Blackjack Switch is one of the most enjoyable variations of the classic blackjack game, and will take you only a couple hands to get the hang of. With a low house edge and a neat side bet, this variant is a must try for all casino and blackjack enthusiasts.
How to play Blackjack Switch
If you are familiar with classic blackjack rules, then adapting to Blackjack Switch won’t be a problem. The game follows the same traditional structure as regular blackjack, but you play two hands at once. Here are the typical rules of a Blackjack Switch game:
- Six to eight standard decks are used
- The dealer hits on soft 17
- Blackjack pays 1 to 1 rather than 3 to 2
- Two bets of equal size must be wagered to play any given round
- The dealer ‘peaks’ for blackjack (American hole card format)
- If dealer has blackjack, all hands lose (except for an original player blackjack*, which will push)
- A dealer total of 22 will push against all player hands except for an original blackjack (which wins)
- The player may double down on any two card total (and may double down after a split)
- The player may re-split up to four hands
- The player may switch the second cards dealt to his two hands to form a new total on each hand, for example: a player dealt a 5 and then a 9 for his/her first hand (14), and an A and a 6 for his/her second hand (7/17) would be well placed to switch his/her second two cards dealt to form new hands of a 5 and a 6 (11) and an A and a 9 (10/20)
- A player may switch cards to form a blackjack (this blackjack acts just like a regular total of 21)
*An original player blackjack is a hand that is dealt blackjack prior to any switches (also referred to as a natural blackjack).
An option for insurance is available, but taking insurance is not recommended in blackjack.
Under the above rules, the overall house edge is approximately 0.58 per cent (and fluctuates ever so slightly if the rules are adjusted (see below). In all cases, the house edge remains below one per cent when correct strategy is applied.
In some variations, the European format is followed where the dealer does not take a hole card. Some games will also force the dealer to stand on all 17s.
The Blackjack Switch side bet:
The ‘Super Match’ side bet adds another element of fun to the Blackjack Switch game. Holding a house edge of approximately 2.55 per cent, this side wager is one of the better blackjack side bets you can place in terms of risk vs reward. It is based on the player’s first four cards dealt, and awards a payout if any cards match one another (regardless of suit).
- Any matching pair pays out at 1 to 1 (for ex: Hand 1 has a 5 and a 7, and Hand 2 has a 5 and a Q)
- Three of a kind pays out at 5 to 1 (for ex: Hand 1 has a 5 and a 7, and Hand 2 has a 7 and a 7)
- Two lots of pairs pays out at 8 to 1 (for ex: Hand 1 has a 5 and a 7, and Hand 2 has a 5 and a 7)
- Four of a kind pays out at 40 to 1 (for ex: Hand 1 has a 5 and a 5, and Hand 2 has a 5 and a 5)
This side wager is resulted as soon as you have been dealt your first four cards.
Building stronger hands in Blackjack Switch:
Correct strategy in this game differs slightly from classic blackjack, as your strategy must now incorporate when to switch hands. Here are a couple of important ‘switch’ guidelines to follow when playing:
Strength of hands to strive for (from strongest to weakest):
- 18 or 8
- Against a dealer 7 or 8, balance your hands so you give the weaker hand a total as high as possible, using the strength order above (if you can)
- Against any other dealer up-card, maximise the strength of the stronger hand, using the strength order above (if you can)
If you can’t create any of the desired hands in the above list, then create the strongest hands possible from the following list (in order from strongest to weakest):
- 7 or 17
- And hand that can be split
- Any 12
- Any 13
Exceptions to the above rule includes:
- If you hold an A, A and a 3, 8 – keep the Aces together
- If you hold an A, A and a 2, 9 – keep the Aces together if dealer has an up-card of 2 through to 6
- If you hold an A, A and a 2, 8 – keep the Aces together
This is a simple ‘switch’ formula that can be adhered to to boost your chances of success.
Online casino sites that host the Blackjack Switch game
Blackjack Switch is powered by the esteemed gaming software provider Playtech. Playtech games can be found at licensed and regulated online and mobile casino sites such as Casino.com..
As the number of online gaming titles across reputable gambling sites continues to increase, we can expect to see Blackjack Switch become available for real money play in the near future.
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