How to Play Blackjack Switch

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· 20 May 2022

Classic blackjack is one of the most popular casino games. It is no surprise that people created slight variations to the original game to make it more interesting for repeat playthroughs. One of them is blackjack Switch, conceived by a professional gambler for gamblers. 

What is Blackjack Switch?

The game is a variation of classical blackjack played with two hands where you can switch the top card between your decks. Each hand has its betting pool, and it can be split to create four hands. The drawback is that the house pushes at 22 and pays even money (1/1) instead of 3/2, typically found in blackjack.

History of the Blackjack Switch Game

The game was created by the famous card counter Geoff Hall. Having taught mathematics for five years, he eventually stopped teaching and moved on to try his luck in sales. He left that to go back to teaching part-time and gambling to top off his earnings.

His love and understanding of mathematics and statistics allowed him to grasp Blackjack quickly. A friend lent him a book to better understand the game and work out how to manipulate the odds in his favor.

Hall quickly developed card counting, shuffle tracking, ace hunting, and other advanced skills, leading to bans in casinos across the United Kingdom. He later started playing and participating in Kalooki tournaments before moving to poker.

The idea for blackjack Switch came during one of his blackjack games where he split his hand and got two sets which could be drastically improved if he could switch the top cards. He continued playing with that idea, and in October of 2000, he showcased his new game at the G2E conference in Las Vegas. In February 2001, his blackjack Switch was installed in Harvey’s Casino in Iowa.

Two years later, he revised his game and added his trademarked push 22 rule. The same year the game had its debut in Las Vegas at Four Queens Casino. From there, it spread to all corners of America.

It became famous enough to come into the sights of online casino game makers Playtech. They approached Hall for permission to create a blackjack Switch online variant, and history was about to be made.

The game was officially patented in 2009. Hall also created other successful games:  Free Bet Blackjack, Zombie Blackjack, and Zappit Blackjack.

Blackjack Switch Rules

We’ll cover only important rules since blackjack and blackjack Switch rules are similar.

  • Played with four to eight decks.
  • The dealer usually hits on soft 17.
  • The player must make two equal-sized bets.
  • All cards are dealt face up.
  • The player is dealt two separate hands.
  • The player can switch the top cards (the second card dealt) between two hands.
  • A dealer pushes on 22 against all players with a score of 21 or less unless the players have a natural 21 (without switching) on one of their card pairs.
  • The player can double on any two cards.
  • The player can double after a split.
  • The player can re-split three times up to a maximum of four hands.
  • Winning gives even money instead of 3 to 2 found in regular blackjack.

How to Play Blackjack Switch?

As you can see by the rules section, the basic game is similar to Blackjack, with a couple of significant differences. The first is that instead of one hand and a betting area, you have two by default. You are allowed to switch the top card between your two hands, but you can only do it before doing anything else.

Another special rule of blackjack Switch is that the dealer pushes all players who don’t hold a natural 21 by getting a total score of 22. The dealer will hit on soft 17, but some casinos play the Russian variant where the dealer will stand instead. Check the rules of the table before playing.

This blackjack variant is played with up to eight decks, and there is an online variant with six. Unfortunately for fans of Mr. Hall, the online decks are shuffled after each round making them impossible to count.

You can re-split your hand up to three times for a maximum of four hands, but bear in mind that many casinos don’t allow for the splitting of aces. After splitting, you are allowed to double down.

Like in regular blackjack, the peek rule applies, and the dealer will check if their starting card is a ten or an ace. The dealer will offer insurance to the players with odds of 2 to 1, but the exact amount may vary from casino to casino. Finally, a regular blackjack payout is 3 to 2, but in a blackjack Switch game, players get back even money.

Side Bets

Aside from standard Blackjack side bets, the game of blackjack Switch offers four more that are called ​​Super Match side bets.

These bets are placed before any other cards are dealt and settled immediately before any moves or switches are made. To participate, players need to put a chip in the betting circle between the two main betting areas.

The four initial cards determine if you won the bet or not. You are betting if you’ll get a par, three of a kind, two pairs, or four of a kind. A single pair of any matching card offers even money. Having any three matching cards will net you a 5 to 1 payout. Two pairs of matching cards pay at 8 to 1, and having four of a kind will pay out 40 to 1. Of course, it can vary from casino to casino, but the rules for side bets should be marked clearly on the table.

This bet may look enticing, but it tips the scale heavily in the casino’s favor, as with most side bets.

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Blackjack Switch Strategy

Playing blackjack Switch is more complicated than regular blackjack because we have to remember two optimal strategies, and knowing how to play only blackjack won’t be sufficient. After all, the classic blackjack strategy doesn’t consider that the dealer can push on 22, and you cannot switch cards between hands, either.

We’ll present you with the widely used “Cindy Liu Simple Switching Strategy” appropriate for Las Vegas eight-deck rules. It uses the following list of hands dealt – placed in order of strength.

Strongest

  • 21
  • 20
  • 19
  • A/A (two Aces)
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 18 or 8
  • 8/8 when the dealer has 2-8 up

Weakest

If the dealer has 7 or 8 as a top card, try to make the weakest of your two hands stronger by switching the card. Use the table above as a guide. Against any other dealer top card, try to maximize the strength of the stronger hand using the table provided above.

If you can’t achieve any of the desired combinations from the list above, make the strongest hand possible from the following list:

Strongest

  • 7 or 17
  • Any hand combination that can be split into two (two of the same)
  • 12
  • 13

Weakest

There are a couple of exceptions to the rules that you need to remember as well:

If you have A/A and 3/8 – keep the Aces together.

If you have A/A and 2/9 – keep the Aces together if the dealer has anything between 2 and 6.

If you have A/A and 2/8 – keep the Aces together.

This isn’t necessarily the most optimal strategy, but it is the simplest one and a good starting point. It will result in an error every 18-19 hands. After mastering this simple strategy, think about improving your game and learning more advanced ones.

Conclusion

Blackjack Switch may look complicated since it adds more variables to the classic game of blackjack, but it also gives players many more opportunities to win. It’s a unique game that rewards mastery, perhaps even more so than the original.

FAQ

Do you stay or hit at 13 14 15 in blackjack?

The answer will depend on what the dealer has:

If you have 13 and the dealer’s top hand is anything from 3 to 6, stand. If it’s above 6 or a 2, hit.

If you have 14 and the dealer’s top hand is anything from 2 to 6, stand. If it’s above 6, hit.
If you have 15 and the dealer’s top hand is anything from 3 to 6, stand. If it’s above 6, hit.

Is blackjack more luck or skill?

Luck and guesswork can win you some money, but blackjack and blackjack Swing also require a fair bit of skill for high-level play.

Do you hit or stay on 14?

As always, it depends on the dealer’s top hand. If the dealer’s top hand is anything from 2 to 6, stand. If it’s above 6, hit.

Is blackjack vs. 21 a push?

In a case of a push, all the bets are returned to the owners except if somebody has a natural blackjack. Natural blackjack beats any other combination, even 21 or a dealer’s 22 in the case of blackjack Switch.

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