How many times have you looked at your Blackjack hand wishing that you could exchange it and take your changes with a different pair of cards? Well, in Zappit Blackjack, substituting your cards is not merely reduced to wishful thinking and you are actually allowed to get a new hand with no more than a ZAP! The privilege does, however, come with a few restrictions – not just every hand can be exchanged – and there are no guarantees that your next hand will be an improvement or result in a Blackjack. This adds another layer of excitement to the game, making Zappit Blackjack an optimal choice for those who are slightly tired of the traditional version of the game.
Basic Zappit Blackjack Rules
Apart from the Zappit feature introduced by Geoff Hall, who later sold the variant to Scientific Games (Shuffle Master), Zappit Blackjack is not all that different from its conventional version. The game is played with 6 decks (reshuffled before every next session) and the objective is to land a hand with a total of 21 or outrank the dealer without busting. The dealers will push on a total of 22 and hit on soft 17 hands.
The players are allowed to split a maximum of three hands, drawing no more than one extra card per (split) Ace. Re-splitting the aces is not an option and if the players draw a 10 on the split ace, it will not be considered a Blackjack. Any two cards can be followed by the double down bet, increasing the player’s original wager. Insurance bet can be placed as well, protecting 50% of your stake if the dealer reveals Blackjack.
How to Play Zappit Blackjack
At Bovada Casino, Zappit Blackjack can be played in real money or practice play mode. The player starts the session by selecting the chip and submitting the bet. The virtual dealer will then draw the cards from the shoe, placing one of the house cards face down, while both of the player’s cards will be facing up.
The players can then choose between the following options:
- Hit – take an extra card to improve the total
- Stand – decide to play with the existing hand
- Surrender – give up and forfeit the bet
- Double down – double the initial stake and draw an extra card
- Split – split a pair of cards and play them as two separate hands
The plot twist happens when the player lands 15, 16, and 17 hands – this will immediately activate the Zap button, which will enable the players to exchange the hand for a new set of cards. The advantage that this gives to the player is curbed by the fact that the dealer’s 22 hand, which is technically a bust, is considered a push, even if the players hold a 21 hand.
Also, “zapping” the cards will not necessarily result in a better-ranked hand, and landing a Blackjack hand after zapping the card will change the payout rate from 3:2 to even pay.
Strategy & Tips
The course of action will be determined by the player’s total, the dealer’s up card, and the nature of the hand (soft or hard). To reduce the house edge, one may use the following strategy:
Hard hands strategy:
- Hit on 5 – 8 and dealer’s Ace or 2 – 10
- Hit on 9 and dealer’s Ace, 2 – 5 or 7 – 10
- Hit on 10 and dealer’s 9,10, and Ace
- Hit on 11 and dealer’s 10 and Ace
- Hit on 12 and dealer’s Ace, 2 – 4 or 7 – 10
- Hit on 13 and dealer’s Ace, 2, or 7 – 10
- Hit on 14 and dealer’s Ace, 7, 8, 9, and 10
- Hit on 15 and dealer’s 7, 8, and 9
- Hit on 16 and dealer’s 7 or 8
- Double down on 9 and dealer’s 6
- Double down on 10 and dealer’s 2 – 8
- Double down on 11 and dealer’s 2 – 9
- Stand on 12 and dealer’s 5 or 6
- Stand on 13 and dealer’s 3, 4, 5 or 6
- Stand on 14 – 16 and dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6
- Stand on 17 and dealer’s 2 – 10
- Always stand on 18 – 21
- Surrender the initial hand on 15 if the dealer has 10 or Ace
- Surrender the initial hand on 16 if the dealer has 9, 10 or Ace
- Surrender the initial hand on 17 if the dealer has Ace
Soft hands strategy:
- Hit on 13 – 15 and dealer’s Ace or 2 – 10
- Hit on 16 and dealer’s Ace, 2 – 5, or 7 – 10
- Hit on 17 and dealer’s Ace, 2 – 4 or 7 – 10
- Hit on 18 and dealer’s Ace, 9, or 10
- Double down on 16 and dealer’s 6
- Double down on 17 and dealer’s 5 and 6
- Double down on the initial 18 and dealer’s 5 and 6
- Stand on 18 and dealer’s 2, 3, 4, 7, or 8
- Always stand on 19 and 21
- Always split Aces
- Always keep the 10s and stand
- Split the 2s and 3s on the dealer’s 5, 6, and 7
- Split the 6s on the dealer’s 4, 5, and 6
- Split the 7s on the dealer’s 3 – 7
- Split the 8s on the dealer’s 2 – 8
- Split the 9s on the dealer’s 4, 5, 6, 8, or 9
The million-dollar question is, of course, when to zap? Basically, you can either ignore the option altogether or use it whenever available. And, since there is no option to zap on strong hands, such as 18, you will not be tempted to waste a solid winning chance.