It’s twice as lucrative, or twice as costly. Doubling down in blackjack can be a risky business. There are some people who use every opportunity to double down, whatever their hand. They don’t tend to be rich people, for precisely that reason.

It is an option only available as the first decision of a hand, and allows the player to increase their bet by up to, or most often exactly, 100 per cent. Only one more card will be dealt to them, so when it goes wrong it can be a spectacular failure.

If you’ve put £10 down for your hand and been dealt a total of nine, be sure that if your one extra card is a two, the other players will be smiling because it was not them. However, there’s nothing sweeter than sitting with a hand of 11 then seeing the dealer hand you an ace.

It depends upon the house rules as to when you can double down. If you’re gambling online, the site might have “Reno rules” which allow doubling only on hard totals of 9, 10 or 11. There are other options which allow you to double on any hand, and it’s possible to use this to good effect if you have a soft 19-20 or even a soft 13-18. It’s worth taking time to study the statistics on doubling down, to give yourself the best chance of success.

The basics of the strategy is to always double down on hands of 11, unless the dealer has an ace. Doubling down is also regarded as the best option if you have 10 and the dealer has anything other than a 10 or ace.

If the site uses Reno rules, most people would advise doubling down on a nine if the dealer has between 3-6. All these guidelines apply to hard totals, there is a separate table for soft totals and pairs.

Written by Alex Corcoran, enjoys contributing to social sites and sharing gaming information on blackjack, poker, casino and uk bingo!