If you’re looking for a challenge then you’re going to love Blackjack Switch. This blackjack variation is actually relatively new and first came unto the scene in 2000. Its creator, Geoff Hall, initially came up with the idea for the game after he was frustrated at always being dealt with 2 weak hands. He believed that by switching the top cards, players would have improved chances of winning. From only one offline casino in 2001 (Iowa’s Harvey Casino), the blackjack variation has become a staple of casino establishments not just in the United States but the world over. And if you want to play this online, then the version made by Playtech is the way to go.
PlayTech’s Blackjack Switch
As you’d expect from a Playtech developed game, the online version of Blackjack Switch features fluid gameplay and great music. The game allows players to bet chips with values that range from $0.1 to as high as $100. Players can initially bet as much as $300 per hand and $600 per deal. This is unlike most online Blackjack games nowadays that only allow maximum bets of $200 per hand. Aside from the fact that the game allows substantial bets, it’s also very responsive regardless of the platform you might be playing in. Of course, aesthetics aside, it’s really the games’ features and rules that truly make it stand out among other Blackjack variations.
You see, unlike with other Blackjack variants, players are dealt with 2 hands instead of just one when they start a deal in Blackjack Switch. What’s even more interesting is that the game allows players to switch the second (top) cards of the hands that they’re dealt with. This allows the player to optimize his/her hands and possibly even get a Blackjack on a hand without having to Hit. Aside from the switch, this Blackjack variation also features a side bet called Super Match. If the player wagers on this, he/she will get to win a corresponding reward if he is dealt with 1 pair (1:1), a 3 of a kind (5:1), 2 pairs (8:1), or a 4 of a kind (40:1) at the beginning of a deal.
Other than the initial decision to switch top cards and Super Match, the game flows and follows the rules of a typical game of Blackjack. The dealer sits on 6 52-card decks and will hit on a soft-17. However, it should be noted that the payouts for a player’s wins are slightly skewed in favor of the dealer. For regular and blackjack wins, the player can expect to get paid at a rate of 1:1. Compared with other variations, that might seem quite low but you’ll also need to remember that the switch feature can also be considered as similar to a cheat and should more than make up for the low rate of return.
So how should you play Blackjack Switch in a way that optimizes your wins then? As mentioned earlier, the game is essentially similar to more conventional Blackjack variants except for the inclusion of the Switch feature. This means that once you’ve used the Switch feature you can then use a Basic Strategy Calculator to come up with a guide to optimize your betting. So now the question is: what are the factors that you should look out for before you switch your top cards? Now this is a much more complicated decision because of how relatively new this Blackjack variation is. There are proponents that advocate for sacrificing one hand to get better results with the other hand. However, this doesn’t apply to all situations and if done all the time, could result in the player ending up with all losing hands. Additionally, a blackjack resulting in a switch won’t necessarily result in a win since the dealer can force a push if it gets 21 or 22.
Should you be picking up Blackjack Switch then? While it is admittedly more complex than other variants of Blackjack, it is by no means inferior. With that being said, expect that the learning curve for this variation to be extremely steep. As for guides, there are a couple that can be found online but you’ll likely be better off with blackjack books which you can buy at Amazon. Additionally, you should also check out Arnold Snyder and Cindy Liu’s respective takes of optimal betting strategies for Blackjack Switch.