23 Dec

Rules and Strategy for Zappit 21

How to play Zappit Blackjack, a unique 21 variant by famed gambling games inventor Geoff Hall.

How to Play Zappit Blackjack, a Unique 21 Game by Geoff HallZappit Blackjack is by no means your typical game of 21. Yes, the basic rules exist, but players are given more options than ever before. Specifically, a player can “zap” their entire hand, tossing it aside and receiving all new cards; a virtual rewind, if you will. Best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing to do it. There’s no extra charge – no additional bets – you either Zappit, or you don’t.

This game is the patented brainchild of Geoff Hall, the famous inventor of multiple well-known gambling games, including his most popular creation of all, Blackjack Switch. He sold Zappit to Shuffle Master / Scientific Games, which has since distributed it into the land-based casino and online casino realms.

SG Digital chose to make some of the game’s rules customizable. As such, you’ll find the house edge can vary from one live or online casino to the next. When SG first debuted to game at the 2015 Global Gaming Expo, it came with a house edge of 1.24% (RTP 98.76%). The rules imposed by Bodog and Bovada online casinos deliver a slightly lower house edge of 1.15% (RTP 98.85%).

Any blackjack strategist will tell you that those are abysmal odds. The best blackjack games offer an RTP of at least 99.65% (edge 0.35% and below). If you’re playing for entertainment, Geoff Hall’s Zappit Blackjack is a great choice, but if it’s the best odds you seek, there are far better games to choose from.

With that being said, let’s move on to the rules section of our tutorial.

How to Play Zappit Blackjack

In Zappit 21, players are given the esteemed advantage of tossing out their hand for a new one. To zap a hand is to throw away all the current cards in that hand and be dealt a completely new 2-card hand to work with. You can only do this once per hand, and only if certain conditions are met.

A player may only elect to zap their hand away if its current total is 15, 16 or 17 points, regardless of how many cards make up that total. Some land-based casinos extend the zap-ability to totals of 18, but the rules we’re covering today – those found at Bodog and Bovada casinos, wherein the lowest house edge of 1.15% can be found – do not.

As a trade off for being able to zap these hands, the dealer gets one major advantage of his own. Any player hand that is still active (has not busted), and is not a natural blackjack (before or after zapping), will push against the dealer’s 22.

Probabilities state that the dealer will have 22 on 7.62% of all his hands, or about 1 in 13 hands. At the same time, based on basic strategy, player’s will be zapping 20.7% (about 1 in 5) of all their hands.

The following rules are applied by Bodog/Bovada:

Specific Rules of Play

  • Decks: 6
  • Soft 17: Dealer Hits
  • Doubling: Yes, on any 2 cards
  • Splitting: Yes
  • Double after Split: Yes
  • Resplit Aces: No
  • Draw to Split Aces: No
  • Surrender: No
  • Dealer Checks for Blackjack: Yes
  • Dealer 22: Pushes against all but Blackjack
  • Blackjack Before Zap Pays: 3 to 2
  • Blackjack After Zap Pays: 1 to 1

Zappit 21 Strategy

Zappit 21 offers players more options than the average blackjack game. Along with choosing when to Stand, Hit, Double and Split, players also have the opportunity to “Zap” their hand away in favor of a new pair of cards.

In order to deliver a perfect strategy for Zappit Blackjack, we must include times when it is and is not appropriate to Zap a hand total of 15, 16 or 17, so that’s where we’ll start.

When to Zap on 15, 16 or 17

The zapping strategy is very simple. Follow these rules and you’ll do fine:

  • Hard Total of 15, 16 or 17Always Zap
  • Soft Total of 15, 16 or 17 Never Zap
  • Paired 8-8Split against Dealer’s 6 or 7; otherwise Zap
  • Paired 9-9Zap against Dealer’s 9, 10 or Ace; Stand against 2, 3 or 7; otherwise Split

If your hand does not meet the above requirements, or you are unable to Zap according to the above strategy, abide by the following Hard Hand, Soft Hand and Paired Hand charts below.

How to Decide a Hard Hand

A hard hand is one that contains no 11-point Ace.

Hard Total Correct Action by Situation
8 & Under Hit
9 Double against Dealer’s 6; otherwise Hit
10 Double against Dealer’s 2-8; otherwise Hit
11 Double against dealer’s 2-9; otherwise Hit
12 Stand against Dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
13 Stand against Dealer’s 3-6; otherwise Hit
14 Stand against Dealer’s 2-6; otherwise Hit
15-16 Zap if able; otherwise Stand against 2-6; Hit against 7-A
17 Zap if able; otherwise Stand
18-21 Stand

How to Decide a Soft Hand

A soft hand is one that does contain an 11-point Ace.

Soft Total Correct Action by Situation
13-15 Hit
16 Double against Dealer’s 6; otherwise Hit
17 Double against Dealer’s 5-6; otherwise Hit
18 Double against Dealer’s 5-6; Hit against 9-A; otherwise Stand
19-21 Stand

Conditions for Splitting Pairs

Paired hands can be opportunities in waiting. You can double your payoff by splitting at the perfect moments, but don’t get over zealous. You must follow this next chart precisely, showing you how to play Zappit Blackjack with any pair, in order to achieve the highest possible 98.85% RTP.

Note that splitting is only allowed so many times per hand. If you are unable to Split a hand that is suggested for splitting, please refer to the above Hard/Soft Hand charts above for further direction.

Pair Correct Action by Situation
Ace-Ace Split
2-2 Split against dealer’s 5-7; otherwise Hit
3-3 Split against dealer’s 5-7; otherwise Hit
4-4 Hit
5-5 Double against dealer’s 2-8; otherwise Hit
6-6 Split against dealer’s 4-6; otherwise Hit
7-7 Split against dealer’s 3-7; Stand on 2; otherwise Hit
8-8 Zap against 2-5 or 8-A; otherwise Split
9-9 Zap against 9-A; Split against 4-6 or 8; otherwise Stand
10-10 Stand


  • Adalene Lucas

    is our jack of all trades here at DBC. She is a skilled coder, gambler, writer and webmaster. She lives in Manitoba where she enjoys the lush landscapes and camping near Tulabi Falls. Nature gives her inspiration to write. When she's not immersed in nature, her favorite words are "game theory". She lives with her husband and their two Labradors, Kophy and Whisper.

Jackpotcity.com  is our editorial pick for your gaming needs. Currently offering an entire suite of casino games, as well as a wide range of Canadian deposit options, JackPotCity truly offers world-class gaming.


See Jacktpot City
See Jacktpot City
Our 2023 editorial pick for your gaming needs