Okay. So you’ve learned all of the rules of blackjack and have memorized blackjack basic strategy, including when to split pairs, and what to do with stiff hands, soft hands, hard hands and everything else. You may even count cards. You excitedly head to the casino and go toward the blackjack area only to find a game called Spanish 21.
What in the world is Spanish 21? Well, there are many different variations on the game of blackjack, with the most popular being pontoon and Spanish 21. The gameplay in Spanish 21 is basically the same, including basic strategy, but there are some big differences. Here’s what you need to know about the game.
The biggest difference between Spanish 21 and traditional blackjack is the deck. Traditional blackjack uses a standard 52-card deck. Spanish 21, however, uses a deck with 48 cards, which is accomplished by removing the four tens. Removing those tens tilts the odds farther in favor of the house, but don’t worry. There are other variations that help even that out.
Cards have the same value in Spanish 21 as in traditional blackjack, with aces standing for 1 or 11, face cards standing for 10 and every other card having its face value. The biggest difference in favor of the player is that a player 21 always wins in Spanish 21. In this variation, if you have a 21, you win no matter what the dealer has. With traditional blackjack, on the other hand, if you and the dealer both have 21 it is a push.
There are also changes in the payouts. Spanish has various bonus payouts for certain hands. In traditional blackjack, the only bonus payout is if you have a natural blackjack with two cards (an ace and a ten-value card), which usually pays 3:2. With Spanish 21, however, you get a 3:2 payout if you have a 21 with five cards. A six-card 21 pays out 2:1. A seven-card 21 pays out 3:1.
If you have a 21 using a 6-7-8 combination or a 7-7-7 combination, it pays out 3:2. If those cards are in the same suit, though, they pay out 2:1. If those cards are all spades, it pays out 3:1. There is also a special bonus if you have a 21 using that 7-7-7 combination and the dealer has a 7 card face up. If that happens, you receive a $1000 bonus for any bets ranging from $5 to $24. For any bets over $24, you get a $5000 bonus. The other players at the table will also be happy if this happens, though, because they get an envy bonus of $50 each.
In Spanish 21, you can double down on any card and are allowed to hit or double after splitting aces. Overall, the house edge in Spanish 21 is still one of the best odds in the casino. If the dealer stands on a soft 17, there is a house edge of 0.40%. If the dealer hits a soft 17, the house edge is 0.42% if doubling is allowed; if not it is 0.76%.