This was created by card counter Geoff Hall in 2000, and patented in 2009. In this version, the dealer deals out two hands per player rather than one.
- The player is allowed to exchange or “switch” the top two cards between his hands.
- Natural blackjacks are paid only 1:1, instead of the typical 3:2
- A dealers hard 22 pushes all non-busted hands, with the exception of a natural blackjack.
- Players must make two bets of equal size
- Cards are dealt face up
- Usually 6 or 8 decks are used
- Dealer usually hits a soft 17
- Dealer wil peek for blackjack with a ten or Ace up
- If dealer has blackjack, all player hands, except player blackjacks hands, lose
- Players can only switch the 2nd card dealt to each hand
- Players can double on any 2 cards
- Players may double after a split
- Players my split up to four hands
There is usually a side bet available called the Super Match. This bet rewards pairs, three-of-a-kind, 2 pairs or four-of-a-kind among both hands. This bet has to be made before the deal takes place. It would seem to be a good bet, considering if you got two top or bottom cards that were identical, it would rob the player of the chance to switch, so at least you could win something. However, this is also considered a sucker bet because, in reality, how often would that happen (not too often) and then of course it ups the house edge. You never want to increase the house edge against you!
This is not the version of blackjack you want to play just for fun and relaxation. If you like the challenge of thinking about game play, it’s an excellent choice. Though available at some Vegas casinos, it’s not a popular choices offline, but quite popular online. When played with the proper strategy, the house edge can be reduced to below that of regular blackjack, thereby explaining it’s popularity. The house edge can be reduced to around .10 percent, compared to regular blackjack house edge of .50 percent.
Because you have 2 hands in play, you must quickly determine each hands strength and then be able to mentally switch the top cards to determine if you could have even stronger hands. It’s easy to understand that the hardest part of blackjack switch is deciding on the switch.
At the simplest level, you want to balance your hands to avoid having a very weak hand against a dealer’s strong hand (when he’s showing a 7 or 8). Against other dealer up cards, you want to make your better hand as strong as possible.
There is specific blackjack switch strategy and it is imperative to understand and use it. Because of the fact that the dealer pushes with 22, it forces big time changes to regular blackjack strategy. There is usually more hitting on “stiffs” (a hand of less than 17 that is likely to bust with a drawn card) and slightly less doubling because of the pushing with 22.
You can find many different switch strategies available online. Two of the most popular are developed by Arnold Snyder and Cindy Liu. Their charts are too detailed for me to go through in this short post, but I do suggest you look one or both of them up, if you find you have an interest in trying out blackjack switch.
What makes blackjack switch enjoyable for many players is that, more often than not, you will win one hand and lose the other, thereby creating a “push,” where you don’t win or lose, but get to play another round! So, you can usually play longer with you initial bankroll. Good luck to you!