.

Soft 16, 17, and 18s

In all Blackjack types, the term ‘soft hand’ refers to the type of hand that includes an ace and another card. Here, the ace can be counted as either 1 or 11. So, having a soft 16, 17, or 18 is another great instance to double down in Blackjack.

Hand totals 11

Almost all experienced Blackjack players would double down when the value of their initial hand is 11. This is because getting a 10 value on the extra card will make their final score exactly 21. And even if they draw a low value card, their hand will still be stronger than the one they had before doubling down.

Hard 9 or 10

When playing Blackjack, a hard hand is the one that doesn’t contain an Ace. But having a hard 9 or 10 is a good time to double down in Blackjack. Again, you can’t go bust here by drawing an additional card. And landing a high value card will make your hand better than it was before.

When not to double down in Blackjack

As with the betting moves for other online casino games, it’s not always good to use the double down option. Below we explain the situations when you should abstain from doubling down.

Dealer has an Ace

As mentioned earlier, the Ace card can be counted as either 1 or 11 in Blackjack. This flexibility in Ace rules makes it a pretty powerful card to have in the game. As such, you should avoid doubling down when the dealer has an Ace card.

Hard hand that’s higher than 11

Doubling down a hard hand that’s higher than 11 increases your chances of going bust in Blackjack. Of course, you can have a strong hand if your extra card doesn’t make you go bust. But the chances of that happening aren’t quite great.

Are Splitting and Doubling Down the same in Blackjack?

Blackjack split is another popular move to make when playing Blackjack at the top mobile casino. Unfortunately, many novice players think that splitting is the same as doubling down in Blackjack. But this isn’t actually true. While the double down move allows you to draw an extra card by doubling your initial wager, splitting provides you with the chance to split your cards into two different hands. Note that to use the splitting option, the value of your first two cards must be the same.

Must Read Gambling Books for Casino Players


Books are one of the best choices when it comes to learning something new, as they introduce us to new ideas, provide in-depth knowledge on a topic, and boost memory and intelligence skills. And this can’t be any truer when it comes to gaining knowledge and information on gambling.

So, from the fascinating story of MIT graduates who made fortunes by leveraging their casino math skills to a comprehensive gambling guide by one of the world’s best card experts, here are the best gambling books that you must definitely read.

Scarne’s New Complete Guide to Gambling – John Scarne

Born in 1903 in the American state of Ohio, John Scarne was a magician, author and well-known card games expert. Scarne started his career as a magician, but he went on to become famous as a card specialist. Throughout his lifetime, the American writer authored several books on the card and gambling-related topics. And Scarne’s New Complete Guide to Gambling is one of them.

In this guide, Scarne touches down on almost every aspect of casino gambling, including gameplay rules, house edge, payout odds and playing strategies. Also, it reviews and analyses all types of casino games and sporting events that are available at any good online live casino. So, no matter what casino title or sporting event you prefer to wager on, you’ll get to learn something valuable from the book.

Gambling 102: The Best Strategies for all Casino Games – M. Shackleford

Gambling 102 is another great book on all things gambling. Its author, Michael Shackleford, is highly renowned for his in-depth analysis of the mathematics of casino gambling. So, it’s no surprise that you can find some good playing strategies in his book.

Shackleford describes his Gambling 102 book as the one that allows players to play Roulette games and all other casino titles effectively. And yes, it does have correct assessments of odds, betting systems and several other things for each casino game. Just note that Gambling 102 assume that you have some prior knowledge about casino gaming, so you may want to conjoin it with a more introductory book if you are a complete beginner.

Bringing Down the House – Ben Mezrich

Bringing Down the House is a true story of six MIT students who won millions from Las Vegas casinos by using the Blackjack card counting strategy. While several writers have authored numerous books on this too-good-to-be-true story, none of them is as thorough as Ben Mezrich’s book.

In Bringing Down the House, MIT graduate Kevin Lewis narrates how he and his team develop a card counting strategy to have an edge over the casino. Although the main focus of the book is on the gripping story of MIT’s greatest mathematical minds, you’ll get to learn the basics of card counting as it’s so comprehensive. Interestingly, Bringing Down the House is often credited to have inspired people to play online Blackjack, though it’s not possible to count cards at online casinos.

Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling – David G Schwartz

Today, most of us enjoy placing wagers on Baccarat, Blackjack, Roulette and other popular online casino games. But have you ever wondered about the origins of these casino games and how gambling has evolved over time?

If you’re curious to know about the history of casino gaming, then you must definitely read Roll the Bones by David G Schwartz. In this book, David takes readers on a fascinating journey from the birth of gambling in the Stone Age to its evolution into mobile casino sites in the 21st century. Also, the latest edition of Roll the Dice focuses on how gambling became a multi-billion dollar industry in the past three centuries.

What’s more, it has stories of several famous gamblers who made fortunes or lost all their money due to gambling. These include Voltaire who won over 10 million francs by devising the lottery and Dostoevsky who lost all his fortune by playing mindlessly.

Other popular casino gambling books

Besides these, there are several other gambling and gambling-related books that are worth giving a read. Here’s a look at some popular casino gambling books:

  • The Biggest Game in Town – Al Álvarez
  • Positively Fifth Street – James McManus
  • The Dark Side of the Felt – Tyler Nals
  • All Bets Are Off – Arnie Wexler
  • Burning the Tables in Las Vegas – Ian Andersen
  • The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gambling Like a Pro – Stanford Wong
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

Return to Player: Casino RTP Explained


No matter what type of casino game you prefer to play, it’s important for you to have an understanding of return to player (casino RTP). In this guide, we dive deep into the basics and the working of casino RTP. Also, we take a look at the return-to-player percentages of some popular casino games. Continue reading!

What is Return to Player?

Return to Player, commonly referred to as casino RTP, is a term that’s used to explain the amount of money you’ll get back from the casino game. Casino RTP is given in the form of a percentage and is calculated over the long run. So, players trying a hand or two at their favourite casino title don’t need to worry much about the RTP percentage.

If you’ve been playing casino games for a while or are aware of common casino terms, you’ll notice that RTP is just the opposite of casino house edge. For players who don’t know, the house edge is the mathematical advantage that the casino game has over you as you play over time. To give you an idea of the return to player percentage, a casino game with an RTP of 97% will return 97 cents on every dollar you wager in the long run.

How is casino RTP calculated?

Now that you’ve got a basic idea about casino RTP, let’s take a look at how it is calculated. As daunting as the term “RTP” may seem, its calculation is incredibly simple. All you need to do is use the following RTP formula: Amount of money that’s returned to players divided by the amount of money that’s wagered by players.

As mentioned earlier, casino RTP can’t be based on the history of a single gameplay round. So, the casino gaming software is made to play thousands or even millions of rounds over a brief period of time to finalize the game’s RTP. And as the outcomes in online casino games are completely random, you can rest assured that the return to player percentage is accurate.

The connection between RTP and volatility

You might have heard that the longer you play a given casino game, the closer you’ll get to its theoretical RTP. But to know why exactly that happens, you need to have an understanding of casino volatility (variance).

Simply put, volatility is a term that’s used to describe how risky a given casino game is for the player. For example, a slot game that’s reported as highly volatile has a high risk associated with it. On the other hand, the risk is lower in slot games that are described as lowly volatile.

Speaking about their characteristics, casino games with high volatility offer fewer but higher wins. In contrast, the winning amount in low volatility casino games is somewhat lower, but they offer more frequent wins.

While it’s easy to think that high RTP is correlated with high volatility, let us tell you that it isn’t so. Both RTP and variance are independent, and you need to have a good understanding of the two if you want to assess whether your chosen game is actually good for you.

A look at the RTP of some popular casino games


Blackjack is a casino card game that’s played against the casino. Blackjack is a highly popular casino title at both land-based and online casinos, all thanks to the high return to player percentage it has to offer.

By making use of a basic strategy, the RTP in Blackjack can be increased to as high as 99.50%. When playing Blackjack online, there are a number of playing techniques for you to choose from. So, you can easily select the one that suits you the most.


Roulette is another popular casino classic that’s enjoyed by millions of players across the globe. In Roulette, your main aim is to guess where the ball will come to a stop on the spinning wheel.

Online gambling sites offer several exciting Roulette game variations, and all of them come with varying RTP rates. European Roulette, arguably the most popular Roulette variant, has a decent RTP of 97.30%. The double zero American wheel comes with the worst return to player percentage of 94.74%.


When gambling online, you’ll find thousands of different slot gaming options at your disposal. While the RTP rate in each of these slot games is different, it usually ranges between 90 to 99% in most online slot titles.

Does high RTP always mean a good online casino?

Getting a high RTP percentage is undoubtedly important when it comes to improving your winning chances in the long run. However, that’s not the only thing you should factor in when selecting an online casino. Your chosen gambling site should hold a proper gambling license, have a variety of casino games on offer and possess an intuitive website. Considering all these things will save you from online casino scams and also make for a top-notch casino gaming experience.

Major Baccarat Variations at Live Casinos

Major Baccarat Variations at Live Casinos

In the early days of live casino gaming, Baccarat players had to confine themselves to a handful of Baccarat variations such as Punto Banco and Baccarat Banque. But now that live casinos have evolved to a great extent, players have numerous exciting Baccarat options at their disposal.

As such, here’s a look at some highly popular Baccarat variants that are enjoyed by millions of Baccarat players across the globe.

No Commission Baccarat

No Commission Baccarat is an exciting Baccarat variant that comes with some small tweaks in rules. While many rules of No Commission Baccarat are essentially the same as traditional Baccarat, the tiny changes have a significant impact on the final payout of some Baccarat bets.

Whether you play Baccarat online or in a land-based casino, there’s usually a 5% commission on all the Banker bets. What this essentially means is that when playing live Baccarat games, the payout for your Banker bet will be 0.95:1. The reason for this – is the chances of the banker bets winning in Baccarat are somewhat higher due to the third card rules, and charging a commission tends to make up for that.

In No Commission Baccarat, casinos remove the 5% commission on all the Banker bets. That way, the payout for both the Banker bet and the Player bet becomes 1:1. But again, casinos need to compensate for that by making some changes in the rules. And they do it by offering 0.5:1 odds on a winning banker hand with a total of 6.

Baccarat With Multipliers

No Commission Baccarat can be found in numerous top land-based gambling venues out there. But Baccarat With Multipliers is exclusive to the live casino gaming world.

As the name implies, this Baccarat variant is full of exciting multipliers that work in conjunction with regular payouts. For example, in Evolution Gaming’s Lightning Roulette, 1 to 5 cards are taken out randomly from a deck of 52 cards. Then these cards become lightning cards and a multiplier is applied to each of them. And if you’ve wagered on any of these cards, the multiplier is applied to your final payout.

The addition of multipliers means that developers need to have some other way to keep the game running. And in Lightning Roulette, that comes in the form of the game adding a 20% lightning fee to your total stake.

Interestingly, the RTP rate in Baccarat With Multipliers isn’t influenced by the bonus mechanism and it is at par with Roulette online and Blackjack games.

Peek Baccarat

Peek Baccarat is an extreme variant of the already popular standard Baccarat game. Also, it is one of the latest additions in the live casino gaming world, though Peek Baccarat rules have been around in brick-and-mortar casinos for quite a while now.

So how does Peek Baccarat differ from other Baccarat variants out there? Well, this Baccarat variant comes with the Peek feature that allows players to take a look at some of their cards once they’re dealt by the dealer. However, you need to pay 20% of your stake in the form of fees for that to happen. Depending on your chosen live casino, you’re allowed to see anywhere between one to three Player cards and one banker card. Based on that information, you can choose to double or triple the size of your wager or opt to fold.

The Peek mechanism adds some interesting twists to the overall Peek Baccarat gameplay. And Peek Baccarat is one of those Baccarat games where you might want to take the help of Baccarat strategies to improve your overall winning chances.

Mini Baccarat

Mini Baccarat is another new Baccarat variation that can be found at top live casinos and the best mobile casino sites. As the name suggests, it’s a small version of the standard Baccarat game that is played using eight standard 52-card decks. In Mini Baccarat, players can still choose to wager on any of the traditional Baccarat betting options – Player, Banker, or Tie. However, the game doesn’t offer any options for standing or drawing.

Along with all the traditional wagers, this Baccarat variation allows players to place Baccarat side bets on the Dragon Bonus, an exciting bonus reward to take advantage of. If you’re unaware, the Baccarat Dragon bonus reward pays if your chosen hand is a two-card hand worth 8 or 9. As a player, you’ll also be eligible for the Dragon payout if your chosen hand wins by a minimum of four points.