Share this

Wizard Recommends

Last Updated: September 15, 2016

Zero

Introduction

Introduction

Zero is a card game that combines elements of blackjack with baccarat. The object of the game is to win by having a point total closer to 0 than the dealer.

The game was offered at the Golden Nugget in August, 2011.



Rules

  1. The game is played using 6 or 8 standard 52-card decks. Six decks are used at the Golden Nugget.
  2. The game uses the same point system as baccarat. Tens and face cards are worth 0 points, aces are worth 1 point, and cards 2 through 9 are scored at face value. The point total of a hand is the last digit of the sum of its cards.
  3. To begin, the player makes a Zero wager.
  4. The player receives two cards face up. The dealer receives one card face up and one card face down.
  5. If the player's first two cards form a pair that adds to 0 points, a Zero Pair, the player automatically wins and is paid 3 to 2 on his wager. Zero Pairs apply to the player's hand only.
  6. If the player does not have a Zero Pair, the player will play out his hand using any of the following options:
    • Stand with his two cards.
    • Hit and draw a third card.
    • Double down on any three-card hand by making an additional wager equal to the original wager. Players may not double down for less.
    • Split any two cards totaling 8 or 9 points by making an additional wager equal to the player's original Zero wager. (Unlike blackjack, the two cards do not have to be a pair). The player may split once only. A split hand is treated like any other Zero hand, except Zero Pairs do not apply.
  7. After all players have acted, the dealer reveals his hole card and draws an additional card if his two-card total is 5 or more. The dealer will hit again on three-card totals of 5 or more. The dealer must stand on a four-card hand.
  8. The dealer compares his total to the player's total.
    • If the player's total is lower than the dealer's total, the player wins and is paid even money on his wager and double down wager (if made).
    • If the dealer's total is lower than the player's total, the player loses his wager and double down wager (if made).
    • If the totals are equal, the player's wager(s) push.

Analysis

The house edge of a Zero wager is 2.2637% in a 6-deck game and 2.2421% in an 8-deck game. These values were calculated using combinatorial analysis assuming optimal play.

Basic Strategy

The following table shows the basic strategy. In a 6-deck game, the basic strategy produces a house edge of 2.2697%, which is 0.006% higher than optimal play. In an 8-deck game, the basic strategy produces a house edge of 2.2463%, which is 0.004% higher than optimal play.

Zero Pays

Zero Pays is an optional side bet that wins if the player's first two cards add to 0 points or if the player?s first two cards plus the dealer?s up card add to 0 points. The following two tables show the pay table and the probability of being dealt each winning hand for a 6 and 8 deck game. The lower right cells show the corresponding house edge of 7.75% for six decks and 7.43% for eight decks.

Zero Pays — Six Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
3 of a Kind Zero Flush 50 960 0.000064 0.003191
3 of a Kind Zero 25 23,328 0.001551 0.038777
3 Card Zero Flush 10 98,496 0.006549 0.065490
2 Card Zero Flush (w/ the player's two cards) 5 495,528 0.032947 0.164737
3 Card Zero 3 1,418,688 0.094328 0.282984
2 Card Zero (w/ the player's two cards) 2 1,162,512 0.077295 0.154590
Other -1 11,840,448 0.787266 -0.787266
Total 15,039,960 1.000000 -0.077498

Zero Pays — Eight Decks

Event Pays Combinations Probability Return
3 of a Kind Zero Flush 50 2,688 0.000075 0.003761
3 of a Kind Zero 25 56,832 0.001590 0.039758
3 Card Zero Flush 10 236,544 0.006619 0.066191
2 Card Zero Flush (w/ the player's two cards) 5 1,185,056 0.033161 0.165805
3 Card Zero 3 3,369,984 0.094301 0.282903
2 Card Zero (w/ the player's two cards) 2 2,757,888 0.077173 0.154346
Other -1 28,127,488 0.787081 -0.787081
Total 35,736,480 1.000000 -0.074317

Acknowledgments

I'd like to thank Cindy Liu for the math analysis of Zero, and SquareJack Gaming for sharing it with me.

Official Zero page by the game owner.


Written by: Michael Shackleford

Wizard Recommends