So you’re playing a K-8 hand when you saw that the player next to you has an A-9. How nice would it be if you can swap your 8 with his Ace? That would be a secure 21 or blackjack on your part. But what if you’re given the power to do so? It will be cool, right? If you’re not familiar with this concept, welcome to Blackjack Switch, my friend. Knowing how to deal blackjack in a casino with two interchangeable hands is a popular variation of the card game.
If you’re tired of classic blackjack, the Switch variant will spice things up for you. Instead of one, you can play two or more (if the casino allows) hands at a time. You can mix and match cards to increase your chances of winning all the hands.
Rule-wise, it’s the same with the classic American blackjack. Still, we need to know some of the tiny differences to avoid any hiccups.
How Blackjack Switch works for the player
During the late ‘90s, a card counter named Geoff Hall invented the blackjack variant where a player can switch cards in between two or more hands. After being dealt with two ugly hands, he thought about the possibility of changing the cards. And why not, it’s an exciting and equally tricky game to play.
So how does it work? Basically, you’ll be dealt with at least two hands where you’re going to place separate bets. It’s like betting on two slots on a standard blackjack table. Here are the blackjack dealing procedures:
To give you a better grasp of this variant, here’s Bryan from Casino Rama to demonstrate Blackjack Switch in an actual table:
How Blackjack Switch works for the dealer
In Blackjack Switch, the dealer will usually hit at Soft 17. However, a variant in Ontario will force the dealer to stand at Soft 17. Also, a dealer’s 22 isn’t a bust but a push unless a player gets a natural blackjack. Here are the blackjack dealing procedures for this variant:
Take note that some of these rules may vary depending on how to deal blackjack in a casino. Always ask first so you can strategize your play well. For the Russian variant of the Blackjack Switch, the dealer stands on Soft 17, no hole card will be dealt, and early surrender isn’t allowed.
The house edge for blackjack switch will vary depending on the sub-variant and number of decks in the shoe. For a table with six decks, blackjack after switch counts as 21, and the dealer hits at Soft 17, the calculated house edge is 0.58%. This is considerably a typical range for most blackjack games. But what if there are changes in the rules? Here are some of the possible house edge levels:
|VARIABLE||HOUSE EDGE 0.58% ±|
|The dealer stands at Soft 17||-0.30%|
|Eight decks instead of six||+0.02%|
|Automatic blackjack winner||-0.21%|
|Switched blackjack wins||-0.40%|
When it comes to the Russian variant of Blackjack Switch, the house edge will be approximately 0.20%. However, this is only for rules that allow early surrender when the dealer has an Ace up-card.
Every single change in the rules will impact the house edge. You should calculate this part before going to a casino to have an idea of how much you’re going to win or lose.
Just remember that the more decks there are in the shoe, the higher the house edge will be.
Basic playing strategies
Blackjack switch can be played like a standard blackjack. Although there are bits and bobs that may vary, it’s not that hard to master this game. Let’s say that you’re playing an 8-deck game with Las Vegas terms where the dealer 22 is a push. Here’s a chart from Wizard of Odds on how to deal blackjack casino style:
If the table is playing on six decks, the same moves apply but you have to double a hard 9 if the dealer has a 5 up-card.
However, this only applies to the American variant of Blackjack Switch. The strategy would be different from the Russian and Ontario types since surrendering isn’t allowed and the dealer stands at Soft 17 respectively. Knowing how to deal blackjack in a casino will vary per area.s
Here’s the most important strategy part: knowing how to switch. Once the cards are dealt, you’ll know if it’s winnable or not. Just remember that if you wish to switch any cards, you should let the dealer do it for you by signaling on the table. You’re not allowed to touch any of the playing cards. After a switch (if you wish to do so) you’ll play each hand like a standard blackjack.
But when is the optimal time to switch? For starters, let’s use the Cindy Liu Switching Strategy here. It starts by arranging the hand value from the strongest to weakest.
*Pair of Aces
*18 or 8
*Pair of 8s + 2-8’
Switching moves based on the strongest and weakest hands:
- Switch the cards to make the weak hand higher whenever the dealer has 7 or 8 up-card.
- Switch as needed to make your hands strong as with listed value above.
- In case the hands don’t fall in any of the value on the list, try to achieve these instead:
-17 or 7
-Anything that can be split
- Keep in mind some exceptions to maximize the strength of your hands. According to the Cindy Liu Switching Strategy, you should keep the Aces together if you have the following hands:
*Keep A-A and 3-8
*A-A and 2-9 (if the dealer up-card is 2 to 6)
* Keep A-A and 2-8
Following this basic switching strategy before playing your hands is said to have a 0.17% cost of errors. You’re only likely to make an error every 18 hands.
There are more advanced switching strategies that you can use. But if you’re just starting out in Blackjack Switch, I suggest that you master these basics first.
Not sure when to switch? The Wizard of Odds has the Blackjack Switch Strategy Calculator where you can check card combinations against the dealer’s up-card. You can use this for practice so you’ll know how to deal blackjack in a casino.
Side bets and payouts
Like the other variants of blackjack, there are side bets you can explore. However, I advise that you stir clear of these optional wagers if you want to make a consistent income. In Blackjack Switch, players are allowed to place wagers on the so-called Super Match Side Bet.
There are different conditions to win in a Super Match Side Bet. It’s usually different variations of pairs. Here are some as practiced during blackjack dealing procedures:
|Typical Pair||Pays 1:1|
|2 Pairs||Pays 8:1|
|3 of a kind||Pays 5:1|
|4 of a kind||Pays 40:1|
The betting for this side bets takes place as you place wagers on your original hands. The payouts can be lavish, but remember that casinos won’t risk such amount of money if they don’t know the probability of winning. So when it comes to the high-paying 4 of a kind, you’re pretty much aware how rare this could be. If you’re playing a six-deck game, you’d have a probability of winning a 4 of a kind bet at around 0.000357. It takes no rocket science to know that this is a rarity.
As mentioned earlier, a natural blackjack pays even money. This is due to the advantage players get with the idea of switching cards. Nevertheless, you should manage your bankroll based on a strategy instead of flying blind on the table.
Is Blackjack Switch more profitable?
If you plan to make a living out of playing blackjack, the Switch variant may not be the best suit for you. As compared to the standard blackjack, this derivative has a lower payout, especially when you get a natural blackjack. Knowing how to deal blackjack casino style is best done in a standard version if you want wads of money.
As much as you can play an optimal strategy, the winnings are faster and bigger when you’re on a standard table. Nevertheless, Blackjack Switch is still a great game. Also, a blackjack achieved after a split won’t be paid as such.
Card counting in Blackjack Switch
Given that the table isn’t using an automatic shuffle, card counting would be possible. But in a five-player table all betting on a minimum of two hands, you need to have a whole new level of calculating skills. It would be at least 10 hands, not to mention the splits that the players will play.
The Hi-Lo method works here as well. By keeping track of cards on the shoe, you’d have better chances of winning.You should prepare ahead and do some intensive practice before card counting in a Blackjack Switch table. With six or eight decks on the shoe and multiple hands being played, it’s easy to get lost in the counting as you play your hand as well.
Nevertheless, these blackjack dealing procedures are possible with enough practice.
Additional reminders before you play
So are you ready to play blackjack switch in an actual casino? Before you stash some cash and gamble, here are some tips to keep in mind:
🎰You won’t find a single-deck table
If you’re planning to play in a single-deck game for easier card counting, sorry to say, but the least number of decks you can find is 4. It’s possible to find two-deck tables but it’s very, very rare considering the number of cards that will be dealt with in a single round.
Casinos know that since many cards will be used in a single round, the house edge will be lower and card counters would have an effortless play. And even if you find a two-deck game, there’s likely to be an automatic shuffler.
🎰You’re not obliged to switch all the time
Just because it’s called Blackjack Switch doesn’t mean you always need to switch your cards. Just do so if you think that the act of switching will build you stronger hands. As much as possible, switching should help you both ways and not hurt you in the other.
🎰You need to be aggressive
Remember that in most cases, the dealer pushes at 22. This means you need to be aggressive compared to how you play standard blackjack. If you have a hard 17 and the dealer has low-value cards like 2 or 3, hitting would be ideal than standing as the usual strategy goes. Low-value cards on the part of the dealer can turn into a 22 than a likely bust.
🎰Know how to double
Whenever your hands have 10 or 11, double down against the dealer’s 2 to 6. Do the same if you have a 9 and the dealer has a 6. This way, you can maximize your wins. But if you’re not comfortable with the idea, you can stick on playing your hands normally.
Knowing how to deal blackjack in a casino requires more practice. This way, you can acquire a better strategy to win more money for your bankroll.