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.
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.