Blackjack Switch

About Blackjack Switch

Blackjack switch is a blackjack variation with low house edge. The two main softwares offering the game are Playtech and Grand Virtual. However, game play is a bit slower because of additional switch decisions.

Blackjack Switch Rules

During each round player plays two hands at the same time as in multi-hand blackjack. Player places two bets of equal size on both hands. Player is dealt two cards on both blackjack hands, and one of dealer’s two cards is visible as in regular blackjack. The twist is that before playing these hands the player may switch the top cards between the hands. For example player is dealt hands 8,7 and 4,A. The player may switch 7 and A to get 8,A and 4,7. After making the switch, the player plays both hands according to normal rules. The player may hit, double down and split on both hands. To compensate this advantage the dealer has the following benefits:

  • Dealer 22 pushes all hands except player blackjack
  • Blackjack pays 1:1 like a normal winning hand
  • The dealer hits soft 17

Playtech software uses 6 decks for the game and Grand Virtual uses 8 decks. Other blackjack rules are: double on any 2 cards, double after split, re-split up to four hands.

Optimal Strategy

The correct switch decision depends on the hand values and dealer’s upcard. Usually you try to improve both hands by switching. For example 8,7 = 15 and 4,10 = 14 is a worse combination than 8,10 = 18 and 4,7 = 11. You can also switch to make blackjacks and usually (but not always) the correct switch decision is to make a blackjack at the expense of other hand. This is because only blackjack beats dealer 22. To check the correct switch decision in each situation use the Blackjack Switch Calculator.

Play Strategy

After the switch decision had been made, use the following strategy table to play each hand:

Your Hand Dealer’s Face-up Card
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 A
5-8 H H H H H H H H H H
9 H H H D/H D H H H H H
10 D D D D D D D H H H
11 D D D D D D D D H H
12 H H H S S H H H H H
13 H S S S S H H H H H
14 S S S S S H H H H H
15 S S S S S H H H H H
16 S S S S S H H H H H
17+ S S S S S S S S S S
A,2 H H H H H H H H H H
A,3 H H H H H H H H H H
A,4 H H H H H H H H H H
A,5 H H H H D H H H H H
A,6 H H H D D H H H H H
A,7 S S S Ds Ds S S H H H
A,8 S S S S S S S S S S
A,9 S S S S S S S S S S
2,2 H H H P P P H H H H
3,3 H H H P P P H H H H
4,4 H H H H H H H H H H
5,5 D D D D D D D H H H
6,6 H H P P P H H H H H
7,7 S P P P P P H H H H
8,8 P P P P P P P P H H
9,9 S S P P P S P P S S
10,10 S S S S S S S S S S
H Hit
S Stand
D Double if Possible, Otherwise Hit
Ds Double if Possible, Otherwise Stand
D/H D/H = Double with 6 decks (Playtech), hit with 8 decks (Grand Virtual)
P Split (Pair)

House Edge and Rule Variations

Using optimal strategy the house edge is 0.16% on Playtech and World Gaming software (6 decks) and 0.18% on Grand Virtual software (8 decks).

Variance and Results Over Bonus Wagering Requirement

Blackjack Switch has lower variance than regular blackjack because large number of rounds are pushes (one hand wins, the other one loses) and dealer 22 results in a push. The standard deviation per unit wagered is estimated to be around 0.85. The following table shows Chance of Gain, Risk of Busting and the Bonus EV for different wagering requirements and bet sizes when completing play-through on Black Switch. The bet sizes are expressed as bet per one hand and each round consists of two hands. See the return and variance calculator for other bet sizes and WRs.