One question I get asked a lot about blackjack is why the house has an advantage at all. If the player just mimicked the dealer strategy, wouldn't the odds be in his favor, because of the 3 to 2 on a blackjack?
The answer is that the reason the house has the advantage is if both you and the dealer bust then you lose
. In other words, the dealer enjoys a positional advantage. So, if you mimicked the dealer strategy, then you would do quite badly because you wouldn't be getting the benefits of doubling, splitting, surrender, or the information of one opponent card.
Wouldn't it be nice if when both you and the dealer busted, then you would win? That is what happens in Zombie blackjack
if (1) the dealer started with a 7 to ace up and (2) busted with 23 or more. This benefit is paid for with the Geoff Hall "push 22" rule. In other words, if the dealer draws to 22, then any non-busted player bets on the table push instead of win.
The game is currently on field trial at the Venetian where I played it yesterday. Table minimum is $10. I played for about an hour and was up about $90. My first playable hand (the true first was a dealer blackjack) won because of the Zombie feature. It seems about ten bets over the hour were saved by it. Of course, some wins turned into pushes too, due to the push-22 rule. All in all, I think it has a high fun factor. Whenever anybody had an entombed bet (a term I use for a busted bet with chances of winning) the table would yell "Zombie!" if the dealer busted. Especially an Asian man at third base.
There are a lot of strategy changes compared to blackjack. Lots more hitting, like hard 17 vs. 8-A, and less splitting and doubling.
My own analysis is based on an infinite deck. Geoff kindly provided math reports by Elliot From and GLI but both are simulation based, meaning there would be small errors. I'm hoping that QFIT will stumble on this thread and take an interest.
I need to rewrite my whole combinatorial blackjack program to handle strange rules like these and Magic 21. My current one is getting so long and confusing that it is difficult to makes unconventional rule changes to it.
So, please click the link and let me know what you think. As always, I welcome questions, comments, and especially corrections. The question for the poll is would you play Zombie Blackjack?
Link: Zombie blackjack
Last edited by: Wizard on Aug 10, 2017
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.