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Last Updated: December 21, 2015

Change It 21

Introduction



Change It 21 is a blackjack variant I first noticed at the Fremont in Las Vegas on September 22, 2014. The rules are the same as blackjack, except the player may swap one of his initial two cards for the price of half his bet.

Rules



The base blackjack rules at the Fremont were as follows:

  • Six decks
  • Dealer hits soft 17
  • Blackjack pays 6-5 (Oy!)
  • No double after split
  • No surrender
  • No re-splitting aces

Following are the added rules for the Change It feature.

  • For a fee of half the original bet, the player may replace either of his initial two cards for the next (unseen) card in the deck. This fee is completely non-refundable.
  • After splitting, the player has the Change It feature available on each new hand created, but he may only change the new card drawn to the split hand. For example, if the player splits sixes and draws a ten to one of them, then he can't pay to replace the six.
  • A blackjack after switching still pays 6 to 5.

Strategy



According to my analysis, here are the situations where you should switch. The advantage by switching is shown in the right column.

Switching Table

Kept
Card
Switched
Card
Dealer
Card
Advantage
10 7 8 10.1%
10 7 9 6.0%
10 7 A 7.6%
10 6 7 19.3%
10 6 8 17.7%
10 6 9 14.7%
10 6 10 8.7%
10 6 A 10.3%
10 5 7 14.8%
10 5 8 13.5%
10 5 9 10.9%
10 5 10 5.1%
10 5 A 6.7%
10 4 7 9.9%
10 4 8 9.1%
10 4 9 6.8%
10 4 10 1.3%
10 4 A 3.0%
10 3 7 4.7%
10 3 8 4.2%
10 3 9 2.4%
9 7 7 10.0%
9 7 8 7.6%
9 6 7 5.5%
9 6 8 3.4%
8 7 7 3.2%


Analysis



According to my blackjack house edge calculator, the house edge of these rules, before the switching rule, is 2.14%. The switching rule cuts that by 0.41%. So, the net house edge is 1.73%. The astute reader should conclude his odds are much better off in conventional blackjack, as long as a blackjack pays 3 to 2.

Video



Enjoy my interview of Bruce Merati, the creator of Change It 21.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

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