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## Why bother doubling?

Hello all, new ploppy here in the forum and in the game. I just recently memorized basic strategy and have been pondering why people double down. For example, you bet \$25, you can double down your 5,6 and probably win \$50, BUT...you can very easily lose \$50 because you can get a 2 and be stuck in the mud with a 13, whereas if you just were not greedy and hit the 5,6 instead, you'd be able to hit again (and again) and perhaps win \$25 instead of losing \$50, or should you bust, you would only lose the \$25 instead of losing \$50. Basic strategy is what would give you the best odds of winning the hand, right? If basic strategy is not contingent on the amount you bet, what strategic playing advantage would doubling down give you? Wouldn't I win more hands by hitting instead of doubling? If we were just playing for fun, no cash, (paper and pencil....you get a check mark next to your name for winning your hand) who would limit themselves to just one extra card as doubling down does?

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Originally Posted by mirageman
Hello all, new ploppy here in the forum and in the game. I just recently memorized basic strategy and have been pondering why people double down. For example, you bet \$25, you can double down your 5,6 and probably win \$50, BUT...you can very easily lose \$50 because you can get a 2 and be stuck in the mud with a 13, whereas if you just were not greedy and hit the 5,6 instead, you'd be able to hit again (and again) and perhaps win \$25 instead of losing \$50, or should you bust, you would only lose the \$25 instead of losing \$50. Basic strategy is what would give you the best odds of winning the hand, right? If basic strategy is not contingent on the amount you bet, what strategic playing advantage would doubling down give you? Wouldn't I win more hands by hitting instead of doubling? If we were just playing for fun, no cash, (paper and pencil....you get a check mark next to your name for winning your hand) who would limit themselves to just one extra card as doubling down does?
Well, you're the first new person to call themselves a ploppy, so you can't be that new.

But assuming you are a rookie, I'll give a basic answer. Basic strategy is the best way to win long term. Maybe not this hand, or the next, but over thousands of hands the basic strategy play will win more.

On some hands, basic strategy also means you lose less, for example 16 v 10. You will lose less if you hit a 16 vs standing on it, but in both cases it is a negative expectation (i.e., you expect to lose) your hand.

But back to the doubling...there are more 10s in the deck than other cards, so the PROBABILITY of catching a 10 on a double is better than catching a 3. In a single deck game, there are 16 10s and only 4 3s.

Here is where card counting and basic strategy come together. If you knew there were ONLY face cards left in the deck, would you double? Of course. Now it's never that exact, but you can know what percent of cards remaining in the deck are face cards, so sometimes you chose to forgo a double if they are lacking, or you may double more aggressively if they are in surplus.

Basic strategy assumes all of these deck compositions, and gives you one best way to play each hand.

Now blackjack is never played for funnies. The core of the game involves money, so realistically if you lose 99 hands at \$1 per hand, but win one hand at \$100, you come out up \$1. The casino always has the edge, so the few times you DO have the advantage you want to bet more, to at least cover those losing bets. That's where doubling comes into play. It isn't being greedy, per se, but rather its more like evening the odds.

So if BS says to double, and you aren't counting, you should double.

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You are correct that most of the time doubling down decreases your chance of winning the hand, such as when doubling 11 v 10 and you catch a small card. At best, it keeps the chance of winning the same, such as doubling 11 vs. 5, when you wouldn't want another card anyway. Indeed, you'll win more hands if you never double down. Here's why should do it anyway when the chart says to:

Correct double-down hands are always positive expectation hands (you're more likely to win than lose), even if your chance of winning is reduced by the double. When you win, you win twice as much! The increase in the size of your wins more than makes up for the reduced number of wins and the increased number of losses. So you'll win fewer hands, but more money, in the long run. Or in your case as a B.S. player, you'll lose less money in the long-run with correct doubling.

Ironically, this is from a guy who had many double-downs go horribly wrong tonight (catching aces when doubling 11 vs 10 on a big bet, etc.), helping propel me to my biggest losing session ever. But I'd never dream of passing up a doubling opportunity when basic strategy (and/or the count) says to do it.

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Originally Posted by Optimus Prime
even if your chance of winning is reduced by the double. When you win, you win twice as much!
the average win (EV) is greater when counting basic strategy tells you to double. You only though about the certainty of winning the hand but never thought about the certainty of the total win( again because of EV) . I guess you are a ploppy

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Originally Posted by stopgambling
the average win (EV) is greater when counting basic strategy tells you to double. You only though about the certainty of winning the hand but never thought about the certainty of the total win( again because of EV) . I guess you are a ploppy
Yes, the winning of the hand alone is what I was questioning. I do realize there is more money to be made eventually with doubling.

Hmmm...be not offended by my ignorance, but me winning more hands by not doubling should equate to a lower house edge, right? Like this lady at the end of this clip!

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I have no way of keeping track of this, but my splits and doubles are responsible for a massive amount of my earnings. I'm sure someone could simulate playing BS w/out doubles and playing AP w/out doubles compared to proper play and you'll see the massive difference.

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Originally Posted by mirageman
Yes, the winning of the hand alone is what I was questioning. I do realize there is more money to be made eventually with doubling.
So, what is the problem? If there is more money to be made by doubling, do you have a different goal? Would you prefer to win more hands but less money or fewer hands and more money? Do you derive your satisfaction from winning the greatest number of hands or the most amount of money? If not the latter, consider quitting the game.

Originally Posted by mirageman
Hmmm...be not offended by my ignorance, but me winning more hands by not doubling should equate to a lower house edge, right?
Unequivocally wrong. See above. You don't understand what the house edge entails. It has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with how many hands you win or lose. It has to do only with how much money you win divided by the total dollar amount of initial bets you make.

Don

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Excuse me but doesn’t add up. Double down means winning more hands not losing more hands. Losing mor hands leads to losing more money. double is double. You might confuse with counting - lose more hands but potentially win more money.

I talk about doubling down according to basic strategy. You don’t double down every hand. The qualified DD hands win some 60% of the time. ENHC (European bj) rules make doubling down dangerous against dealer’s 10 or A. if you exclude doubling against T/A you will win 60% of the dd hands on average. You lose some like 30% with 10% push. In cases like 11 against dealer 6 wins well over 60% of the time.

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Oy!

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Originally Posted by DSchles
So, what is the problem? If there is more money to be made by doubling, do you have a different goal? Would you prefer to win more hands but less money or fewer hands and more money? Do you derive your satisfaction from winning the greatest number of hands or the most amount of money? If not the latter, consider quitting the game.

Unequivocally wrong. See above. You don't understand what the house edge entails. It has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with how many hands you win or lose. It has to do only with how much money you win divided by the total dollar amount of initial bets you make.

Don
Well, my questions were as stated. I can see how odds are better for winning the HAND by hitting as opposed to doubling. Now as for the money, I think yes I do have a different goal for now. I don't want to bring a large amount of cash to a casino and find myself doubling it all away. I'd rather have a better chance of winning a non-doubled bet than a lower chance of winning a doubled bet. If I build up a decent amount of winnings, maybe I'll be less stingy and DD at that point. But that's another matter. I wouldn't quit unless I start hating it. I barely started. I'll be content if I win some here and there.

Hmmm. I thought house edge was EXACTLY what you say it has nothing whatsoever to do with...well, what you are mathematically EXPECTED to win or lose anyway.. Thanks all!

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