Blackjack Switch: Rules and Strategy
Blackjack Switch is blackjack variant game invented by Geoff Hall. Mr. Hall has also since invented another blackjack side bet game called Free Bet Blackjack. Blackjack Switch first hit casinos in the early 2000’s, starting out at it’s first casino in Iowa and then moving to Las Vegas a few years later. It is now offered at casinos around the world and at online casinos that use the Playtech casino software.
Blackjack Switch has two major differences from standard blackjack. First, players must make two equal wagers to begin play. These two equal wagers get the player two hands of blackjack. The second major difference is that because of the rules allowing players to switch cards between their two hands, potentially improving both hands, anytime the dealer finishes with a hand of 22, all bets remaining on the table push. This 22 push rule swings the house advantage back from the player to the house.
How to Play Blackjack Switch
Because Blackjack Switch is a blackjack variant and not a blackjack side bet, there is no paytable or odds for the basic game. The game is very similar to blackjack, with all players attempting to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.
The main difference from regular blackjack is that each player will be dealt two hands after placing two equal bets to start. The cards are then dealt to the players and the dealer just like regular blackjack. Then, one by one as it becomes each players turn, a player can decide to either keep the two hands just as they were dealt or to switch the second, or top card, from each hand to the other. So for example, if the player received 10-3 in the first hand and 6-K on the second hand, the player can (and should) choose to switch the 3 and the K, making the first hand 10-K for a twenty and the second hand 6-3 for a nine. Much better than the thirteen and sixteen that was originally dealt.
Strategy for Blackjack Switch is pretty difficult. As the chart below shows, there is a lot of memorization involved in playing perfect strategy. There are more simple strategies available, such as Cindy Liu’s simple switching strategy, but using an easier to follow strategy will increase the house advantage over perfect play.
The house advantage on Blackjack Switch is very similar to standard blackjack, with an even better chance of winning using perfect strategy than most blackjack games you will find. At 0.58% it’s a great option to play if you enjoy blackjack and want something different to play.
Cindy Liu’s basic switching strategy produces a house advantage of about 0.75%. This is just about equivalent to standard blackjack rules at most casinos. Instead of memorizing every possible player and dealer combination, there are 9 basic decision points based on a ranking scale of hands. This strategy is pretty easy to learn and it is recommended to at least know this strategy when playing Blackjack Switch.