Developed by Playtech, Blackjack Switch is an exciting blackjack variation that can be played online and comes with great graphics and wonderful customization options. It is currently among the most popular versions of online blackjack for a number of reasons, most notably the fact that you play with two hands against the dealer and you can switch the cards between your hands.
Blackjack Switch uses the popular Vegas-style rules where the dealer receives a hole card and peeks for blackjack if his face-up card is either an Ace or a 10-value card. The game is played with six standard decks of 52 cards and the interesting twist here is that the player receives two hands of two initial cards each. Of course, two bets of the same size must also be placed. The game then continues quite typically with one significant difference – players are allowed to switch the top cards of their two hands in order to form optimal hands. In addition, the dealer hits on soft 17.
Another reason for the huge popularity of the game is its extremely low house edge of only 0.13%. This means that the theoretical Return to Player of Playtech’s Blackjack Switch is 99.87% when it is played with the optimal strategy.
Switching, Standing and Hitting in Blackjack Switch
When players receive their initial cards, they decide whether to draw more cards or not, based on the strength of the two cards. Each hand is played individually, which means that the player may Stand on one of the hands and he can decide to Hit on the other, receiving an additional card from the shoe.
The Switch feature is available only at the beginning of the round and applies to the two top cards in each hand. Later on in the round, players are not allowed to Switch.
Splitting in Blackjack Switch
Whenever players are dealt cards of the same rank, they are given the option to Split them. Of course, this applies to the two cards in the hand. Any pair can be split, including different 10-value cards – a King and a Jack, for instance, and an additional bet is made. Splits are allowed only on the initial hands but then, players can draw as many cards as they want to the split hands. When Aces are split, only one card can be drawn to the hand. Also, an Ace and a 10-value card in a split hand are considered 21 and not blackjack.
Doubling in Blackjack Switch
Players, who receive high hands initially and think they are likely to win, can Double their bets for even better winnings. Whenever you Double, however, you receive another card and it is the final card for this hand. Doubling is allowed after splitting and on any two cards.
Insurance in Blackjack Switch
Insurance is a useful feature that allows players to insure against a dealer’s blackjack. It is offered at the beginning of the round when the dealer’s face-up card is an Ace. It functions as a side bet that is half of the player’s original stake. After you Take or Skip Insurance, the dealer can check for blackjack. Of course, this bet wins if the dealer’s hand really shows blackjack, paying you 2:1. The Insurance bet loses otherwise.
Super Match Side Bet
This is an optional side bet that is placed at the beginning of each round when the main bet is being placed. With it, players bet that within their four initial hands, they will have one of four possible poker hands.
- Four of a Kind – These are four hands of the same rank such as 4 Queens (their color and suit do not matter). The hand pays 40:1.
- 2 Pairs – The bet wins if the four cards form two pairs – two 10’s and two 5’s, for example. The hand pays 8:1.
- Three of a Kind – This poker hand consists of three cards of the same rank such as 3 Jacks. It pays 5:1.
- Pair – The pair is formed by two cards of the same rank, i.e. two 8’s. It pays 1:1.
This bet relies on chance only and not on players’ decisions as in the main game of blackjack. Of course, the house edge on the side bet is also higher – it is 2.55% for the five possible outcomes combined (four winning alternatives and a loss).