Blackjack Switch is one of the most challenging variants of online blackjack. It is a game exclusively in the portfolio of Playtech and can be played at Australian online casinos like Omni Casino and Mansion Casino. You play two hands against the single hand of the dealer with equal bets on each hand. After the initial two cards are dealt to each of your hands, you have the option of interchanging the second cards dealt to each hand. Then each hand is played independently as in multi-hand online blackjack games.
The switch is optional. You make it only when you can increase the combined strength of your hands. But the big issue is how to objectively evaluate the strength of the hands. If you base it on gut feeling you are likely to miss the optimum moves. Experts have taken the route of computer simulation to generate Blackjack Switch tables that can be used in an objective manner. This does take away from the challenge of playing Blackjack Switch. One way to combine the challenge and correctness of strategy is take a decision on your own and then validate it using the table before you make the move.
The Blackjack Switch tables are based on “expectation values” for the set of two cards dealt to your hand and the dealer’s face up card. The values range from +1 to -1. An expectation value close to +1 indicates a high probability of winning from that that combination. An expectation value close to -1 indicates a high probability of losing. You add the expectation values of both hands as dealt. Then you assume that the switch is made and add the expectation of the potentially changed hands. If the total of expectations after the proposed switch is greater than the total before the switch only then must you switch the cards. The facility to switch the cards gives players an advantage. This has to be balanced otherwise the average return will exceed 100%. Therefore, blackjack pays even money instead of 3 to 2 and the dealer pushes on 22 whereas the player busts on 22.
There is an optional side bet called Super Match in Playtech Blackjack Switch. This bet is decided on the first four cards dealt to the player. These are the two initial cards dealt to each hand. A pair pays even money, three of a kind pays 3 to 1, two pairs pays 8 to 1and four of a kind pays 40 to 1. 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 average return of 97.5%.