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Last Updated: October 6, 2015

Zappit

Introduction



Zappit is a game invented by Geoff Hall of Blackjack Switch fame, which he sold to Scientific Games a.k.a. Shuffle Master.

The thrust of the game is that if the player gets a 15 to either 17 or 18, depending on the rules, then he can "zap" the hand and replace it with two random cards. To offset this rule, if the dealer gets a 22, any bets left standing will push instead of win.

The game is available at Bodog and Bovada Internet casinos and scattered land casino placements.

Rules



Zap It is based on conventional blackjack rules, which I assume the reader is familiar with. As in blackjack, some of the rules are configurable but the two definitive rules of Zappit are:

  1. If the player's initial two cards total within a certain range, for example 15 to 17, then he may "zap it" and exchange those cards for the next two cards in the deck.
  2. The player may not zap after a zap nor after splitting.
  3. If the dealer busts with 22, then any player hands still standing shall push.


In addition to the usual configurable rules in blackjack, some new ones this game presents are:

  1. If the player gets a blackjack after zapping, then is it an immediate winner or counted as 21 points?
  2. If a blackjack after zapping is treated as an immediate winner, what does it pay?
  3. Does the dealer peek for blackjack before or after the player has the opportunity to zap?


Following are the fine points of the rules as played at Bovada.

  1. Six decks are used.
  2. Player may zap between 15 and 17 points.
  3. Player may zap before dealer peeks for blackjack.
  4. A blackjack before zapping pays 3 to 2.
  5. A blackjack after zapping is an immediate winner and pays 1 to 1.
  6. Player may surrender.
  7. Player may double after a split.
  8. Split aces get one card each. Player may not re-split aces.
  9. Dealer hits soft 17.
  10. I assume that the cards are shuffled after every hand.



Rack card from the 2015 Global Gaming Expo.


Following are the fine points of the rules according to the rack card passed out at the 2015 Global Gaming Expo. Some of them were not stated on the card but were my observation on how the game was played at the show.

  1. Six decks are used.
  2. Player may zap between 15 and 18 points.
  3. Dealer peeks for blackjack before player may zap.
  4. A blackjack before zapping pays 3 to 2.
  5. A blackjack after zapping counts as 21 points.
  6. Player may not surrender.
  7. Player may double after a split.
  8. Split aces get one card each. Player may not re-split aces.
  9. Dealer hits soft 17.
  10. I assume a cut-card is used for shuffling purposes.



Screenshot from Bovada


Strategy



The following strategy will work for any game of six to eight decks where the dealer hits a soft 17.

The following strategy will show when to zap on your initial two cards.

The following strategy shows how to play your cards after the zapping phase of the game.





Analysis



After running a simulation based on the rules and strategy above, I get the following house edges:

  • Bovada rules: 1.15%
  • G2E rules: 1.24%


The player will zap 20.7% of hands under the Bovada rules and 19.5% under the G2E rules. The reason for the difference is the player can zap against a dealer blackjack under the Bovada rules but not under the G2E rules.

The dealer will get a 22 on 7.26% of all initial hands and 7.62% of hands where the dealer does not have a blackjack. These figures assume the dealer is forced to play out every hand, even if every player surrenders or busts first.




Written by: Michael Shackleford

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