Doubling Down

Double-down situations were covered in the sections on hard totals and soft totals, but just to put it into one place, let's review when to double down:

- Double on 11 against any dealer's up-card except an Ace.
- Double on 10 against any dealer's up-card except 10 or Ace.
- Double on 9 when the dealer shows 3, 4, 5, or 6.
- Double on soft 13 or soft 14 when the dealer shows 5 or 6.
- Double on soft 15 or 16 when the dealer shows 4, 5, or 6.
- Double on soft 17 or soft 18 when the dealer shows 3, 4, 5, or 6.

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Free Cards
Beyond pure economics, this play has value from its inherent deception. But the free card tactic carries risk. If the opening bettor has a particularly strong hand, he might re-raise you on the flop. Or if the turn card really helps him or another player, one of them could open, which would negate your ability to see the river for free. By raising on the flop with your draw, you are taking a chance that neither of these will happen.

Also, keep in mind that the free card play is well known by players of even modest experience. In casino poker rooms, the tactic is so common that a Hold'em player who muses in late position when there are two suited cards on the board is effectively representing a flush draw. At your average home game, however, among opponents who are good enough to understand basic strategy but still not very sophisticated, the free card tactic will be perceived as nothing short of wizardry.
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