Doubling Down for Less at Blackjack

 Doubling Down for Less at Blackjack

Doubling down is one of the players’ most important advantages in blackjack. After seeing your first two cards, you can make a bet equal to your first in exchange for taking just one more card.

Sometimes you’ll see a player double for less. Maybe he or she has a $10 bet on the table and “double” by betting only another $5. The player still gets only one more card, but has less risk and less potential reward than with a full double.

That led a reader to email and ask, “Under what circumstances would you double down for less?”

The only time I’d do it would be if after checking my wallet and digging through my pockets, I found I didn’t have enough money to cover a full double down, or had enough only to do whatever else I needed to get done before heading home.

Blackjack players double down in situations in which they are more likely to win than lose, and have a mathematical edge in the hand. When I have the edge, I want to take full advantage and maximize my profit potential, and that means doubling down with an amount equal to my bet.

That said, I always caution players not to overbet their bankrolls, to set limits as to the amount they can spend on a day’s casino entertainment, and to stick to those limits. If you can’t afford to make a full double-down bet in blackjack, then you really shouldn’t be playing.

But if we assume bankroll is not the consideration, it’s never favorable to double for less. Failing to take advantage of blackjack options in the optimal way adds to the house edge. And the optimal way to double down is for the full amount.

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