Blackjack Switch is an original variation of the popular casino-banked card game and was invented by Geoff Hall, who patented his creation in 2019. The game was adapted for online play by supplier Playtech and is currently available across a large number of web-based casinos using this software.
The most distinctive trait of Blackjack Switch is that you play two hands at a time and have the option to switch the top card between the two, thus improving your odds of winning. This interesting twist makes Blackjack Switch extremely exciting to play but it also increases the game’s level of complexity in terms of strategy.
How to Play Blackjack Switch
Blackjack Switch is not all that difficult to master rules-wise as it borrows most of its rules from traditional blackjack. The bottom line is you will experience no difficulties in grasping the rules of this bespoke variation if you are already accustomed to playing regular 21.
The key thing in this version of the game is that you need to post two bets per round to cover each of the two hands you play. There is also an additional optional wager called the Super Match side bet. Other than these peculiarities, the objective of the player is the same as that in the traditional version of the game – beat the dealer with a higher hand total without exceeding 21.
Basic Rules and Payouts
Since the ability to switch cards between your two hands improves your odds of winning, some of the other rules of Blackjack Switch have been tweaked to compensate for this. The game is dealt out of a shoe containing multiple decks but the exact number varies in different landbased casinos. Some gambling halls use four, others go for six or eight decks.
The online variation by Playtech, in particular, uses six standard decks of cards, which are shuffled together after each round of play. Like in standard blackjack, here you have the option to hit, stand, split, double down, and buy insurance.
However, here the dealer hits soft 17 and peeks for naturals when showing an Ace or a ten-value card. Surrendering a hand is not possible in Blackjack Switch. Blackjacks pay even money. Instead of busting, the dealer pushes with the player when having a hand total of 22.
Insurance is a prop bet offered to Blackjack Switch players when the dealer’s exposed card is an Ace. To buy insurance, players are required to post an extra wager equal to half of the amount they have originally staked.
A winning insurance bet pays at a rate of 2 to 1 but only if the dealer has a ten-value card in the hole for a blackjack. If so, you win your insurance bet but lose your initial wager, which basically means you break even for the round.
Insurance is generally a bad bet to make. It yields a bigger house edge and inevitably gives you negative expectation. With insurance, you are practically wagering that the dealer has a ten in the hole for a blackjack.
This side bet has zero impact on your odds of winnings your original hand. Contrary to popular belief, insurance does not protect your hand against dealer blackjacks. Because of this, basic strategy players are recommended to never insure their hands.
Blackjack Switch players have the option to double down on any two-card total they like, which enables them to bank on the occasions when the dealer is in a tough spot and more likely to lose.
Doubling down requires the player to post an additional wager that is equal to their original bet, although some landbased casinos offering the game do allow you to double down for less.
However, this is not a smart idea because it prevents you from profiting to the fullest from advantageous situations. Doubling after you split is allowed here as well.
Splitting is also available in Blackjack Switch and is possible when the player is dealt a pair of cards of the same value. Unlike ten-value cards like Queen and Jack can also be split here. Again, an additional bet is needed to cover the split. You can split twice to form a total of four hands.
Super Match Payouts
Blackjack Players have the option to post a side bet called the Super Match. Interestingly, this pays whenever you form specific poker hands with your initial two hands. The Super Match payouts are as follows:
- even money for one pair
- 5 to 1 for three of a kind
- 8 to 1 for two pairs
- 40 to 1 for four of a kind
House Edge and RTP
Despite the disadvantageous rule adjustments, Blackjack Switch does not yield a big house edge. The theoretical return of the Playtech variation stands at 99.87%, which is quite decent. In turn, this translates into a house edge as low as 0.13% but this applies if you play in accordance with the optimal strategy for this game.
On a side note, the basic strategy for Blackjack Switch is different than that of regular variants of the game. For instance, when one of your hands consists of paired Aces and the other one totals 10 or 11, it is best not to split the Aces.