Blackjack Variations: Swap Cards between Hands with Blackjack Switch
Not too many of the Blackjack variants have much strategy involved – with most being simply added side bets or rule changes. Blackjack Switch adds a brand new angle to the game by allowing you to swap the cards between different hands. There is room for several strategies on the optimal way to do this, and great ways to turn bad hands into good ones (even Blackjack) with a switch. You’ll need to bet 2 hands at once to participate in this game, which also has some side-bet action.
This page takes you through all the rules and game-play for Blackjack Switch. I have started by explaining the procedure for switching cards, and how this works in practice. The different strategy approaches are highlighted at this point. After that you can find out about several different rules which balance the advantage players get from switching their cards. At the end of the page you can find out about the various side bets available in this entertaining Blackjack variation.
How Blackjack Switch Works
You have to make 2 bets of identical size to be dealt into this game. You’ll then get two hands dealt to you. The dealer will take a single hand, with one card showing and the other face-down – there is no ‘peek’ for blackjack in this game – making it more similar to European Blackjack than the American game.
The first step in this game is to give the players a chance to swap the top-card of each hand (the card dealt last). By switching these between hands, you can make 2 bad hands into one or two good ones. The classic example is this (top cards last), you get dealt Ace – 5 and 6 – King. By swapping the 5 and the King you make one Blackjack hand, and one hand with 11, giving yourself the opportunity to double down depending on the card the dealer is showing.
Many hands will be straight forward like this, or you will find it will not make any material difference whether you switch or not. Others are more complex. An example might be whether you make one good hand against a strong dealer up card, or take a chance with hitting on 2 mid-strength hands?
This kind of strategy question has been a topic of debate for Blackjack experts for many years. Blackjack legend Arnold Synder discussed this in his book ‘The Big Book of Blackjack’ coming up with different combinations of cards compared to what card the dealer is showing. The default strategy which will not give too much away to the house is to aim for the single best hand when your moves are unclear.
Game Play Rule Differences for Blackjack Switch
There are rules in place in this game which help the house to recover some of their edge. With switching being a significant advantage to the players – these are needed to bring back the balance in favor of the casino.
A big change is that a dealer busting with 22 is not a loss for the house. Instead this creates a push against all live player hands with the exception of a natural Blackjack hand, which is then paid out at 2:1. The dealer will hit on soft 17 in this variation, which gives the house a small additional advantage.
Splitting rules are rather conservative in Blackjack Switch, you can only split once – though a double after a split is possible. If the initial deal allows for you to swap cards so that a split becomes possible, then you can consider this against some dealer up cards. This is advanced strategy and can create some favorable situations for the player.
Side Bets in Blackjack Switch
In addition to unique rules which really add an extra dimension to standard Blackjack play, this game also includes a unique side-bet.
Called Super Match, this bet is based on pairs (or even better 4 of a kind) being dealt to a player. This is separate from the main game, and does have a bigger house edge. You’ll be paid 1:1 for any one pair, 5:1 for 2 pairs, 8:1 for 3 of a kind and 40:1 for 4 of a kind. Since the wins in all forms of Blackjack are slow and incremental, this game does give you the opportunity to add a nice windfall to your session.
In summary, this game is good enough to be a popular casino game in its own right. The switching of cards lets you feel involved and adds a strategy element to the play. I recommend that you check this game out for yourself soon.