Switch Hands Blackjack – a New Blackjack Type
Apr 22, 2016
Sands Casino introduced a new blackjack type, Switch Hands Blackjack, to their floors. The game was invented by a Pennsylvania native, who’s interest in gaming was sparked when gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania.
- Switch Hands Blackjack, the newest blackjack type
- “It’s ‘Blackjack – only better’.”
When Pennsylvania legislators expanded the list of legal casino games little did they know about its potential effects on creative minds, such as Kutztown University graduate, Stephen Berkowitz. “When gambling was legalized in Pennsylvania, it really sparked my interest in game design,” says Berkowitz.
When you think of casino games, blackjack is bound to cross your mind. “I thought to myself, what are the popular games that people love to play,” explains his train of thoughts Berkowitz, revealing the most important question: “how can we make them even better?” These and some similar questions sparked the idea of Switch Hands Blackjack, which is already on its path to conquer casino floors.
New blackjack type in the making
Some might think that it was a simple process, however, the initial idea needed plenty of refinement. Berkowitz visited Las Vegas and Atlantic City casinos to examine the most popular casino games in play. He also collaborated with Charles R. Mousseau, a famous gaming mathematician, and Ed Kokosky, a renowned game developer. Together, they tweaked the game rules and odds to comply with both the casinos’ and players’ needs.
Berkowitz joined forces with Global Innovative Gaming, also known as G.I. Gaming, founded by a disabled US veteran. G.I. Gaming’s goal is to invent unique, easy-to-learn casino table games. These qualities are extremely important when it comes to new casino games, since only one percent of them reach brick and mortar casinos.
Switch Hands Blackjack on the rise
Switch Hands Blackjack was awarded the silver medal at Casino Journal’s the ‘Best New Table Games Competition’ in 2014. Shortly after, the new blackjack type hit the floor of Sands Bethlehem casino, which is only a few miles away from Berkowitz’s hometown. Sands Bethlehem is most successful casino in Pennsylvania, offering 200 table games, including a 30-table Poker Room.
The rules of Switch Hands Blackjack are as simple as they come. Obviously, they’re based on classic blackjack rules. The difference is that the player is dealt two face-down cards on top of his face-up cards, the hand. If he’s not satisfied with his face-up cards, he can exchange them for the face-down cards for an additional bet.
“We hope gamers appreciate a fun, new take on an old standard.”
“I’m surprised someone has not done this before,” said Michael Shackelford, American mathematician and casino game analyst. “I played this at Sands Bethlehem and it was fun,” shared his experience a player. Other blackjack enthusiasts complained about the ante, which was set at 20%. Ante is an obligatory wager from players, which has to be placed before any cards are dealt or revealed.
Just like other casino games, Switch Hands Blackjack has it fans and haters. Either way, players talk about it, helping the game’s rise to fame and popularity. Switch Hands Blackjack rules were already added to the site of New Jersey’s Division of Gaming Enforcement, indicating that the game might soon appear at the floors of Atlantic City casinos.