Why Double Down on 11 While Playing Blackjack
As a blackjack player, your goal is to gain points as close to 21 as you can to create a hand that is strong enough to beat the dealer. After receiving your first two cards, you are in a reasonably strong position if you are holding an 11-value hand.
Holding 11 gives you the best possible chance to hit the holy grail hand of 21. Even if you don’t land a 21-point hand, you will get very close to it and most likely beat the dealer. With a hard 11, you only need a ten-card to hit 21. Fortunately for you, the chances of that happening are 30.7%!
A hard 11 provides you with a powerful position to land a strong hand. It is a hand totaling 11 that you create without an ace. You should use the double down option on an 11, regardless of the dealer’s up-card. It’s a good strategy to build a bigger bankroll.
This basic strategy allows you to double your bet because you can easily beat the dealer.
For instance, if your initial bet before being dealt initial two cards was a $10, your total double down bet will be $20. Many casinos allow you to double your original bet, so that they can increase the amount of money at play.
The table rules dictate the dealer has to take another card on soft 17; you should definitely double down on a hand totaling 11 no matter what. It doesn’t matter if the hand is soft or hard 11. As with most casino games, blackjack has a house edge, so you should keep that in mind when you double your bet.
Different Ways to Create an 11
Here are different two-card combinations that can create a hand worth 11 points:
- 2 + 9
- 3 + 8
- 4 + 7
- 5 + 6
Once you have been dealt two hole cards that create a total of 11, you have only two viable moves to make. You can either hit or double, making sure to avoid going bust. However, one of most optimal basic strategies is to always double down on a hand with 2-9, 3-8, 4-7, or 5-6.
When to Double Down on 11 in a Blackjack Double-Deck Game
If the casino stipulates the dealer must hit on soft 17, you should consider doubling down on an 11. However, the only exception you should make for optimal play is to hit against the dealer’s ace if your 11 hand is made up of:
Why? You should hit on 11 hands made up of 2 plus 9 and 2 plus 8 when the dealer’s up-card is an Ace because you would like to get a ten-card, 9, or 8 for the best hand. However, because one 8 or 9 has already been removed from the shoe, you would be better off hitting than doubling down in blackjack.
How to Play a Multi-Card 11
It is possible to create an 11-value hand with more than three cards. For instance, if your hole cards were 4-2, you could create an 11 by drawing a 5 when you hit. Unfortunately, you cannot double down on a multi-card 11 (once you have drawn the 3rd card). Your best move, according to the basic blackjack strategy, you should be to hit instead of staying.
When to Double Down Beyond 11
It can be difficult to tell when doubling down will yield more returns. Thankfully, the basic blackjack strategy has been impeccably mapped through statistical probability. It will show you precisely when it is optimal to double down in the long run. For instance, if the basic strategy tells you to hit, you should take one more card.
Aside from an 11, here are three more circumstances when you will benefit from doubling down:
When You Hold Hard 9 vs. Dealer’s 2-6 (Low Cards)
You should always double down (if the blackjack game allows) on a hard 9 when the dealer’s up-card is low, meaning lower than 7 (2 through 6).
It has to be a hard nine, which means you created the hand without an ace. Typical examples are 4-5, 306, and 2-7.
If you hold a soft 9 (Ace-8), your best bet is standing instead of doubling down or hitting. Do so no matter the dealer’s up-card.
When You Hold a Soft 16-18 vs. Dealer’s 2-6 (Low Cards)
If your hand is a soft 16 through 18 (Ace-5, Ace-6, or Ace-7), you should double down if the dealer’s up-card is low. If you hold an ace and a low card, you’d be better off hitting against the dealer’s low cards. It is one of the best known bets at online casinos, especially if the dealer is showing the lowest card.
When Holding a Hard 10 vs. Dealer’s ten or Lower
A hard 10 should be played like a hard 11. You should always double down when the dealer is showing a lower up-card. More specifically, if the dealer has an up-card lower than 10, you should take advantage of your upper hand to double down.
You have a very low chance of busting in all these three circumstances. Instead, you are in a stronger position to hit a high hand, and the dealer is likely to bow out.
Can I double down after hitting 11?
In nearly all cases, you won’t be able to double down after hitting. The same is true of a hard 11. You won’t be able to double down after hitting. That is because casinos know that doubling down after hitting will give you significant advantage to offset the house edge that an online casino has.
Do you double down on 11 against a 10?
Yes, you should always double down on 11 against any dealer’s lower card, including 10. The only way the dealer can beat your hard 11 hand is to get an ace. There is no good chance of that happening.
Do you double down 11 vs. 2?
Absolutely! You should always double down on 11 versus the dealer’s 2. Your probability of going over 21 is zero, and the odds of the dealer getting a blackjack with a 2 are also none. Doubling down on 11 against the dealer’s 2 is a sure thing.
Do you double down on 11 against a 9?
The answer is a resounding yes. When holding an 11, you have a goldmine you should exploit, especially if the dealer has a lower card, like 9 or less.