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HOW TO PLAY BLACKJACK SWITCH

by Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the editor of the Blackjack Insider Newsletter, author of five casino gambling books, and contributing writer for dozens of magazines.

 

Suppose youíre playing blackjack, you hold a King-6, and the player next to you has 4-Ace. Wouldn't it be nice if you could switch your 6 with his Ace so you would have a blackjack? Of course, you wouldnít try to switch these cards in a casino because if you were caught you would be in a heap of trouble (switching cards is a cheating maneuver). However, a new blackjack game is growing in popularity amongst players because it legally allows you to switch your cards between two hands. The game is appropriately called Blackjack Switch.

With Blackjack Switch, you must play two hands with equal bets per round and you have the choice of keeping the hands that you were dealt or switching the second card in each hand. This switching option gives players a big advantage because you could convert one or two bad hands into two very good hands. Here's an example of what I mean.

Suppose you received these two initial hands:

INITIAL HANDS

Hand #1

 

Hand #2

 

 

The dealer has an 8 upcard.

 

You have a decent play on the 6-4 hand, namely, to double down against the dealer's 8. However, the other hand (12 against the 8) is a loser. However, by switching the first card of each hand (the 5 and 4), you would wind up with two powerful hands (7-4 and 6-5) that you could double against a dealerís 8. In this example, switching is, clearly, the preferred strategy.

AFTER SWITCHING

Hand #1

Hand #2

 

 

To offset the player-favorable switching option, the rules for Blackjack Switch include these two casino-favorable rules:

  1. When the dealerís hand totals 22, all playersí hands push (except a playerís blackjack); and
  2. All player blackjacks pay even money (instead of 3-2).

For example, suppose you double down on 10 and catch an ace for a 21. The dealer proceeds to hit his 16 and catches a 6 for 22. Your 21 is a push.

The other playing rules for Blackjack Switch follow the conventional rules for the game. Six (and sometimes eight) decks of cards are used, dealer usually hits soft 17, and you can double down on any two cards and after pair splitting. Iíve summarized the complete playing rules for Blackjack Switch in the table below.

You are probably wondering what the house edge is for Blackjack Switch. Before I tell you, let me discuss two more important things you need to know if you want to play: the basic playing strategy and the switching strategy.

Playing Strategy

As you would expect, the basic playing strategy for Blackjack Switch is slightly different from the conventional basic playing strategy because of the dealer 22 push rule. For example, you will...

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