Blackjack is the most popular game in casinos today and gaming manufacturers want to keep it that way. Casinos are changing the rules of the blackjack to increase their edge and generate more revenue while reducing the fun of the game for many players. Gaming manufacturers are looking to help casino operators increase revenue a different way.
The companies who create the games for casinos are changing blackjack. The goal is to make the experience different and more interesting for players looking for something new when they play blackjack. It probably isn’t a coincidence that many of the new variations of blackjack and blackjack side bets come with a larger house edge than the original game.
Scientific Games and Shuffle Master are the leaders of the pack when it comes to new games in casinos today. They’re constantly developing and testing new variations of blackjack among other games. They currently offer seven different variants and the newest, Zombie Blackjack, just sounds kind of strange.
Okay, the game of Zombie Blackjack isn’t very scary but it is strange. Players may have a chance to bring a busted hand “back to life” (like a zombie) depending on the dealer’s upcard. If the player busts and the dealer’s upcard is a 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King, or Ace the original hand can be brought “back to life” (like a zombie).
When the “dead” (like a human before it becomes a zombie) hand is brought back, it’s isn’t replayed. The hand is just no longer “dead” or busted. If the dealer busts with exactly a 23, 24, 25, or 26 then the player is paid even money, or 1 to 1, on the bet for the “dead” hand. We can all use a second chance, eh?
Blackjack variants aren’t for everyone. The twists in these variations of blackjack can take away from the fun of the original game that players have loved for so many years. Furthermore, the house edge on some of these different blackjack games can be worse than traditional blackjack games. Some blackjack variants can even have a larger house edge than when a traditional blackjack game pays 6:5 on a natural blackjack.
Blackjack variants all start on the casino floor with live dealers. Despite the growing popularity of electronic and stadium blackjack they typically only deal the traditional game. If any of these variants explode in popularity you may see them expand to more live tables in the casino first. If they’re really popular maybe they’ll move to the machine versions. Popular games like Blackjack Switch may never reach these electronic tables since a dealer must be notified when switching cards.
The innovation doesn’t stop with changes to the actual game. Gaming manufacturers and casino operators have become obsessed with side bets. These options use the cards in the game but may not actually be related to the game. Scientific Gaming has no less than 12 different blackjack side bets. These side bets always come with a significant house edge.
On the upside, these games offer new ways to be entertained while in the casino. Of course, the downside is that many of the innovations in casino gambling come with a higher house edge. Personally, I want the traditional game when I play blackjack. If I’m in the mood for some sass or volatility in my card game I’ll play something else.