Double or Nothing Bets – How Do They Work?

Many adventurous consequences are a product of our gambling with possibilities in our life. Many of us have bet on something, then lost, and in desperate need to win money back, considered double or nothing action. The double or nothing bets result in a lost bet or debt getting doubled or cancelled.

Sometimes when we lose a huge amount of money while gambling, it seems like only this strategy could help us. So, we need to learn how and when to use it wisely. Buckle up and learn how to retrieve your lost money if you didn’t win your first bet with a friend on your favourite football team.

Double or Nothing Definition

People always find a way to win or hack every casino game, and casinos always make them think they can do it. They’re re-making the rules, games, machines, even the tactics on how you can put bets differently on a single game. 

Double or nothing meaning is simple. It is practically a gamble to decide whether the gamblers will double their winnings or lose all of the initial money.

Double or nothing (UK double or quits), Double Through, Fifty50 are just some of the gambling tactic names widely practised in almost any kind of gambling, such as dice games, games of chance, etc. For many games, they have their variabilities of usage and even their own names.

Double or nothing highlights the chance of a risky bet, which outcome mathematically is 50/50. It’s risky because every bet could leave you with the “nothing” part!

If you decide to gamble your money the old-fashioned way, you will obviously have a higher chance to win than while gambling double or nothing. However, gambling isn’t always rational, as winning is not as important as how big you win.

The psychology behind this tactic is so well known that even some fast-food chains are using it to make a profit. The restaurants offer you double or even triple portions. If you eat everything, they`ll cover the price; if not, you will still have to pay for it. Moreover, you can use it on slot machines, roulette, sports betting, horse betting, etc.

Is It a Valuable Strategy?

If you’re a beginner and don’t have any experience in gambling, this strategy is a good place to start. As we said earlier, the chances for you to win playing double or nothing are bigger than playing the usual dice or card game. Moreover, if you want to double your money, it is a better way than slots because here, the chances to win are 50/50, but the risk you are taking is double.

So, how does double or nothing work? Even though it’s a dangerous tactic, you should know the details as it may actually help you unless you are not a passionate gambler who would rather just take the money and go home. 

Let’s say you have a spare $30, which you want to gamble with double or nothing. Your chances are you get $60 or lose everything. We understand that it is too risky. But there are also games where you can play double or nothing many times and increase your $60. Imagine, after a third-time win, you could have $120. So, is double or nothing worth it? Yes, if you stop when it’s the right time and chances for that are 50/50.

On the other hand, this strategy is really dangerous and can be devastating for your bankroll and also for your brain. When we make stressful decisions, our cortisol and adrenaline levels rise, waking up our reward system, which after many double or nothing bets, will certainly get addicted. 

To expect better odds to win with this strategy is absurd, but it happens to many people. Your chances of winning are not bigger just because you won or lost three times in a row, but some might believe so.

The incorrect belief that the particular event that happened many times in the past will less likely occur again is called a gambler’s fallacy. It is so important for you to remember that there is a 50% risk to lose and 50% odds to win, using double or nothing, and no matter what, that will not change.

Games Where It Is Possible


It is not an online gambling game, but it’s worth mentioning since it`s engraved in pop culture, as many movies and TV shows feature a double or nothing bet in a billiard game. It’s almost like a precursor for this kind of betting. 

Let’s demonstrate an example of a double or nothing wager in billiards. When a player is losing, he can ask for a “second chance” to win by wagering the entire balance owed. If the leading player wins again, the entire balance will get doubled, but if the player who is behind wins, they will break even.


There are three double or nothing roulette strategies. They have one thing in common: they are your only 50:50 chance to win, but they are also the riskiest ones. Plus, you get 48.65% of the odds if you gamble in European roulette and 47.37% in American roulette. 

However, note that there also is the highest house edge of 5.26% in American roulette and 2.7% in the European one, meaning if you win, the house grabs a part, which is not good in the long run.

Your three ways on even-money payoffs are red or black; odd (1,3,5) or even (2,4,6); and high (19-36) or low (1-18). Let’s explain these strategies as 50/50 odds to win. For example, you can place your bet on red or black, and if the ball lands on a wagered colour number, your bet will double up. Otherwise, you’ll lose the wagered money. 

However, don’t let the gambler’s fallacy blur your mind. You don’t necessarily need to make the same bet each time, as there are many possibilities of even/odd, high/low, and red/black outcomes. 


In craps, you get all or nothing by placing “Pass Line” or “Don’t Pass Line.” 

The “Pass Line” is the primary bet in the game where you are betting with the dice. So, you are betting that the first rollout will give either number 7 or 11. If that’s the case, you double your money. However, if a 2, 3, or 12 appear, you will lose it all. Another bet with the same effect is “Come,” which is placed after the point is established.

The “Don’t Pass” (or “Don’t Come,” if in the middle of a game) is quite the opposite. Here, you bet against the dice that the rollout will give the numbers 2, 3, or 12. Many gamblers don’t use this bet because it is considered “bad gambling” in Craps. 

If you use two dice, you can roll out 11 different numbers with 36 possible combinations. Let’s look at the 11 totals and their number of possible dice combinations in the following table:

Number Number of possible combinations
2 1
3 2
4 3
5 4
6 5
7 6
8 5
9 4
10 3
11 2
12 1

The odds to win with Pass/Don’t Pass and Come/Don’t Come are around 49.3%. Regarding the house edge, it is 1.41% for the Pass bet and 1.36% for the Don’t Pass bet. 


This old card game is the smartest “double or nothing” play. It has the biggest win probability, but only if we consider the ties as a win. The chances of tie occurrence are 9.53%, and the payoff is 8 to 1. 

This is a simple bet game that is the polar opposite of Blackjack. You can put your money on a “player” or “banker.” The odds of winning against a banker are 50.7%. While for the player bet, they are 49.3%. Moreover, the house edge is amazingly low: it’s 1.24% on the player and 1.06% on the banker. 

If we compare the odds, Baccarat is close to Creeps and way better than Blackjack for playing the Fifty50 strategy. Again, the probability of winning with this strategy is as secure as it is risky. So no matter the game, you can burn out your bankroll easily and end up on the “nothing” side.


Besides the low house edge of 0.5%, this game is not the best one for using the double or nothing strategy. Your win probability is only 42.43% without mentioning the ties, which happens over 8% of the time.

By now, you should have figured that the double or nothing technique is not good for the long term. Everything can happen in a single Blackjack hand, and only tactful gamblers armoured with money and knowledge can win.

When you put your whole bankroll in a single hand, you can`t even think about doubling down or splitting. To do that, you must match your previous stake with a second stack or chips of equal value. As a result, a double or nothing play will leave you without enough chips to fire up the second hand. According to statistics, 53% of players who double up walk away with nothing. 

Dice Games

There is a simple rule applied in dice games regarding the double or nothing tactic. When winning a game, players have the option to increase their winnings with the double bet. The player and the dealer roll a set of dice. If the player’s dice show a higher number than the dealer’s, the original win is doubled, but if the dealer’s number is higher, then you need to double the bet amount to proceed with the rolls.

This tactic is very popular in online crypto gambling and sports betting websites. Crypto gambling dice games have the same strategies as traditional games. The primary focus is on the selection and how many stakes per bet are made. 

This online gambling gains popularity because it has many ways to double down your win. One can double down the wager while losing and also when winning. Moreover, it’s possible to increase the bet whenever there is a consecutive roll and stop increasing it when it has won three times in a row. There are many possibilities, and with a house edge of 1%, this might be the future of gambling.

Double or Nothing Poker Tournaments

Double or nothing poker tournaments are a perfect way to double up your win. Even though the game seems deceptively simple, it contains some different strategies than other forms of poker. The tables are made up of 8 to 10 players, but only half of the players can double their win, so there’s not really a difference whether you finish the fifth or the first.

Timing is everything here; players should play tight and aim to finish in the top half. The players should be witty, and instead of competing for the biggest stack, their primary goal should be to steal blinds from players who are desperate to survive or fold. 

The cons of these tournaments are that the variance is a bit higher than usual. This is because of the increase in all-in actions that happens on the bubble. However, players’ wins will be small and slow, and the best result will double the initial buy-in over 100 times.

The variance can be cushioned if you have one of the most important poker skills, bankroll management. This is the only controllable aspect in these poker tournaments and one of the must-learns for a poker player. For being successful at poker, the players must let their bankroll dictate their playing limit.

Final Thoughts

Even though the double or nothing bets are highly risky and unsuitable for non-adventurous people, we advise you to use them only in the short term. For example, if you want to double the amount you have. However, be cautious because this strategy is dangerous in the long run, and it can easily burn out your bankroll. 

In the end, everyone goes to casinos or gamble online to have a good time. Why not embrace it instead of double and lose this chance?


Where is a “Double or nothing” applied?

The double or nothing bets are widely used. You can apply this strategy to almost every gambling game, such as Slots, Craps, Roulette, Billiard, Blackjack, Baccarat, Poker, Dice Games, and Crypto Gambling. 

What can be compared with “Double or nothing”?

Many strategies, which work the same way as double or nothing, have their own names and variations. Some of them include: banker bet, player bet, pass/don’t pass line bet, red/black bet, even/odd bet, high/low bet, etc. 

What happens in a “double or nothing” bet when the outcome of the game is a tie?

If the outcome of the game is a tie, the player is still at a loss. It is as if the bet never happened in the first place, and it is up to the player to make the same bet again in order to cover for his loss. Also, there is always the option to fold or choose not to back up the bet, which also leads to a loss. 

What is the difference between “Double or nothing” in a casino, poker, and a bookmaker agency?

You can see the differences on how double or nothing is practised in:

  • Casino: you need to win a bet to double your win.
  • Poker: be the top half of the players to double your winnings (Double or Nothing Poker Tournaments).
  • Bookmaker betting: you can double or nothing your money right away, and your bet is calculated by the bookmakers.

Is double or nothing a form of Martingale betting system?

Since the Martingale betting system has the player double the bet after every loss, we can surely say that the double or nothing strategy is a form of this system. 

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