The new game of Zappit Blackjack may be coming to a casino near you, so get ready to play! It was first introduced at the Bodog group of casinos (online) and has since spread to many other online gaming sites. The game was developed by Geoff Hall, the man who invented Free Bet Blackjack and Blackjack Switch. Although it is technically a blackjack variant, it does play very much like the standard game with 52-card decks – no jokers or wild cards are in use.
The game is most likely to be seen in either 6-deck or 8-deck shoes and the rules may be slightly different at online casinos or land-based clubs. Make sure you play your best Basic Strategy and the game should be fun and easy to play.
Online Zappit Blackjack Rules
- Blackjack pays 3 for 2
- Players may split pairs up to three hands
- Players may double down on any two cards
- No re-split of aces is allowed, each ace receives on card only
- Late Surrender is allowed after viewing first two cards
- Special Zappit Option on original two cards totaling 15, 16 or 17
- Surrender also allowed after Zappit
So, the key word here is Zappit, which is what you get to do to any 15, 16 or 17 on your first two cards. Since that’s a fairly lousy total, you’d probably like to get rid of those hands for new hands, right? That’s what the Zappit button is for. You Zap away your 15,16 or 17 and the website gives you two new cards, which may or may not help.
With hope, you get a better hand to play. You can’t Zap again, but if you still don’t like your two cards you can surrender and give up half of your wager. On the other hand, if you get a 21, that’s good. You don’t get the full 3 for 2 for a Zapped blackjack, but you will get even money.
Land Based Zappit Blackjack Rules
There are a couple rule differences at land-based casinos for the game of Zappit. These include either Dealer hits soft 17 or Dealer Stands on soft 17, and double down hands may be restricted to 10 and 11 only. Ideally, the rules are the same as the online ones listed above, but you’ll have to check carefully.
So far, Surrender is not offered at casinos, but at land-based properties a Zappit Blackjack pays 3 for 2. That makes the game very good. Maybe not quite as liberal as Atlantic City blackjack, but the house edge is pretty small, close to .75-percent. The online house edge is closer to 1.05-percent.
To offer the Zappit feature, the player has to give something back so the game retains that house edge. In this case, just like with Freebet Blackjack, the trade-off is that when the dealer busts with a total of 22, all remaining player hands become a push. Yes,that means you can split, double, hit-out or stand on a 20 and you wont’ get paid. Bummer. That’s the trade.
Yes, the dealer is going to make 22 once in a while, but overall it isn’t going to be that often, so you don’t have to worry about it. In reality, the dealer will make 22 about 6 times in 100 hands. Obviously if you had 20 every time it would be terrible, but you will have a blackjack or a bust hand yourself part of the time too. The rest you’ll have to live with.
Your strategy is to get rid of those 15’s and 16’s virtually every hand by using the Zappit option. You’ll bust if you hit those totals, and 17 isn’t a good hand either, as it will either push or lose about two-thirds of the time. Might as well dump it, er, Zappit, and get two new cards.
Even a pair of 8’s isn’t going to be much good. The only time you shouldn’t Zappit is when the dealer up-card is a 6 or a 7.
If you are wondering why you want to get rid of those 15, 16 and 17 total hands, look at the percentage of times the dealer will bust showing each up-card:
When you are playing heads-up, the dealer is going to bust a little less than 23-percent of the time. That’s a good reason to try for a better two-hand start, and also a good reason to use surrender when the dealer has a ten or ace and you are holding a 15 or 16 after a Zappit (if allowed). you won’t be able to overcome the house edge by counting cards, but you can get close – and you can have fun with your mates.