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Best of Henry Tamburin

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How to play Blackjack Switch

10 October 2015

Suppose you’re playing blackjack, you hold a K-6, and the player next to you has 4-A. Wouldn't it be nice if you could switch your six with his ace so you would have a blackjack? Of course, you wouldn’t 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, with the game of Blackjack Switch, you can legally switch your cards between two hands.

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 your first hand was a 7-5 and your second hand a 6-4. The dealer’s up card is an 8. 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 second card of each hand (the 5 and 4), you would wind up with two powerful hands (7-4 and 6-5) that you would double down on both hands against a dealer’s 8. In this example, switching the second cards is clearly the preferred strategy.

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

1. When the dealer’s hand totals 22, all players’ hands push (except a player’s blackjack).
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.

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 be doubling and splitting less often and there will be more hands where it is correct to hit at the risk of breaking. For example:

HAND CONVENTIONAL STRATEGY BLACKJACK SWITCH
9 Double down on 3-6 Double down on 6

10 Double down on 2-9 Double down on 2-8

A-2,A-3 Double down on 5 and 6 Always hit

12 Hit against 2 and 3 Hit against 2, 3, and 4


You can obtain the complete basic playing strategy for Blackjack Switch on these sites: www.blackjackforumonline.com (click on library page then click on Blackjack Switch) and www.wizardofodds.com (click on Game Odds & Strategies, then Blackjack Variants, then Blackjack Switch).

What you need to remember is that you shouldn't use the conventional basic strategy when you play this game; instead, you need to follow the basic strategy that is specific to Blackjack Switch. It's not any more complicated, just slightly different.

Switching Strategy

The more difficult strategy to master is the switching decisions, because sometimes the decision to switch is not obvious. For example, would you switch the second card in these hands: 2-8 and 10-9? (Dealer shows a 3). If you switched the second card in each hand, you would have 2-9 and 10-8. So is it better to hold 2-8 and 10-9 against a dealer’s 3 or 2-9 and 10-8? The best strategy is to keep the original hands (10 and 19) and not switch.

You’ll find switching strategies on two websites. If you go to the Blackjack Switch page on www.wizardofodds.com, you’ll find a simple and more advanced switching strategy. In addition, you’ll find a switching strategy in the article “How to Play Blackjack Switch” by Arnold Snyder (www.blackjackforumonline.com).

House Edge

According to www.wizardofodds.com, in a six-deck game with standard Las Vegas rules, the dealer hits a soft 17, and a switched blackjack counts as 21 points, the house edge is 0.58%. If the dealer stands on soft 17, the house edge is lowered to 0.30%. Remember that you can achieve these house edges only if you master the basic playing and switching strategies for this game.

(Note: For more information about the game, go to www.blackjackswitch.com.)

Henry Tamburin is a blackjack and video poker expert. His web site is www.smartgaming.com.
Recent Articles
Best of Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

> More Books By Henry Tamburin

Henry Tamburin
Henry Tamburin is the author of the best-selling book, Blackjack: Take The Money and Run, editor of the Blackjack Insider e-Newsletter, and Lead Instructor for the Golden Touch Blackjack course. For a free 3-month subscription to his blackjack newsletter with full membership privileges, visit www.bjinsider.com/free. For details on the Golden Touch Blackjack course visit www.goldentouchblackjack.com or call 866/WIN-BJ21. For a free copy of his casino gambling catalog featuring over 50 products call 888/353-3234 or visit the Internet store at www.smartgaming.com.

Henry Tamburin Websites:

www.smartgaming.com

Books by Henry Tamburin:

Winning Baccarat Strategies

> More Books By Henry Tamburin