Using Tables in Blackjack


Before he makes any of the regular moves, the player has the Switch option. He can if he wants to, interchange the second dealt cards in each of his hands. After that, each hand is played independently in a healthy manner. Blackjack Switch has two aspects to the strategy. One deals with deciding whether or not to take the Switch and the other deals with playing out the hands after the decision to accept or reject the switch has been made. Tables are helpful for both decisions but different types of tables.

Given the player’s two dealt cards and the dealer’s face-up card computer simulations have determined the expectation for this three card combination. A larger positive value of the expectation implies that the player has a greater chance of winning and a larger negative value for the expectation means that the player has a greater chance of losing. Expectation values of all possible combinations have been tabulated. The dealer’s face up card is placed in the columns, and the player’s two card combinations are addressed as rows. For the large part, the rows are addressed as two card hand values, but hands with aces and hands with pairs are shown separately.

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This chart can be used to make a perfect decision for the Switch move. The player reads the expectation values for each of his two hands and totals them correctly taking into account the positive and negative values. Then the player visualizes the two hands in case the Switch is applied and similarly finds the total. If the total after the Switch is greater than the total before the Switch, the player must make the Switch move, otherwise not.

The Switch move gives the player a significant advantage. To counterbalance that some of the rules of blackjack have been tweaked for Blackjack Switch. The most important of these is that blackjack pays even money and not 2 to 1. Also, the dealer pushes on 22 whereas the player busts on 22. These changes render the standard strategy cards useless for Blackjack Switch, and the player has to use the dedicated Blackjack Switch strategy card. The rows and columns are the same as in the table described earlier. The cells do not have expectation values, but color and letter coded instructions for which move to make.

Blackjack Switch also has a side bet called Super Match. This bet is based on the player’s initial four cards and pays out even money for a pair, 3 to 1 for three of a kind, 8 to 1 for two pairs and 40 to 1 for four of a kind. This wager is voluntary, and the question arises whether the player should place this bet or not. This wager has a house edge of 2.5%. This is significantly more than the Blackjack Switch house edge, which is about 0.6%. But the payouts can be as high as 40 to 1 as compared to even money in the main game. Hence the side bet is on a greater risk-return curve and meant for the more aggressive players. To put things in perspective the house edge for European Roulette is 2.7%.

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