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Blackjack Doubles

30 Apr 2023

By John Grochowski
QUESTION: I don't really understand why you would double down on soft hands. So much can go wrong when one card can be 1 or 11. You have a hand that's not close to finished.

If I double on hard 11, I know I have 21 with any of the four 10-value cards. Even with hard 10, I at least get 20 with the four 10s.

But if I double on soft 17, I can get 21 only with a 4 and 20 only with a 3. I have a lot less chance of a good finish.

Why should I risk more money when I have so few good possibilities?

ANSWER: Basic strategy charts call for double downs only on hands where you have an edge and average results will bring you more money than if you just hit or stand.

That includes soft doubles. Yes, you'll make 21 or 20 less often than on the best hard doubling hands, but basic strategy calls for soft doubling only on the hands the dealer is most likely to bust.

Given a six-deck game in which the dealer hits soft 17, basic strategy calls for you to double on hard 11 against every dealer face-up card. Even if the dealer has a 10 up and would make a standing hand of 17 or better with any of the four 10s, a 9, 8 or 7 face down, your best play is to double.

(Aces face down are out of the picture here because in nearly all-American casinos, the dealer checks for blackjack before you have a chance to double.)

But basic strategy never calls for you to double on a soft total if the dealer's up card is higher than a 6. You don't double against the up cards most likely to lead to a strong dealer hands.
The potential for you to improve your hand along with the chances the dealer will bust or finish something less than the strongest hands leads to an advantage for you.

That may be only on a few hands. With soft 19, we double only against a dealer's 6, and with soft 13 or 14, only if the dealer has a 5 or 6 up. Doubling opportunities increase to dealer up cards of 4, 5 or 6 with soft 15 or 16, 3, 4, 5 or 6 with soft 17 and 2, 3, 4, 5 or 16 with soft 18.

But in no case do we soft double against a 7 or higher.

QUESTION: In roulette, 0 and 00 are on green backgrounds, so they're not red or black and they're neither odd nor even.

What would it hurt to put 0 on a red background and 00 on black, and declare one odd and the other even? The house would still have its edge because they're paying odds for 36 numbers instead of 38. They pay 35-1 on a single number even though with 0 and 00 odds are really 37-1.

ANSWER: Making one zero black and the other red, one odd and one even would eliminate the house edge on the red or black and odd or even bets.

Both pay even money. The house has an edge because there are 18 black numbers and 18 red numbers, but the house wins on the two with green backgrounds. Similarly, 18 numbers are odd and 18 even, but the house wins on the zeroes.

Changing to 19 that win on red, 19 on black, 19 on odd and 19 on even eliminates the house winners on those wagers. That's not going to happen.

This article is provided by the Frank Scoblete Network. Melissa A. Kaplan is the network's managing editor. If you would like to use this article on your website, please contact Casino City Press, the exclusive web syndication outlet for the Frank Scoblete Network. To contact Frank, please e-mail him at

Blackjack Doubles is republished from
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