Blackjack Switch: A Fresh Twist on a Classic Game
Blackjack Switch offers a unique spin on traditional blackjack, inviting players in 2024 to double their chances and decisions. Whether online or at land-based casinos, this variation adds strategic depth to the classic blackjack experience.
Blackjack Switch is a casino table game and a variation of traditional blackjack. You can play Blackjack Switch online in 2024 as well as in land-based casinos.
This post describes and explains Blackjack Switch, offering rules for how to play as well as basic strategy advice for the game.
Blackjack Switch Rules
Blackjack Switch is based on the traditional rules of blackjack.
The game is only available in a six- or eight-deck format.
You can find Blackjack Switch in all typical blackjack denominations, from low stakes to high-limit blackjack. That means you can play from between $5 and many thousands of dollars per hand.
For those who prefer the convenience of home or are looking for practice before hitting the casino floors, slotsguy.com offers a plethora of online blackjack games, including Blackjack Switch. It’s an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the game’s unique mechanics without the pressure of a live setting.
- Unique Mechanics: Players can switch cards between two hands, aiming for optimal combinations.
- Favorable Rules: With rules like dealer stands on soft 17 and blackjack paying 3 to 2, strategic play is rewarded.
- Watch for High House Edge Side Bets: While enticing, side bets like Super Match often carry higher house edges than the main game.
- Strategic Play Required: Employing basic blackjack and specific Blackjack Switch strategies is crucial for minimizing the house edge.
What is Blackjack Switch and how do you play it?
Blackjack Switch is a variation of traditional blackjack where players are dealt two hands and can switch the second cards of each hand to improve their chances of winning. The game is played under specific rules that slightly adjust the standard blackjack strategy, making it essential for players to adapt for optimal play.
Some other important rules before a description of how to play:
- all cards are dealt face-up
- the dealer usually hits a soft 17 (in some games the dealer stands on a soft 17)
- the player can double on any 2 cards and after a split
- the player can resplit up to four hands
- player blackjacks pay even money
- dealer totals of 22 push against any player total of 21 or less (except for a player natural)
That last rule is a big one. The house gives you the right to improve your two hands by swapping cards. To defend themselves against this, the dealer can raise up to 22 and still push against anything but a player natural.
This is by far the biggest advantage to the house in the rules of Blackjack Switch.
How much does that rule shift the game in favor of the house?
If the dealer in a standard Vegas rules game of blackjack were allowed to push on 22, the house edge against optimal strategy would go from 0.5% to 7.41%.
That tells you how much the player’s ability to swap cards can help – if used properly.
How to Play Blackjack Switch
Play starts with each player making two bets of equal size.
The dealer peeks for blackjack if their upcard is an ace or ten. If the dealer finds a blackjack, all players immediately lose. The only exception is that a player blackjack hand will push.
After the dealer peeks, and if no blackjack is found, the “switch” part of the game begins.
Players can switch their second cards between their two hands. If you’re holding an 8 and 10 in one hand and a 10 and 3 in the other, you could switch the 10 and the 3 so you’d have one hand of 11 and one of 20.
Play continues as in regular blackjack.
Why Would I Want to Switch Cards?
The game Blackjack Switch wouldn’t exist without the switch mechanic.
The purpose of the switch for the player is to form at least one better hand by swapping cards between their two hands.
I’m pretty sure the purpose for the house is to increase the average bet at the table since players have to bet twice to play. There’s also the fact that a dealer 22 is push against almost every player hand. The addition of a side bet makes the game even better for the casino relative to a standard blackjack game.
The origin story of the game goes like this:
Geoff Hall, a famous card game designer, was in Vegas playing two hands of blackjack at the same time. He was dealt a hard 14 and a hard 16. In short, he was in a bad spot.
He thought to himself how much better he’d do if he could swap his cards to form a hand of 10 and a hand of 20. An idea for a game was born.
His game debuted in 2001 in the Midwest before being taken up by Vegas in late 2003. You can now find Blackjack Switch all over the world.
Blackjack Switch House Edge
In games where the dealer stands on a soft 17, following the other rules as described above, the house edge is 0.55%. That’s for a six-deck game against optimal player strategy. An eight-deck game under the same conditions gives the house a 0.57% edge.
In games where the dealer hits a soft 17, the house edge is 0.58% in a six-deck game against optimal player strategy. An eight-deck game under the same conditions gives the house a 0.6% edge.
You should always go for a six-deck game, even if the dealer hits a soft 17. The best eight-deck game, in which the dealer stands on a soft 17, is just about the same in terms of odds.
Super Match (Blackjack Switch Side Bet)
In most versions of Blackjack Switch, a side bet called Super Match is available. This bet pays out based on your initial four card hand.
Here’s a standard pay table for the Super Match bet on Blackjack Switch:
- 4 of a kind pays 40:1
- 2 pair pays 8:1
- 3 of a kind pays 5:1
- pair pays 1:1
The house edge on this bet is 2.55%. That’s not bad for a table game side bet. It’s still about five times longer than the house’s edge in the main game against optimal strategy.
You’ll only hit that 40:1 payout about 0.03% of all blackjack hands you play. That’s about 1 in every 3,300 hands. At 40 hands an hour, you’ll need to play Blackjack Switch and place the side bet for about 40 two-hour gambling sessions before you see a 4 of a kind on the deal.
On the other hand, you’ll see an 8-credit payout for a two pair deal about 1.5% of the time. That means an 8-credit payout every 66 hands. You should see at least one in a two-hour session. You could see one or two more during that time, depending on the luck of the draw.
You’ll see lots of 1-credit payouts on that Super Match bet in a two-hour Blackjack Switch session. Mathematically, you’ll see a pair on the four-card draw about 35% of the time. That means about 28 1-credit wins per session.
Because there’s no skill involved, and because the house edge is many times higher than its advantage in the base game, I advise people not to place the Super Match bet. The only exception would be for people who understand the risk but just genuinely enjoy placing the side wager.
Basic Blackjack Switch Strategy
Players should follow basic blackjack strategy. You can find this online for free with a quick Google. You can also buy basic strategy cards and charts and such.
The strategy unique to Blackjack Switch involves knowing when you should switch cards.
Do a little digging online and you’ll find what’s called the Cindy Liu Simple Switching Strategy.
This strategy is valid against standard Las Vegas rules, meaning a six-deck game where the dealer always hits a soft 17.
To use this strategy, you have to memorize the list of hands in order of strength:
1 – a hand totaling 21
2 – a hand totaling 20
3 – a hand totaling 19
4 – a hand totaling AA
5 – a hand totaling 11
6 – a hand totaling 10
7 – a hand totaling 9
8 – a hand totaling 18 or 8
9 – a hand of 8/8 with a 2-8 up
Against a dealer 7 or 8, you need to balance your two hands, making your weakest hand as strong as it can get based on the scale above.
Against any other dealer up card, increase the strength of your strongest hand based on the scale above.
If you can’t form one of the 9 hands on the above list, make one strong hand based on the list below:
1 – a hand totaling 7 or 17
2 – a hand that can be split
3 – a hand totaling 12
4 – a hand totaling 13
Exceptions to this rule:
- If you have A/A in one hand and 3/8 in the other, keep your aces together.
- If you have A/A in one hand and 2/9 in the other, keep your aces together against a dealer 2-6.
- If you have A/A in one hand and 2/8 in the other, keep your aces together.
If you follow this strategy for all your switching decisions, you’ll reduce your switching error rate to 0.17%. That’s one switching error on every 18 hands or so, or about two per hour of blackjack play.
Playing Blackjack Switch online in 2024 is identical to playing in a casino. You can find Blackjack Switch at most online and land-based casinos in America.
Played according to optimal strategy in a six-deck game, the house edge is nearly identical to standard blackjack so long as you avoid the Super Match side bet.
There’s no real advantage to playing Blackjack Switch over traditional blackjack unless you get more entertainment out of the switch mechanic and it’s worth the slightly longer odds to you.
I consulted this page when putting this post together.