Blackjack is the most popular game in casinos today. There are players who can, and will, sit at a blackjack table for an entire visit to a casino. Blackjack sessions for serious blackjack players can last a few hours for a local or a full week, literally, for someone on vacation.
However, not every person visiting a casino wants to play the same game for hours on end. Even if playing blackjack is a pastime for many gamblers, it can be nice to play something a little different when visiting a casino. Gaming manufacturers and casino operators always have these players in mind when thinking about new games.
Playing blackjack often can put players in a bubble. Even if they want to try a different game, they may not want to stray too far from the game they know and love. There are always new blackjack variations in casinos for these players. Some games become popular and have a long life while others just fade away due to a lack of interest.
Two variations of blackjack recently hit casino floors in Las Vegas. Red Rock Casino is heavily promoting Zappit Blackjack by Scientific Gaming and Monte Carlo is now offering Mega Blackjack from AGS.
Many blackjack players choose the game because of its relatively low house edge for the casino. Even the worst blackjack games have a smaller house edge than some other table games in casinos today. These two games follow the lead of the original game with a low house edge under 2% for the casino.
As you’d imagine Zappit Blackjack is based on regular blackjack. The twist in this game is that if a player is dealt a hard two-card total of 15, 16, 17 or 18, they have the option to “zappit” by taking two new cards. The dealer first checks for blackjack and if they don’t win on the peak, the blackjack game resumes with two new cards and regular rules.
If a player is dealt a natural blackjack with the first two cards, they will be paid 3:2. If the player is dealt a “blackjack” after changing cards with a Zappit they are only paid 1:1. This hand is considered 21, not blackjack. The other twist in the dealer’s favor is that the dealer busts with a point total of 22.
Six decks are used in Zappit Blackjack. A player may double after splitting but they cannot surrender. Dealers will hit on soft 17. According to Wizard of Odds, the house edge for Zappit Blackjack is only 1.24% under these rules with perfect play. He also says that a player will only Zappit on 19.5% of the hands. You can learn more about Zappit Blackjack at Scientific Games.
Mega Blackjack is based on blackjack with the variation that a player will win higher odds on Blackjacks and 21s. Additionally, a player will push when the dealer busts with 4 cards or more. There’s also an optional Buster Blackjack side bet where players win odds when the dealer busts with 4 cards or more.
When a player is dealt a natural blackjack they’re paid at least 3:1. If the player is dealt a natural blackjack with a suited Ace-King they are paid 5:1. Both wins are a push if the dealer also has blackjack. All other winning player 21s are paid 3:2, even after splits or doubles.
A player may take even money if the dealer has an Ace as an up card and the player has a Blackjack. Mega Blackjack uses six decks of cards. A player may double after splitting but they cannot surrender. Dealers will hit on soft 17. According to Wizard of Odds, the house edge in Mega Blackjack is between 0.82% and 1.34% with perfect play.
Even though Monte Carlo uses the least player friendly rules, the house edge is still better than most blackjack games they offer. MGM Resorts International casinos mostly offer 6:5 blackjack. You can learn more about Mega Blackjack at AGS.