Spanish 21 isn’t a new game but it’s still one of the more popular blackjack variants in casinos. This could be the best blackjack game offered In some casinos that offer traditional games with less than stellar rules.
While Spanish 21 is based on traditional blackjack, the game is a bit different. By a bit different, I mean you’ll definitely notice that there are no 10’s in the Spanish deck of cards.
A Spanish deck consists of 48 cards. There are no cards with the number 10. The other cards with a value of 10, face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are included in Spanish decks of cards. The cards with a value of 2–9 and Aces (one or 11) are also included.
The lack of 10’s is probably the most surprising difference between Spanish 21 and all other blackjack games. This isn’t the only difference between the games. There’s also a different pay schedule than traditional blackjack games.
Casinos are opening more table games as the country begins to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Some non-traditional games may have been closed to keep casinos within local casino capacity restrictions. Those games are starting to reopen.
Now is a good time to start looking at an alternative game if you enjoy blackjack. This is an option for players who may not be able to find space at the table for a traditional game. Similarly, a player may just want a change of pace from playing the same ole blackjack game and find Spanish 21 to be up their alley.
Spanish 21 is not blackjack
Spanish 21 is not blackjack. It’s also not entirely not blackjack. Let me explain.
Spanish 21 is a blackjack variant but it’s different enough that some inexperienced players might not know the difference. There are two main differences between traditional blackjack and Spanish 21.
Before seeing a card, players will notice that there’s a different pay schedule than blackjack. Once a player looks at the cards dealt, they’ll notice there are no 10’s in Spanish 21. The face cards are in the deck but the four 10’s aren’t.
The lack of 10’s in a blackjack-style game is a disadvantage to the players at first glance. That’s not quite the case. The removal of 10’s is balanced by different rules and payouts. Depending on the casino, the rules could give the Spanish 21game the lowest house edge available.
According to Wizard Of Odds, the house edge in Spanish 21 is under 1%. The side bets can have a higher house edge so it’s probably best to stick with the main Spanish 21 game.
Spanish 21 rules
Players receive fewer natural blackjacks since there are no 10’s in Spanish 21. That’s not the only difference from a traditional blackjack game. All of the differences in the rules are to the advantage of the player.
- Spanish 21 is played with 6 or 8 decks.
- A player wins if they receive a blackjack and the dealer has a blackjack.
- Players win any hand when they have a 21 and the dealer does not have a blackjack.
- Late surrender is available and players may also surrender after doubling down.
- Players may double down at any time. For example, a player can double after receiving a 5, 2, and 3 for a total of 11. In a traditional blackjack game, players may only double on two cards.
- A player may double after splitting as well.
- A player is allowed to hit or double after splitting Aces.
- Players can resplit Aces as well.
- Depending on the casino a dealer may hit or stand on 17.
It might take a minute to catch on to the Spanish 21 rules but they’re mostly in favor of the player. The differences from blackjack continue with how players are paid.
Spanish 21 payouts
Spanish 21 has more payouts than a traditional blackjack game. First, a player always receives 3:2 for a natural blackjack. The other Spanish 21 payouts may take some time to get used to.
- A player is paid 3:2 when they reach 21 with a 5-card hand.
- The player is paid 2:1 when they reach 21 with a 6-card hand.
- A player is paid 3:1 when they reach 21 with a 7-card hand.
The following three-card hands are treated differently than other hands with a value of 21.
- The player is paid 3:2 when they reach 21 with exactly a 6, 7, 8 (any suit).
- A player is paid 3:2 when they reach 21 with exactly a 7, 7, 7 (any suit).
- The player is paid 2:1 if either of these three-card hands is suited.
- A player is paid 3:1 if either of these three-card hands in spades.
If playing a regular hand of Spanish 21 isn’t enough you can play a side bet. There are different options but we’re just focusing on the base Spanish 21 game today.