How to Play the Card Game Switch (aka Two Four Jacks or Black Jack)

Updated on March 31, 2018
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Marianne comes from Scotland and has always loved to play card games with her family and friends.

The Basic Rules of Switch

The basic rules for playing Switch are below with details of variations below.

What You Will Need:

  • Two or more players
  • A standard pack of 52 playing cards (or two packs for more than 4 players)

Similar Games

There are a number of different variants of 'Switch'.

Most of these are played with a standard set of cards:

  • Two Four Jacks
  • Blackjack
  • Mau Mau
  • Peanuckle

Some of these are played with custom cards including:

  • Flaps
  • Uno - the premises of Uno are very similar.

Dealing the Cards

To start a game deal each player 7 cards.

Any remaining cards should be placed in the middle as a stack.

Aim of the Game

The object of the game is to be the first player to get rid of all your cards.

How to play

You must put down a card that either matches the suit or rank of the card on the last card played.

For example if the last card played was the 5 of hearts you can play any card in the hearts suit, or any card with the number 5.

If you can't play a card you must pick up a card from the centre pile.

Variations

There are several variations of Switch. The important thing is to make sure all players are clear on what version they are playing before the game starts (so you don't have arguments in the middle of the card game)

Switch: Special or "Trick" Cards

Aces: If a player plays an Ace they can nominate a new suit that the person next to them has to play (unless they have another Ace in their hand)

Pick up 2: If the player before you plays a 2, you must either play a 2, or pick up 2 more cards

8 skips a go: If a player plays an 8 it skips the turn of the next person

Jack back: If someone plays a jack it reverses the order of the game

Last card rule: If you only have one card left in your hand you must declare 'last card' so that everyone can hear you. If you forget to declare last card, and the next player has taken their turn, you have to pick up 7 cards on your next go.

Variations on Rules

The rules below are some other common ones which you can agree to use if you want to mix things up a little:

Pick up 4: If the player before you plays a 4, you must either play a 4, or pick up 4 more cards

8 or wait: If a player plays a 8 the next person to them must play an 8 or skip a turn

Blackjack Switch Variation

Black Jack: If a player plays a black jack the next player needs to play a black jack or pick up the same amount of cards as were initially dealt (usually 7). If the next player does play a black jack the next again player must pick up double the hand that was initially dealt (usually 14 cards)

Red Jack: The Red Jack cancels out the Black jack

The Other "Blackjack" Card Game

Switch is sometimes known as Blackjack, but it is not to be confused with the card game 'Twenty-one' which is also known as Blackjack. This is more of a gambling/casino game where the aim is to get cards that add up to 'twenty-one'.

Switch with Sequences

Use the same rules as above, but you can play 'runs' or numerical sequences of cards of the same suit. For example if you had a 3 of hearts, 4 of hearts and 5 of hearts, you could play them all in one go.

More Rules and Variations

There are many more variations of Switch. If I have missed out a good one please let me know by commenting.

Questions & Answers

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        Andrew Wood 

        2 months ago

        We used to play pick up 5 cards for a black king, red king cancels it

        Also if you play a 7 you could play all the cards of that suit

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        Lair 

        7 months ago

        I always played ....

        A - change suit .. 2 -Pickup 2 .. 8 - miss a turn... BJack - pick up 7 ...Rjack- cancel 1 Jack.... King ...change direction in a game involving more than 2 players....

        You can do multi runs as long as they begin on the stack cards suit or number so for instance if it was on 2 spades ...you could play ( 2-h 3-h 3-c 2-c a-c a-s 2-d 3-d 4-d 5-d ) etc

        A player must call last card or cards if they can finish next turn ....you can't finish on a power card but you can on a run so the ideal last cards would be say (5s...5c...5d...5h) this way you can finish on any suit....

        We play for money ....every time you draw a card you pay a coin for it ....so if you have to pick up 7 you pay 7 coins ...

        Once you run out of coins you can't draw any more cards and are out...

        Very amazing tactical game ...personally I think it puts poker to shame...am surprised it's not more well known

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        Hilary Carr 

        15 months ago

        I used to play a version which worked more like Beggar My neighbour, the idea being to get ALL the cards, but for a black jack you put 5 cards, for a 2, 2 cards, but that was cumulative (so you could end up putting 8 cards if all the 2s came close together)... the redjack simply reversed the direction of play when playing with 3 or more players

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        dick b 

        2 years ago

        we play using the black queen rule. play a black queen in normal play gives you the chance to swap hands with any other player. if the other player has the other black queen they may play it and stop the swap

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