The notion of “power card” doesn’t really exist in regular blackjack. Or at least, it’s not part of the traditional vocabulary you’d use to define blackjack cards.
Indeed, the only game where you'll find both “blackjack” and “power cards” is the game of Black jack Switch.
In this game, power cards might exist, but the rules have nothing to do with regular blackjack.
You may be referring to either of two things when you say “power cards”:
- The highest-value cards like the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and 10
- The power cards or “trick” cards in Black Jack Switch
In the first case, yes, you can technically get a winning hand if the last hit you take is a “power card” (so a card of high value).
And in the second case, it’s against the rules to finish on a power card, so no.
Let’s go through both situations.
“Power” Cards in Regular Blackjack
One reason why this question can’t really apply to regular blackjack is that there’s no way a player can choose to finish on a power card.
Indeed, you’re not in control of what cards you can or can’t finish on in blackjack. A game of regular blackjack goes like this:
- Dealer deals players 2 cards each, then 2 for himself with one face-down
- Players choose to hit, stand, split or double down on their hand
- Players can choose to continue or stop taking hits
- The first who gets closest to 21, or who has a natural blackjack wins
If your hand’s total value is 11 points, then ending on a “power card” or 10-value card like 10, Jack, Queen or King, would get you a blackjack. Therefore, you'd win.
So technically, “ending” on a power card can get you a winning hand as long as your total hand value allows it.
It’s only interesting to stop taking hits and end on a power card if it makes sense to do so, points-wise.
If you already have, say, two power cards like a pair of Kings, then you should probably end there as well. But if you have a 2 and a Jack, you need to keep taking hits until you get closer to 21.
Black Jack Switch: Power Cards and Their Uses
This game goes under various names:
- Two Four Jacks
- Black Jack Switch
- Irish Switch
The plethora of names that this game goes by might be the reason why it gets confused with regular blackjack.
The game doesn’t really exist online, except for the version that was brought to the digital world of online casinos by Playtech.
You play Black Jack Switch with a regular pack of cards. Some of them have special in-game properties that aren’t tied to the card’s usual value.
The basic gist of the game is that every player gets dealt 7 cards, and has to get rid of their hand before everybody else.
While they’re busy shedding cards, other players use “power” cards (also known as “trick” cards) to prevent other players from being able to play, or to otherwise influence the game.
List of Power Cards
Here’s a comprehensive list of the power cards in Black Jack Switch:
- 2: forces the next player to take 2 cards, except if he has a 2 himself and thus dooming the next player to pick 4 cards. This can continue in multiples of 2 until a player doesn’t have a 2 in hand and must break the chain by picking up.
- 8: next player misses their turn. You can block this by playing a 7 so that the next player misses their turn instead.
- Jack: reverses direction of the game. When another Jack is played, the direction will go back to normal.
- King of Hearts: the next player has to pick up 5 cards. He can again block this with a 7.
- Ace: can be played at any time whatever the colour or suite of the card on the table. The player can also decide which suit or number he wants the next players to put down.
Power cards can be a great asset to get in your opponents’ way, but they can quickly become a pain if you’re getting close to winning and you still have one in your hand.
Indeed, as we mentioned, you can’t end on a power card. If that’s all you have left in hand, you have to pick another card and try to get rid of the power card.
Black Jack Switch Rules: How to Play
Now, all of the above might not have been fully understandable for those among you who have never played a game of Black Jack Switch.
It’s not a very complicated game, so here’s a quick step-by-step walk-through.
- Players are all dealt around 7 cards
- The remaining cards become the deck
- Take card from top of deck, place in centre to reveal it
- If it’s not a power card, the game begins
- If it’s a power card, more cards must be revealed until a non-power card appears
- Players must place consecutive cards that are the same suit/number as card on table
- If they don’t have a card of same suit/number, they pick a card
- If the deck starts running low, the discard pile gets recycled
- First player to get rid of his hand wins
When player has one last card, like in Uno, the player has to tell the other players around the table that he’s about to win by saying “Last Card!”
This gives other players the opportunity to play power cards against him so that they can try to prevent him from winning.
You can also try to predict what his final card might be by counting how many numbers & card suits are left, according to what’s already been dropped.
Lastly, if the player doesn’t warn the others that he’s on his last card, he’ll have to pick up 2 cards immediately.