Blackjack Swap – also known as Blackjack Switch – is an exciting blackjack variant that allows players to swap cards between two hands in an attempt to beat the dealer. A combination of rules that help the player and those that benefit the dealer combine to make Blackjack Swap both a fun game, and one that is carries a rather small house edge.
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Blackjack Swap Rules
A hand of Blackjack Swap starts with the player making two bets of equal size. The dealer then deals out two separate blackjack hands to the player, as well as a hand to himself. Both player hands are dealt face up, while the dealer’s hand has one face up card and one face down card.
As in regular online blackjack, the dealer will check for blackjack if they have an ace or ten as their up card. All player hands lose to a dealer blackjack, except for a player blackjack, which pushes.
The player now has the option to switch the second cards dealt to each hand, if that would result in two hands the player would prefer to play. For instance, imagine the player holds the following hands: T/5 and 6/A. Normally, these hands would be considered 15 and 17. However, in Blackjack Swap, the player may swap the 5 and the A, resulting in a hand of 21 and another hand of 11.
If a player begins a hand before swapping with 21, that hand is a blackjack, and automatically wins; however, in Blackjack Swap, blackjacks only pay even money. If a player switches to a “blackjack,” it simply counts as a 21.
Players may then play both of their hands as if they were normal blackjack hands, including doubling and splitting as normal. After the player stands or busts with both hands, the dealer reveals his hand. The dealer typically must hit with all hands of 16 or less, along with soft 17s, and stand with any other hands of 17 or more.
Each player hand is considered individually against the dealer, and all bets win even money. If the dealer busts, all player hands win as in normal blackjack, with one exception. If the dealer busts with a 22, that hand pushes with any player hand (except for a natural blackjack).
Blackjack Swap Strategy
Precise strategy for when to switch and when to keep the two hands as they were originally dealt is rather complex. However, for the most part, this isn’t a problem; most decisions for swapping hands are actually rather simple and obvious. The remaining cases are rather close, meaning that you won’t be making major mistakes as long as you switch yourself out of obviously weak hands (like 14, 15, and 16) and into stronger hands (like 9-11, or 18-21). Charts are available that can be used to determine what the correct play is in all situations, but they are more difficult to use than standard blackjack strategy charts.
As for the most basic blackjack strategy, the fact that the dealer pushes on 22 does require some changes from normal blackjack basic strategy. In Blackjack Swap, the player should be more conservative when doubling down; double down with 11 against a dealer 9 or less, with 10 against a dealer 8 or less, and with 9 only against a dealer 6, for instance. Splits are also less common; for instance, the commonly known rule of “always split eights” now has exceptions, and the player should merely hit against a ten or any ace.
The bottom line is that Blackjack Swap carries a similar house edge to regular blackjack; under the most common rules, the casino has a 0.58% edge.