Blackjack switch is based on an old approach to cheating at blackjack where players would try to switch out a card for one of the cards in their hand. You’ll always play two hands at a time, and you’ll always have the option to switch a card from one hand to the other in this game.
One of the classic ways that people have tried to cheat in the game of blackjack is to play multiple hands and switch cards between those hands without anyone seeing. The Blackjack Switch game, available at Playtech casinos and in other places, has made this a part of the game’s dynamic. There are some small changes in the rules to facilitate the card switching, but other than that, most of the rest of the rules are the same as typical multi-deck blackjack games.
Rules to Know
Players have to play two hands at the same time in this game, and they both have to use the same bet size. Once the hands are dealt, players have the chance to switch cards before making other decisions. However, they can only switch the second cards dealt to each hand. For example, if you’re dealt a 5 and then a 6 for one hand, and you’re dealt a 4 and then an 8 for the second hand, then you can only switch the 6 and the 8 with your switching option. The point is that you don’t get to choose which cards have the ability to be switched.
You can usually double with any total in this game, and you can usually double after splitting. However, blackjacks almost always pay even money in this style of the game, which is a big deal, and if the dealer has 22, then it will be a tie against any non-busted player hand other than a player having blackjack, in which case the player still wins. These rule changes mean that a few situations for basic strategy are different than usual, but the major strategic difference that players will need to pay attention to is learning when and why to switch cards.
Changes to Basic Strategy
Because of the differences in the rules, there are a few key changes in fringe cases that players should know about in terms of how basic strategy should be handled:
- You should double with one fewer hand than normal with hard 10s and 11s. This means that you should only double when facing an 8 or lower with a hard 10 and when facing a 9 or lower with a hard 11.
- Double much less often with soft hands against weak dealer cards. You should mostly only double with a soft 17 or 18 when facing a dealer 5 or 6 instead of abiding by the typical Rule of 23.
- You should hit with paired 8s against a dealer with a 10 or A instead of splitting.
There are a few other minor changes here and there in this game, but these are the major points that you should keep up with when you’re playing because they’re major changes to how basic strategy works in Blackjack Switch.
Learning When to Switch
Switching strategy in a game like this is so interesting because it’s so deep and situation-dependent. In fact, there are probably zero people on the planet who know how to play this type of option perfectly. To this end, we want to give you an approach that’s based on a simplified version of Cindy Liu’s analysis of the switching component of the game.
To use this approach, you’ll need to know the following seven hand rankings:
- A total of 21
- A total of 20
- A total of 19
- A pair of Aces
- A total of 11
- A total of 10
- A total of 9
You’ll also need to identify which of your two hands is the strongest and which is the weakest. You can rank them based on these seven hand rankings above, but if they don’t fall into those categories, then you’ll just need to intuitively decide which of the two hands is better.
Once you have that in mind, there are two possible situations. If you’re up against a dealer who is showing a 7 or an 8, which are the two most balanced and middle-of-the-road cards that the dealer can have, then your goal is to play defensively by trying to eliminate your weakest hand. If switching will make both of your resulting hands better than your current weakest hand, then you should switch.
The second case is if you’re up against literally any other dealer card. When this happens, then you’ll want to simply go for the best hand, using the above rankings, that you can get. If switching will mean either of your hands are better than your current strongest hand, then you should go ahead and switch. If not, then you should avoid the switching option.
Blackjack Switch is a fun game that introduces a new option, and that leads to a different style of play at the beginning of the hands. You have a lot more influence over the resulting hands that you’re given, but it does require that you learn a new aspect of strategy that isn’t exactly intuitive. All of that aside, players have made this one of the most popular non-standard variations of the game available online and where it’s available in land-based casinos, so it’s definitely got a bit of a following.Menu