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Blackjack Switch

Blackjack Switch is one of the most popular blackjack variants in land-based and online casinos around the world. It’s also one of the most recent variations of blackjack to appear in casinos.

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The variant was invented by card counter Geoff Hall, who was frustrated with the idea of not being able to switch cards between two hands.

In Hall’s opinion, this really ruined the game, so he decided to showcase his idea at the G2E conference in Vegas in 2000 and players were very interested in it. After being installed in Harvey’s Casino in Iowa in 2001, Blackjack Switch became a huge hit.

blackjack switch online
Blackjack Switch is available online

Due to the surge in popularity, Hall thought of new ways to make it more interesting. He modified the game with the ‘Push on 22’ rule in 2003, which led to it being accepted in many land-based casinos. Since then, online casinos started adding Blackjack Switch to their libraries and it can now be played in most Playtech casinos.

The Rules of Blackjack Switch

As the name suggests, Blackjack Switch allows players to switch one card from the two hands they’re being dealt. This turns the odds in the player’s favor, which is why the variant pays 1:1 for a natural instead of the usual 3:2. Unless a player has a natural, a dealer’s hard 22 will push all hands at the table. Blackjack Switch is played with 4, 6 or 8 standard 52-card decks. It uses a similar table layout as standard blackjack, with the exception of two player boxes instead of one.

This means that the player is dealt two hands initially and can switch one card between them in order to form better hands. Of course, this also means that players need to place two equal-sized bets, but they can play both hands separately. During the play, each hand can be split or doubled individually, and they are both resolved independently as well.

After the dealer deals the cards, he asks the players if they want to switch their top cards, then proceeds to offer players the chance to hit, stand or double for each hand (right to left).

According to standard blackjack rules which the variation is based on, a hand that exceeds 21 results in a bust. When this happens, the wager is acquired by the house and the cards are removed from play. With Blackjack Switch, however, the player may still have one hand left in play.

After all players have been consulted, the dealer plays his hand, but this time, a 22 doesn’t result in a bust. A dealer’s hard 22 results in a push against all hands at the table except in the case of a player acquiring a natural without switching cards.

Small variations regarding the dealer’s hand vary from one casino to another – some allow the dealer to hit on a soft 17, while others require him to stand. Also, casinos might offer players insurance of even money bets and may also allow them to double after a split.

Strategie

After the switch has been made, players can apply many strategies in order to raise their chances of winning. Although blackjack strategies can be quite complex, there are a few simple ‘rules’ you should follow when playing Blackjack Switch.

First, when the dealer has a 7 or 8, you need to adjust and balance your hands. If the dealer has anything other than 7 or 8, make one of your hands is as strong as possible and leave it to Lady Luck for the other. Most of the times when playing this blackjack variant, you’ll win with one hand and lose with the other. Due to the dealer’s hard 22 push rule, ties are likely to happen quite often, which means you get to stay in the game for much longer than traditional blackjack.

In this case, your bankroll will allow you to stay in the game for a long time, which is why Blackjack Switch is one of the most exciting blackjack variants.

The Switch Decision

When it comes to the switch decision, most players will say that the best strategy is to preserve the best hand. However, many pros have debated this decision. For example, it might be better to break up a natural by switching if the dealer has 7, 8 or 9.

Many strategies and schemes have been developed by professional blackjack players such as Arnold Snyder who uses a protocol to divide the switching decisions by the 4 categories of hands (push, winner, lose, chance) and claims that his theory reduces the house edge significantly. Cindy Liu’s simple switching strategy uses a point value to determine the winning chances of the hands dealt and those created by switching.

Blackjack Switch Odds

Although it may seem like Blackjack Switch gives players great chances of winning (and the house edge is indeed reduced), don’t think for a second that casinos haven’t implemented rules that will sway the odds in their favor. This is why a natural pays out at 1:1 instead of 3:2, which is quite a significant difference.

Another rule that swings the odds in the casino’s favor is the dealer’s push to 22. Still, Blackjack Switch has a house edge of roughly around 0.5%, which means it’s pretty attractive from a player’s perspective. If we had to pick one blackjack variant in an online casino, we’d go for Blackjack Switch for many reasons.

Side Bets

Although there aren’t that many side bets in Blackjack Switch as in traditional blackjack, you can still take a gamble on a few. Super Match is by far the most popular side bet in this blackjack variant. It offers a payout of 1:1, for a pair, 8:1 for 2 pairs, 5:1 for three of a kind, and 40:1 for four of a kind. This side bet neutralizes the negative effect on players who have identical top and bottom cards which makes the switching decision pretty hard.

However, like all side bets in the game of blackjack, Super Match drastically increases the house edge, which is why you should avoid it.

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