While the original classic “Twenty-one” can be traced back to the 17th century, many variations have sprung up over the centuries. One of the latest variations of what now known as blackjack, is Blackjack Switch, which was first patented by Geoff Hall in 2009. Mr. Hall is well known throughout the casino industry for being an inventor of new game variants, particularly when it comes to blackjack. Switch was his first success, claiming he got the inspiration while playing at the casino, often two hands at once. This is where the core component of Blackjack Switch comes from, as players are dealt two hands per game round. Other innovations conjured up by Mr. Hall include free bet blackjack, zombie blackjack and Zappit.
What is Blackjack Switch and how is it different?
As mentioned above, players are dealt two pairs of cards, rather than the usual one. It also isn’t like multi-hand blackjack where you can choose to play with even more hands. Usually, six or eight decks are used in a game and players must make two initial bets of the same value, one for each of their hands. This is important, as players have the decision to switch a card from each of their hands, the second card dealt to be precise. Swapping them over could put you in a more favorable position. For instance, you get two hands, one of a four and an eight, while the other is a King and a two. You can then swap over the eight and two, giving you a much stronger starting score 18 and 6, rather than the original 12 and 12.
This naturally gives the player more agency from round to round, thereby giving them more of an edge. The game rules balance this out by implementing the Push 22 rule, which doesn’t normally apply in more traditional blackjack rulesets. This rule means that all bets end in a tie, should the dealer end their turn with a final score of 22. The only exception to this if you manage to get a Blackjack in one of your hands.
How to play – Blackjack Switch rules
If you already know how to play any other blackjack variants then you already know how to play Blackjack Switch. The core rules remain, although slight tweaks have been added here and there, changing up the dynamic somewhat. Most of the additional rules come from the way a player can interact with their hands, now that the switch mechanic is thrown in. For instance, up to four hands may be Split by the player in a round. Doubling Down can be applied on any two cards and even after a Split.
A Blackjack can be made from a Switch, but will only count as a regular 21 point scoring hand. From the dealer’s perspective, a soft 17 is an automatic Hit, although some specific table rules may change this round to a Stand. The dealer deals the player’s cards face up and will then peak at their cards to see if it equals a Blackjack, should they have an upwards facing Ace or 10. If the dealer does have a blackjack, all bets are automatically lost, except for hands that also have a blackjack.
There is one major change to the Blackjack Switch rules when it comes to payouts. Scoring a Blackjack only pays out at a 1 to 1 ratio, doubling your stake. This is quite a bit lower than the standard blackjack payouts, which instead pays out at 3 to 1 for a Blackjack and 1 to 1 for all other winning hands. Insurance bets can also be factored in, which pays out at 2 to 1. The lower Blackjack payout is applied to even out the loss of house edge that the switching mechanic introduces. Still, the fact that there is a lower payout, combined with a higher rate of hands played per hour, means that you will need to be seriously attentive to your player balance. Be sure to appreciate that your funds may not last as long as with other blackjack variants.
Blackjack Switch strategies and other helpful tips
As with any casino game, there is no perfect Blackjack Switch strategy. With that being said, there are some good fundamentals to keep in mind when playing. While no strategy will guarantee a win, there are actions you can take that shift the favor more on your side. Below are some good pointers to keep in mind when playing, although be aware that each round has its own variables that may supersede these rules from time to time.
GoodLuckMate’s best tips for playing Blackjack Switch are:
- Make sure you have a budget in mind before playing and stick to it
- Be mindful that Blackjack Switch usually has a bigger toll on your player balance than other variants over the same space of time
- It is advised to avoid insurance bets, as the house edge on them is 5.9% (based on one deck)
- Always hit on a 5, 6, 7 or 8
- Always stand on a 17, 18, 19 or 20
- Always split on double Aces
House edge – what are your chances of winning?
The Blackjack Switch house edge is 0.58%, which is slightly higher than many other variants, but still much lower than other casino games. Slots for example usually have a house edge of around 7%. While the more popular American blackjack has a house edge as low as 0.35%, the difference between that and switch is negligible for most players. A 0.58% house edge means that you will on average win €99.42 for every €100 wagered, although this average is calculated over a substantial amount of hands played.
Every Blackjack Switch game round asks players to place two bets, which comes at a slightly higher risk than standard blackjack. This means that you can end up spending more money over a shorter period of time with fewer returns. The switching mechanic is a powerful addition for skilled players, but the increase in risk generally doesn’t favor newer or more casual players.
Play Blackjack Switch at online casinos
It’s not as easy to find Blackjack Switch online as it is to find other variations of the game. However, a quick Google search can lead to numerous different online blackjack casinos, all with their own game collections. These casinos will generally have separate sections for their different game types and card games like Blackjack are generally found under the Table Games or Live Casino sections. From there you will most likely have a variety of tables to choose from with varying bet limits and other table-specific rules. It is important to make yourself familiar with these rules, as there may be certain additions applied to each round that would normally not be the case in standard blackjack games. With all of the different choices, it can be easy to accidentally hop into the wrong table without realizing before you’ve already placed a stake.
In fact, the amount of choice might seem overwhelming. That’s why we are here to help you along with our casino reviews. Here at GoodLuckMate, you can find countless reviews, highlighting the key pros and cons of each site. You can also find lots of helpful guides and other industry-relevant articles, making sure that you are always kept in the know.
Live dealer games vs RNG games
Once you have found the right Blackjack Switch casino for you, it is about time to get seated at a table. But first, you will need to decide whether you want to play at a live dealer table or perhaps sample some of the RNG games. Live dealer games are based in high-quality studios dressed up to look the part of a real casino. A live feed from the table is then streamed directly to your device, where you can place your bets as normal while interacting with the dealer and other players via a live chat function. This provides a great immersive experience with the added social aspect of sitting at a real casino. RNG games, on the other hand, use third-party verified random number generator (RNG) algorithms that provide truly random results every round. A player can then have a table to themselves while playing against the computer.
None of these games have any admission or subscription fee. So, whether you are playing on a desktop from the comfort of your own home or on the go with your mobile device, you will find plenty of free Blackjack Switch online.