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Blackjack Switch


• Ace-ace / ten-ten = blackjack / blackjack
• Rules and house edge
• The switch - big player advantage
• Blackjack short pay and dealer 22 push
• A bad bet
• Basic strategy
• Switch strategy
• Recommended casinos
• Comp points
• Final thoughts
• Blackjack switch online resources


An example of a Blackjack Switch game in progress; the player has made a 21 and a blackjack against a dealer 20, winning both hands.



Ace-ace / ten-ten = blackjack / blackjack


Blackjack Switch, the invention of an Englishman by the name of Geoff Hall, is a game in which the player plays two hands consecutively and may “switch” his top cards around. For example: if one hand receives an ace pair and the other two tens, the top ace of the two aces may be switched over to the other hand, making a ten plus ace, while the top ten of the two tens is also switched over, making an ace plus ten - from AA / 1010 to blackjack / blackjack, a big improvement.

This is an extreme example to illustrate the point that two bad hands can be changed into something much better.


Rules and house edge


The rules for Blackjack Switch are as follows:

• Six decks
• H17
• DOA
• DAS
• Full peek
• Blackjack pays even money
• Two equal-sized initial bets required
• The top cards of each initial hand may be "switched" to the other hand, unless the dealer has a blackjack, in which case there is no option to switch.
• A dealer 22 pushes against all active player hands, except blackjacks

The sum total of all this is a house edge of only 0.17%, or a total player return of 99.83%.


The “switch” - big player advantage


Here's a graphic illustration of an example of the “switch” process:

blackjack switch before



The player has a 14 and 15 against dealer 7. Both hands are bad. However, switching the 10 from the 4 onto the 8, and the 7 from the 8 onto the 4...

blackjack switch after



...turns them into an 11 and an 18, a big improvement. In the final analysis...

blackjack switch result



...the dealer flips over a 10 in the hole and both hands win.


Blackjack short pay and dealer 22 push


In order to compensate for this player-advantageous switch rule there are two additional rules in the dealer's favour: blackjack only pays 1:1 as opposed to the usual 3:2, and also a dealer score of 22 results in a push, whatever hands remain active for the player - unless one of the player hands is a blackjack. Watching the dealer bust, only to end up pushing one or both of your active hands...


blackjack switch push




...takes some getting used to.


A bad bet


There is an additional bet available, called “super match”, based on the four initial cards across both hands; it has it's own betting circle between the two main betting circles - see the image at the top of the page. Since the house edge is a whopping 2.55% this bet should be disregarded.


Blackjack Switch basic strategy


There are two things to consider: basic strategy and “switch” strategy. The basic strategy table is below - chart details courtesy of the Wizard Of Odds blackjack switch resource:

Hard totals
2345678910A
17SSSSSSSSSS
16SSSSSHH HHH
15SSSSSHH HHH
14SSSSSHH HHH
13HSSSSHH HHH
12HHHSSH HHHH
11DDDDDDDDH H
10DDDDDDDHH H
9HHHHD HHHHH
8HHHHHHHHHH

Soft totals
2345678910A
A8SSSSSSSSSS
A7SSSDS DSS SHHH
A6HHHDD HHHHH
A5HHHHDH HHHH
A4HHHHHH HHHH
A3HHHHHHHH HH
A2HHHHHHHH HH

Pairs
2345678910A
AsPPPPPPPPPP
10sSSSSSSSSSS
9sSSPPPSP PSS
8sPPPPPPPPH H
7sSPPPPPHH HH
6sHHPPPH HHHH
5sDDDDDDDH HH
4sHHHHHHHH HH
3sHHHPPPHH HH
2sHHHPPP HHHH


What immediately comes to mind on looking at the chart is that both doubling and splitting is MUCH more restrictive in this game than in standard blackjack; there is only one card to double 9 against, and soft-doubling is almost non-existent. That, coupled to the fact that blackjacks only pay 1:1, leads to a less volatile game than standard blackjack played in the same two consecutive hand format - which is no bad thing.

Better quality games tend to go hand in hand with greater volatility, so Switch is a refreshing exception to the rule.


“Switch” strategy


Many of the “switch / don't switch” decisions are very difficult. Fortunately, there's a convenient “switch calculator” on the web page listed above; input the values of your two hands and click “switch” - the calculator will tell you whether to switch or not. Make sure you put the right values in the right boxes and in the right order - it's easy to make the mistake of getting them mixed up and making the incorrect play.

This is a quite indispensable little tool - it would be impossible to play the game correctly without it, unless you managed to memorize each one of the many, many combinations, which would be quite a task.

You can calculate the “switch” decisions manually - see the BJ Switch expected value charts for the information you'll need to do this. There are also various switching strategies listed in the resource section at the bottom of this page.

Recommended casinos


My recommendation for Blackjack Switch play:

  ♠ Paddy Power Casino ♠


Comp points


Standard Playtech comp points are awarded for Blackjack Switch. You get 1 point for 10 wagered, and 100 points can be redeemed for 1. This translates into 1 for 1000 wagered, or 0.1%, which reduces the already low 0.17% house edge to just 0.07%.


Final thoughts


• Basic strategy for blackjack switch is different to standard blackjack strategy - follow it to the letter.

• If you're unsure about whether or not to "switch", use the switch calculator mentioned above. Don't rely on intuition on this one, because although some plays are obvious, many are not.


Blackjack switch online resources


• Wikipedia

Blackjack switch goes briefly into the history, plus procedure of play and correct basic strategy.

• Customised Casino Games

Blackjack switch.com is the homepage of the inventor of the game, Geoff Hall, and includes full contact details.

• Wizard Of Odds

Blackjack switch odds and strategy gives the basic strategy chart and rules, and also includes simple and advanced strategies for evaluating the switch option, with examples. There is also some analysis of the “supermatch” side bet.

Switch strategy calculator is a calculator for evaluating the switch decision; insert the card numbers and the programme will tell you whether “switch” or “don't switch” is better.

• BJ Forum Online

Blackjack switch easy basic strategy is blackjack expert Arnold Snyder's unique contribution to blackjack switch theory. His system is based on categorizing player hands and dealer upcards according to their strength, and although getting a confident grip on this strategy takes quite a lot of study, it's almost certainly better than having to constantly refer to a switch calculator.

• Beating Bonuses

Switch calculator is the same calculator as the one on the Wizard Of Odds page above.


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