How to play Blackjack Switch

  • Turn two useless hands into strong ones by switching cards
  • Blackjack Switch is an enthralling game available in casinos and online

Blackjack remains one of the most popular games on any casino floor and over the years more than a few variants of the game have been developed.

One such variation is known as Blackjack Switch, developed by Geoff Hall and patented in 2009.

The Blackjack Switch game table.
The Blackjack Switch game table.

The basics

Blackjack switch was developed by Geoff Hall in response to his own frustrations with traditional blackjack.

His main gripe was that he would often be dealt two weak hands which could be improved considerably if the top two cards switched places.

Taking this kernel of an idea and using it to develop the concept of a new Blackjack Switch game was Hall’s preoccupation until he debuted the game at the G2E conference at Las Vegas in 2000.

The game was soon adopted by land-based casinos with major developer Playtech developing a version of the game for online players.

Rules and strategy

Other than the switching itself, one of the most important rule changes in Blackjack Switch is that the dealer pushes on 22.

In other words, if the dealer gets 22 then the round is considered a draw rather than a win for the card player. Experienced blackjack players are usually able to reliably split or switch the cards to form better hands although sometimes the decision can be counter-intuitive.

A good entry point is to consider whether switching will leave you with a stronger single hand although this is not 100% reliable. As always any decision should be based not only on your own card, but on the dealer’s card too.

Playtech's Blackjack Switch table. Note the switch option for the two hands.
Playtech’s Blackjack Switch table. Note the switch option for the two hands.

One strategy for deciding whether or not to switch is named the Cindy Liu.

The Cindy Liu strategy is as follows:

Hands are ranked in order of strength from 21, 20, 19, AA, 11, 10, 9, 18 or 8, 8,8 with 2-8 up.

When the dealer has either a 7 or 8, balance the hands.

Make the weaker of your two hands as high as possible, using the above scale to determine what is best.

Against any other dealer up card, try to improve the strength of your higher hand. If you find yourself unable to
make on of the above hands then make the strongest possible hand from the following list: 7 or 17, any hand that should be split, any 12, any 13.

Exceptions to the rule:

A,A + 3,8 or 2,8 – do not switch
A,A + 2,9 – do not switch if dealer has anything between 2-6

Side games

Blackjack Switch also has a side game called super match which rewards players for having a pair, three of a kind, four of a kind or two pair in their starting hands.

In a six deck game this pays out at evens for a pair, 5-1 for three of a kind, 8-1 for two pair and 40-1 for four of a kind.

This game mitigates for the fact that a pair or matching cards tends to make the usefulness or switching much less likely. As is almost always the case however, the side betting game does increase the house edge, so be warned!

Blackjack Switch – where to play

Such is the popularity of this form of the game, Blackjack Switch can be played at many online casinos.

But if you want to get started now, Paddy Power, Mansion and Betfair casinos offer this game to play.

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