One of the more advantageous rules you’ll encounter on a blackjack table is when you have the opportunity to double down. That means you can double your wager after you receive your first two cards and intend on hitting for another. Using basic strategy, (which you have to do online because counting cards is futile in cyber blackjack), one can determine when it’s right to double down and when it’s the wrong move.

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Many players don’t double when they can because they don’t want to lose the additional wager, but it’s to your advantage to do it when the situation is right. Not doubling when you have the opportunity is failing to practice proper basic strategy, and the house edge increases against you every time you choose not to do so. You’re not going to win every hand where it’s favourable to double down, and there will periodically be streaks when you lose a lot of them, but in the long run you will come out on the better side of these double down bets if you’re playing proper basic strategy.

The ability to double down depends on the casino and the variation of blackjack that you’re playing. Some games allow you to double down on any two cards while others limit this option to certain situations. Some will allow the double down play only when the first two cards total 9, 10, or 11. It’s more to the player’s advantage to play in a game that allows the double after any two cards. Another edge a player can find is when the game allows a double down after splitting a pair. This rule reduces the house edge from 0.55% down to 0.42%.

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Even when you have the ability to double after any two cards, it’s important to choose the right situations. The best times to double down are when the dealer is showing a weak card that has a higher percentage of busting him. Cards 2 through 6 have the highest percentage of bust results, starting from 35% for the deuce, up to 42% for the five and six. Doubling when the dealer is showing these cards will be profitable in the long run.