Playtech Blackjack Switch

Published: June 5, 2012

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Blackjack Switch is a unique blackjack variant offered by the leading software provider at its online casinos. In Blackjack Switch the player plays with two hands, each having wagers of equal amounts. After the initial two cards are dealt on each player hand and on the dealer hand, the player can make the switch move, which gives the game its name. In this optional move the player can interchange the second cards dealt to each of his hands. Thereafter each hand is played independently in the usual manner.

The switch must be made only if the strength of the combination of the two player hands can be increased. In some cases this is obvious. Suppose the player is dealt a ten and a five in the first hand and a five and a ten in the second hand. With hand values of 15, both hands are weak. A switch will give two tens to the first hand and two fives to the second hand. The first hand will have a hand value of 20, which is ideal for standing. The second hand will have a hand value of 10, which is ideal for hitting.

However, in most cases the decision to switch or not to switch will not be so obvious. Special Blackjack Switch tables have to be used. Expectation values have been determined through computer simulation for player’s two card hand values versus the dealer’s face up card. The dealer’s face up card is placed in the columns and the player’s two card hand values are placed in the rows. Player’s hands with aces and with pairs are shown separately. The expectation values range from +1 to -1. An expectation value close to +1 indicates a high probability of that combination eventually winning. An expectation value close to -1 indicates a high probability of that combination eventually losing. The player adds the expectation values of both hands as dealt and assuming the switch will be made. If the total of expectations after a switch is greater than the total before a switch only then must the player make a switch.

The switch move gives the player an advantage and increases the average return to over 100%. Therefore the playing field needs to be leveled for the online casino. Some of the blackjack rules are modified. Blackjack pays even money and not 3 to 2. Also the dealer pushes on 22 whereas the player busts on 22.

Playtech Blackjack Switch also offers an optional side bet called Super Match. This bet is based on the first four cards dealt to the player. The payouts are as follows. A pair pays out even money, three of a kind pays out 3 to 1, two pairs pays out 8 to 1and four of a kind pays out 40 to 1. Because of this wager players may have to consider taking chances of busting in order to try for the higher payout.

The regular optimum blackjack strategy does not work for Playtech Blackjack Switch. Separate tables have been created keeping in mind the specific rules for the variant. If Blackjack Switch is played using optimum strategy both for the switch move and the main game then the average return to the player is 99.4%. The Super Match side bet offers a lower return of 97.5%.


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