Blackjack is usually played from a defensive position. You make your playing decisions based on what the dealer’s up card is. Think about it. When you’re looking at your basic strategy chart you are seeing what to do in the situation that the dealer is showing X card.
However, there are some instances when we blackjack players get to go on the offensive. And those times are when we are dealt a starting hand total of 9, 10 or 11.
When we have one of those three starting hand totals, usually our best move is to double down. And doubling down is an offensive stance. When you are doubling down you are telling the dealer that you have a better chance of out-drawing the dealer—that your hand is stronger than his.
Having a starting hand of 11 you have the most opportunities to double down. Basically it’s best to double down if the dealer is showing a 2 through 10. The only time you don’t is when the dealer has an Ace showing.
If you have 10, double down against a dealer’s 2 through 9. And if you have a 9, double down 3 through 6.
When you double down you only receive one more card. If that last card is a 10 you know have 19, 20 or 21—all of which are strong hands.
And because you doubled down on a hand in which you have a better chance of out drawing the dealer, you have a better chance of doubling your winnings.
If you can’t have a natural blackjack or a hard 20 or 19, an 11 would be the hand to wish for next.