We’re working through the popular blackjack variation called ‘blackjack switch’ and in this article we’ll introduce basic strategy for the game. We’ve previously explained the game of ‘blackjack switch’ explaining gameplay, rules and the house edge. We’ve explained the basic Las Vegas rules, Russian rules and the impact of specific rule variations to the house edge.
The primary difference between basic strategy for conventional blackjack and for blackjack switch is as follows: in blackjack switch there are two separate stages of basic strategy application. What this means is that the player must first evaluate and make a decision on whether or not to ‘switch’ their hand. Once this decision has been made, the second phase of the basic strategy is identical to basic strategy in conventional blackjack under the specific ruleset (eg: number of decks and other rules).
Most of the switching strategy is similar to evaluating whether or not to double down or switch in a conventional blackjack game. Much of the decision is determined by the play against certain upcards held by the dealer. A major component of the strategy is also properly ranking the opening hands. The ‘desired hands’ in blackjack switch have been defined by Cindy Liu and are as follows and in descending order:
Blackjack, 21, 20, 19, AA, 11, 10, 9, 8/18 and 8-8 against a 2-6 upcard
Generally speaking, the switching strategy is intuitive for any player that understands the basics of conventional blackjack. Over 25% of the time, the switch doesn’t change anything one way or another. That’s obvious enough. There’s a similar percentage of hands where the switch will obviously improve both hands. Again, this is easy to evaluate for anyone that understands conventional blackjack strategy. Another 20% of the time, a switch will allow a player to create one or two ‘desired hands’ as outlined above. The rest of the time, the hand decisions are intuitive but vary depending upon which upcard the dealer is holding.