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Lesson 15: The Advanced Course - Part 3
Basic Strategy Variations: Double?

The opportunity to double your bet in return for agreeing to accept only one more card is a very powerful option for the player, if it's utilized correctly. I can't tell you how often I see players double hands like 7 or 8 against a dealer's up card of 6 and then bemoan their fate when they lose. Yes, the dealer is very vulnerable with a 6 showing, but placing an extra bet changes the mathematics of the hand, so all doubles must be well-considered. For example, in a six-deck game where the dealer stands on A-6, doubling a hand of 8 against the dealer's 6 has a total return of 10.3% whereas just hitting the hand returns 12.3% and the risk is lower!
That said, there comes a time when it is worthwhile to double an 8 against a dealer's 6 and that's when there's a higher proportion than normal of 10s left in the deck. That point is determined, of course, by the true count. As the true count gets more positive, it becomes more profitable to double. Conversely, as the count goes negative, it becomes a better play to hit some hands, rather than double.
Just as you're using flashcards to learn the hit/stand variations, make up, a set for doubling. Here are the numbers you need:

Basic Strategy Variations Six decks, dealer stands on A-6
Soft Doubling
A-2 vs. 4 Double at 7.(Got this? Basic strategy says to HIT A-2 against a 4, but if the true count is 7 or higher, you should double.)
A-2 vs. 5Double at 0.(Don't get confused here. Basic strategy says DOUBLE A-2 against a 5, but if the count is at all negative, just hit it; double only when the count is 0 or higher.)
A-2 vs. 6Double at -2.(or higher. As long as the count remains above -2, you'll double; once it goes lower than -2, you'll just hit --- then hopefully leave the table if the count doesn't improve.)
A-3 vs. 4Double at 6.
A-3 vs. 5Double at -2.
A-4 vs. 4 Double at 0.
A-7 vs. 2Double at 2.
A-8 vs. 4Double at 5.
A-8 vs. 5Double at 2.
A-8 vs. 6Double at 1.
A-9 vs. 5Double at 6.
A-9 vs. 6Double at 5.

Hard Doubling
8 vs. 5 Double at 6.
8 vs. 6 Double at 3.
9 vs. 2 Double at 2.
9 vs. 3 Double at -1
9 vs. 7 Double at 6.
10 vs. 9Double at -2.
11 vs. ADouble at 1.

Make up a set of flashcards for these variations and begin working them into your game.

Questions? E-mail me at and I'll reply personally.
The GameMaster OnLine, is the on-line gambling 'zine with attitude, a man-about-town focus and a commitment to winning, both on-line and in the casino. As the original creative director and the master strategist of the Rolling Good Times we brought you the web's first real gambling 'zine. Please stop by our web site and see how we can enhance your casino experience.

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The Basic Course:
Lesson 1
Lesson 2
Lesson 3
Lesson 4
Lesson 5
Lesson 6
Lesson 7
Lesson 8
Lesson 9
Lesson 10
Lesson 11
Lesson 12
The Advanced Course: Lesson 13
Lesson 14
Lesson 15
Lesson 16
Lesson 17
Lesson 18
Lesson 19
Lesson 20
Lesson 21
Lesson 22
Lesson 23
Lesson 24


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