16 Oct

Double Attack Blackjack Rules and Tactics

Learn how to play Double Attack Blackjack with perfect strategy to hit the casinos where it really hurts – in the wallet!

Hit the Casinos Where it Hurts: How to Play Double Attack Blackjack

All of today’s popular blackjack variants got that way for a reason. Some have the lowest house edge. Some are better for card counters. Others offer more player-centric rules to make the game more entertaining. Double Attack Blackjack falls into that last category.

The Double Attack name refers to a player’s ability to double their wager upon seeing the dealer’s face-up card. Unlike most blackjack games, the dealer’s up-card is the first to be dealt. Once it is, the player can choose to double their bet, or leave it be.

Such a rule presents an awfully advantageous scenario for players. To make up for it, other rules have been adjusted, ensuring the casino always has its edge. In this case, following basic strategy brings the edge to 0.62% (RTP 99.38%). However, the option to double your bet lowers the overall element of risk to 0.35%.

How to Play Double Attack Blackjack

The game follows the base rules of ‘Spanish 21‘, wherein all 10s are removed from each deck. Therefore, there are only 48 cards per deck. Consequently, the probability of being dealt a natural blackjack is reduced by 25%. That and a natural blackjack paying 1 to 1 makes up for the favorable double betting option.

The hand starts with each player making a wager within the table limits. Once all bets are placed, the dealer will place one card face up in front of him. This is the dealer’s up-card. At this point, all players must decide whether to “Double Attack” (double their initial bet), or leave good enough alone. After all players have decided, the rest of the cards are dealt, and the game proceeds as usual.

Specific Rules of Double Attack Blackjack

This game can be found in casinos all over North America, and is especially popular in Atlantic City. It’s also available at a number of online gambling sites. Each casino invokes its own set of rules, which may vary from one location to the next. Those detailed below are among the most common.

  • Decks: 8
  • Soft 17: Dealer Stands
  • Doubling: Yes, on any total
  • Splitting: Yes, 3x
  • Double after Split: Yes
  • Resplit Aces: No
  • Draw to Split Aces: No
  • Surrender: Yes
  • Dealer Checks for Blackjack: Yes
  • Blackjack Pays: 1 to 1

Double Attack 21 Side Bets

There is one common side bet found in Double Attack Blackjack rules. It’s called the BustIt side bet. It is based on the dealer hand busting with a 6 – 10 showing. Payouts and odds are as follows:

BustIt Side Bet – Dealer Busts With… Pays
888 Suited 200 : 1
888 Same Color 50 : 1
6 15 : 1
7 10 : 1
8 8 : 1
9 6 : 1
10 3 : 1
Anything else Lose
House Edge 8.01%

Strategy for Double Attack Blackjack

Due to the double-betting nature of this game, it will come with two strategy tables. The first details when to double attack, and the second a basic decision-making chart.

When to Double Attack

The basic rule of double attacking is to only double your bet when the dealer’s up-card is 2 thru 8. Anything else, don’t do it. By these limitations, you can expect to double your initial bet on 58.3% of all hands.

Dealer’s Face-Up Card Bet (1 or 2)
Ace 1
2 2
3 2
4 2
5 2
6 2
7 2
8 2
9 1
Face Card 1

Next up is our basic strategy detailing how to assess and react to every possible hand, based on the dealer’s up card and the hard, soft, or paired value of your own two cards.

How to Decide a Hard Hand

You have to be careful with hard hand totals. These are hands that do not contain an 11-point Ace. If the total is 12 or higher, a single hit can bust it.

Hard Total Correct Action by Situation
8 & Under Hit
9 Double against Dealer’s 6; otherwise Hit
10 Double against Dealer’s 2-8; otherwise Hit
11 Double
12-13 Hit
14 Stand against Dealer’s 4-6; otherwise Hit
15-16 Stand against Dealer’s 2-6; otherwise Hit
17 Surrender against Ace; otherwise Stand
18-21 Stand

How to Decide a Soft Hand

A soft hand total is much more flexible. It will contain an 11-point Ace, therefore cannot be busted in a single hit.

Soft Total Correct Action by Situation
13-15 Hit
16 Double on dealer’s 6, otherwise Hit
17 Double on dealer’s 4-6, otherwise Hit
18 Hit against 9-A; Double on 5-6; otherwise Stand
19-21 Stand

Conditions for Splitting Pairs

Paired hands are trickier. Use this final chart to learn how to play Double Attack Blackjack when you’re dealt any pair.

Pair Correct Action by Situation
Ace-Ace Split
2-2 Split against 3-7; otherwise Hit
3-3 Split against 3-8; otherwise Hit
4-4 Hit
5-5 Double against 2-8; otherwise Hit
6-6 Split against 4-6; otherwise Hit
7-7 Split against 2-7; otherwise Hit
8-8 Split
9-9 Split against 4-7 and 8-9; otherwise Stand
10-10 Stand

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