Double Attack Blackjack Strategy Guide
Double Attack Blackjack is found at Playtech-powered online casinos and from some other software providers. It stands out for giving players a chance to double their bets after seeing the dealer’s up card but before receiving any cards of their own, which adds a new layer to the strategies needed to perform well.
Introduction to Double Attack Blackjack
A lot of different ideas, side bets and gimmicks have been added to blackjack games over the years to try to make them stand out from the other titles in the genre. Double Attack Blackjack has a couple of things that make it stand out along these lines, and they affect the involved strategies quite a bit.
As a result, if you jump into this game and try to play a more typical strategy geared towards standard multi-deck games, then you’re going to have a really bad time.
For players who like games with some variety in the strategies that you need to learn, the Double Attack Blackjack tables are a good place to be. However, be warned that if you do not study this game in particular to learn what sets it apart from other similar games, then you’ll end up with a very high house edge.
House Advantage and Payout Rates
You may find some variation in the rules between different software companies, but the Playtech version of this game allows for payout rates as high as 99.38 percent for a house edge of just 0.62 percent. This is pretty low, especially considering that the strategies for this game aren’t all that complicated compared to other styles of blackjack with a similar payout rate.
It’s worth noting that this game sometimes gets a better set of terms and conditions for deposit bonuses than other styles of blackjack depending on where you play, so it can be useful to know how to play it well for those reasons as well.
Important Rules for Double Attack Blackjack
First and foremost, there’s a rule in this game that is not found anywhere else:
The dealer’s up card is the very first card that you will see dealt. Once it’s dealt, you have the opportunity to “raise” by doubling the size of your starting wager. This is before you see any of your own cards.
That aside, there are some other rules that are really important to know in terms of being able to play as well as possible in this game:
- The 48-card Spanish deck is used (like a standard 52-card French deck but without the “10s” included.
- The dealer stands on a soft 17.
- The dealer does peek for blackjack on both a 10 or an ace.
- You can re-split up to four hands, but split aces only receive one card each.
- Doubling after splitting is allowed.
- Surrendering after splitting or doubling is allowed.
- Blackjack only pays out 1:1.
The adjustments that you need to make to the usual strategies for this game actually make it easier to learn how to play. However, you’ll have to fight against your tendency to go on “auto-pilot” in Double Attack Blackjack, which will have you make some pretty significant mistakes if you’re not careful.
Strategies for Double Attack Blackjack
We’re going to break the strategies for this game up into parts that we think make sense for players who want to study it and learn how to play as perfectly as they can.
You should learn how to play the raising option first since you have to deal with it in every hand. From there, learn the hard hands first followed by how to play soft hands, and worry about knowing when to split paired hands last since they’re the situation that you run into the least often, and they have the smallest effect on your bottom line in the long run.
Knowing When to Raise
The decision of when to raise is based completely and totally on the value of the dealer’s up card. Thankfully, it’s a really easy decision to learn how to make perfectly since it’s only based on a single piece of information:
- 2-8 – Always raise
- 9-A – Never raise
One interesting part of this game is that you’ll actually be raising a little more than 50 percent of the time, and that means that your starting bet size should be a little smaller than you’d normally make it since you’ll effectively be playing for higher stakes on average thanks to the raising option.
Playing Hard Hands
The use of the Spanish deck actually makes things really simple for playing most hard hands since there are fewer nuances. For totals of 11 and lower, the decision is whether you should double or just hit, and you can play perfectly with the following guidelines:
- 4-8 – Never double
- 9 – Double vs. 6
- 10 – Double vs. 2-8
- 11 – Always double
For totals of 12-16, you’re put to the question of if you should hit or stand. We’ll approach this by showing you when to stand so that you’ll hit otherwise:
- 12-13 – Never stand
- 14 – Stand vs. 4-6
- 15-16 – Stand vs. 2-6
For a total of 17, you’ll always stand unless you’re up against an ace, in which case you should surrender. Otherwise, all hard totals of 18 and up should always stand.
These are some pretty easy guidelines to learn considering they’ll teach you how to play more than 50 percent of the hands you’ll see in this game completely perfectly 100 percent of the time.
Playing Soft Hands
There’s not really much to playing soft hands either. There are really only three totals that have non-obvious options, and including all of the totals before and after those three, there are really only five cases. Those cases are as follows:
- 13-15 – Always hit
- 16 – Double vs. 6, otherwise hit
- 17 – Double vs. 4-6, otherwise hit
- 18 – Double vs. 5-6, hit vs. 9-A, otherwise stand
- 19-21 – Always stand
As is the case in many styles of blackjack, playing a soft 18 is generally the most complicated situation that you’ll run to in the entire game. With that having been said, the other soft totals are pretty easy to play in Double Attack Blackjack, but you have to remember not to get too aggressive with doubling with the lower totals because of the effects of the 48-card Spanish deck.
There’s only one question that you need to answer when you’re playing a paired hand: Should I split these cards? If the answer to that question is “No,” then you play it like you would a typical hard hand.
In what follows, we’ll break down when you should split with paired hands. We recommend waiting to learn this set of information last because it effects the fewest number of situations that you will run into, and you should definitely learn the hard and soft situations first.
With that said, here’s how it breaks down:
- 22 – Split vs. 3-7
- 33 – Split vs. 3-8
- 44-55, TT – Never split
- 66 – Split vs. 4-6
- 77 – Split vs. 2-7
- 88, AA – Always split
- 99 – Split vs. 4-6, 8-9
While the rest of the strategies are generally easier to learn than what’s comparable from other blackjack games, knowing when to split is probably a little more difficult than average for Double Attack Blackjack.
Double Attack Blackjack strategy isn’t as complicated in most situations as what you find with other blackjack titles. However, there’s a major trap that can happen if you try to apply what you know intuitively from other games to this one, and the casinos actually rely on this to give them a better payout from the average player than what you’d expected based on the potentially super-low house edge acquired from near-perfectly play.