Blackjack is an enthralling card game which is played all over the world. It can be found in a number of brick-and-mortar and virtual casinos. With the advancement of technologies and the Internet, various online casinos have emerged on the online gaming market. Thanks to them, you have the opportunity to enjoy classic blackjack as well as some of its most popular versions at any place and time.
Presently, there is an extremely huge diversity of blackjack variations which gives you the chance to experience the game in a whole new way. Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you wished you could exchange your cards with the player sitting next to you? If the answer is yes, you might want to consider trying one of the most innovative and interesting variations of the game – Blackjack Switch.
This version offers an extraordinary gameplay and rules which make the game even more exciting and appealing. Moreover, it has a low house edge which is another thing that attracts a great number of players.
Patented in 2009, Switch Blackjack was invented by Geoff Hall. The man came up with the idea of the game after he played blackjack and he was dealt 2 weak hands. He thought that if he could switch the top two cards, he could improve his hands. In October 2000, Hall unveiled his idea at the G2E conference in Las Vegas. In 2003, the man added the “Push on 22” rule as most of the rules were in players’ favor.
Slowly but surely, casinos started to embrace the game in an attempt to attract the attention of more blackjack enthusiasts. The first casino to offer Switch Blackjack was Harvey’s Casino in Iowa. Nowadays, the game is available in many virtual casinos powered by Playtech.
Blackjack Switch Rules
Since Blackjack Switch is a variation of blackjack, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that its basic rules are the same. In this game, your aim is to form a stronger hand than the dealer’s one without exceeding twenty-one. In general, the higher the total value of your hand is, the better your chances of winning are. However, if you surpass twenty-one, you lose automatically and this outcome is known among blackjack players as busting.
The way in which the cards in the deck are valued is also no different – the ace can be counted as either eleven or one and all face cards are counted as ten. The value of the rest of the cards in the deck coincides with the number written on each of them.
What sets this variation apart from the classic game and the rest of the variations is the fact that you have two separate hands whose cards can be exchanged. If you make such a move while you are playing the standard game, it would be considered unfair and you would be most likely immediately excluded from the casino. This unique variation gives you the chance to experience your favorite casino game in a completely different way thanks to the interesting rules it offers.
The fact that you are able to switch the top cards of the two hands you are dealt with gives you the opportunity to improve them much easier. Another major difference this version has is the payout for blackjack as for this winning combination you will get paid even money, instead of the standard payout of 3:2.
In this variation, you can place an insurance bet which pays out 2:1, providing that the dealer’s up card is an ace. Also, if the dealer has a total of twenty-two, the result is a push, unless you have a natural blackjack. Unfortunately, this rule doesn’t apply to you because if you form a hand whose total is twenty-two, then you automatically go bust. It is exclusive to this version and it works entirely in favor of the casino.
The dealer is enforced by the rules to hit on soft 17 and also to peek for blackjack as this variation is a hole card game. The dealer will check for blackjack whenever their up card is an ace or a ten. Doubling down after splitting is permitted and you can perform this move on any two initial cards. Also, you are allowed to re-split up to four hands but this rule can vary depending on the casino.
Blackjack Switch Gameplay
At the beginning of the game, you are required to place two initial bets whose amount is the same. Once you are ready with your wagers, you will be dealt two face-up cards for every hand which will be placed in the designated area on the table. The dealer receives one face-up card and one card which is not visible to the players on the table.
At this point, you have the chance to switch any of your top cards between your hands in order to form a better total. For instance, if one of your hands consists of a two and an eight and in your other hand you have an ace and a four, you can swap the eight with the four. This way you will form a strong hand whose total is nineteen (an ace and an eight). After you have made up your mind whether to switch any cards, you are required to choose one of the available moves which every blackjack game has – hitting, standing, doubling down, or splitting if you have a pair.
The Side Bet Super Match
Another reason why Blackjack Switch is one of the most entertaining variations of blackjack is that it offers players the opportunity to take advantage of Super Match. It is a side bet which makes the game even more exciting and interesting. As its name hints, this bet wins when you have at least one matching pair in your hands. Should you decide to give it a try, you are required to put this wager at the beginning of the game before the dealing of the cards.
- If you have 2 cards of the same rank, you will receive a payout of 1:1
- Provided that you happen to have 3 cards of the same rank on the initial deal, then you will boost your bankroll with a payout of 5:1
- For two pairs, the payout is 8:1
- Assuming that you are dealt 4 cards of the same rank, you will receive a payout of 40:1
The payouts for the side bets may vary, depending on the casino and the decks in use. It should be noted that even though the payouts look quite tempting, most side bets work in favor of the casino and they are not beneficial for players. It is calculated that the Super Match increases the house edge to 2.55%. On the other hand, the house edge during the base game in Switch Blackjack that uses six decks, the dealer hits on soft 17, a switched blackjack counts as 21, and the player applies a basic strategy, is 0.58%.
Playing Strategy for Switch Blackjack
Blackjack fans know that they can reduce the house edge of the game by applying basic strategy. However, the basic strategy is not static – it changes with the different variations of the game. When it comes to Switch Blackjack, you will first have to determine whether to switch the top cards of their hands or not. In certain situations, the answer is quite logical as after all, your goal is to improve your hand so that it is stronger than the dealer’s upcard.
For instance, if you hold 10-2 and 3-King, it is obvious that you have to swap the top cards to form a strong hand consisting of a 10 and a King. However, things are not always simple. At some point, you will need a strategy to determine the best option for you. To do so, you first have to determine whether the dealer is in a strong position. Usually, if their up card is 7, 8, 9, 10, or an ace, then the dealer is said to be in a favorable position. On the other hand, if the exposed card is 3 through 6, the dealer is in a weak position.
As you might have noticed, we did not mention anything about the 2-valued cards. That is because of the special “Push on 22” rule. It is assumed that the chance of the dealer to go bust is low provided that the up card is 2. Now, we would like to briefly discuss one of the most popular switching strategies.
The first one is proposed by Cindy Liu and it takes into account the strength of the player’s hands. He ranks the players’ hands according to their strength as follows: 21, 20, 19, A-A, 11, 10, 9, 18 or 8, and 8-8. According to this strategy, players have to improve the weaker hand to any of the aforementioned hands providing that the dealer shows 7 or 8. If the dealer’s up card is different from 7 or 8, then blackjack fans are advised to try to improve the stronger hand and form any of the hands listed above if possible. If that is not possible, then players have to aim at improving the stronger hand and create one of the following hands: 7 or 17, hands that should be split, any 12 or 13.
It is worth noting that blackjack fans should always keep aces together when their other hand is composed of 3-8 or 2-8, or when the dealer shows 2 through 6.
Blackjack Switch is one of the most challenging and entertaining variations which is played by hundreds of players worldwide. Its rules are very straightforward and easy to learn which makes it perfect for all types of players. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting versions due to its many extraordinary features.
In this version, you play with two hands and you have the opportunity to switch cards between them which significantly increases your chances of forming a winning hand. Even though it also has some additional rules which work entirely in favor of the casinos, Blackjack Switch is among the versions with the lowest house edge.