A spooky variety of blackjack has been making the rounds in Las Vegas for a couple of years. Zombie Blackjack is also now beginning to appear in some online casinos also. This version of blackjack was invented by Geoff Hall, the same man that invented Free Bet Blackjack and Blackjack Switch. The entire premise of Zombie Blackjack is that sometimes the player can bust and still have a chance to win.
About Zombie Blackjack
No one likes to bust at blackjack. Busting is the worst possible outcome besides the dealer having a blackjack. Zombie Blackjack claims to make busting fun. We’re not sure it achieves that, but it does breathe new life into some blackjack hands that would normally lose.
The basic rules of Zombie Blackjack are just like the basic rules for 21. In a live casino the cards will be dealt from a shoe that contains six or eight decks. In the online variety of the game the software randomly shuffles and deals from one deck after each hand. The player gets two cards that are face up and the dealer gets one card face down and one face up.
The dealer is bound by the standard rules of blackjack, but he is required to hit a soft 17 like the rules in Atlantic City. This in itself gives the house a little added advantage when it comes to the percentages. The player is required to place a minimum bet and the player must also act on their hand first. If the dealer has a blackjack player loses.
Now, at this point the player would be allowed to double down, split, hit or stand, on their hand. There is no surrender allowed in Zombie Blackjack. Once the player has acted on their hand, if a bust happens, the bet is not automatically lost. If the dealer has a 7 or higher showing the hand is still alive. If the dealer goes on to bust that hand with a total of 23 or greater, the player wins the hand and the bet.
If all this sounds confusing, think about it in these simple terms. Whenever the blackjack dealer shows a 7 you MAY have a chance to win the hand even when you go over 21. This is all the casino wants you to know and they are counting on you to take advantage of the scenario thinking it will improve your chances.
It’s All About that Nasty Blackjack Total of 17
Anyone that plays blackjack seriously or for a living will tell you that 17 is an ugly total at the blackjack table. You don’t want to hold a hand of 17 in most cases, especially when the dealer shows 8-10 as an upcard. Assuming that the dealer has a ten in the hole, as we must always do, your 17 is dead in the water. It is not a hand that you can really hit in standard blackjack. Too many cards in the deck will bust you and cause you to lose.
On the other hand, a dealer 17 isn’t great either. Sure, the dealer will have to stand if he has a ten in the hole, but that ace in the hole suddenly makes that 17 an 18. Considering that the average winning total in blackjack is just a little bit over 18, that is a big difference. The point here is that 17 complicates life at the blackjack table.
So, what if there was a way to deal with a 17 more successfully. What if you could hit your hand when the dealer shows a 7 and not have to worry as much about busting? That would be like getting a second chance, right? Any gambler would tell you that second chances in a casino are not to be missed because they rarely come around.
Not so fast. Don’t get too excited about Zombie Blackjack at your favorite online casino. It won’t necessarily improve your chances to win, although you may get lucky from time to time.
Should You Play Zombie Blackjack Online?
At Counting Edge we tend to believe that blackjack variations are best enjoyed as a break from the regular game of blackjack. There is nothing wrong with playing these games if you want a little diversion. The problem comes when people convince themselves that they have a better chance of winning with these variations.
The casinos like to introduce new versions of blackjack to increase their house edge. You can rest assured that a blackjack game which deviates from the standard rules of blackjack is not going to offer you the 1% house edge that the regular game provides. The casino wants you to play the variation because they will win more in the long run. It also provides games like Zombie Blackjack to attract players that are new to blackjack. These games are usually accompanied with a fun theme and nice table graphics.
With all of that being said, some online casinos offer free to play versions of their games. It would be great to play one of these Zombie Blackjack games if you wanted to see how the overall odds of the game are affected by the new rules.
We recommend that you always begin your online casino search by checking out the online casinos that we have reviewed here at Counting Edge. These are casinos that you can trust for fairness and quick payouts which is important should you play blackjack for real money.