Spanish 21 Rules, Odds, and Strategy – Learn How to Play This Blackjack Variation
The game of Blackjack is easily one of the most popular card games in the world, but it too has many different versions and variations.
Spanish 21 is a fairly unique Blackjack variation that is offered in some live casinos and basically all online casinos out there, and which comes with some very special rules.
If you are used to playing Blackjack according to the standardized rules, you may be surprised if you sit down at a Spanish 21 table for the first time, so make sure you know all the Spanish 21 rules before you start playing.
In this article, I will explain how to play Spanish 21 in detail, explain all the Spanish 21 rules and regulations, and teach you some basic Spanish Blackjack strategy you can take to the tables.
Let’s get started!
What Is Spanish 21 Blackjack?
The first question you probably have is, what is Spanish 21 and why haven’t I heard of it before considering how often I play Blackjack?
The truth is that Spanish 21 is a form of Blackjack that’s only offered in select casinos, which means you may have never had an opportunity to see Spanish 21 dealt in a real casino.
Yet, you may have come across this interesting Blackjack game in an online casino lobby and passed it by, but this may have been a mistake.
Spanish 21 Blackjack is a game very similar to classic Blackjack, with a few major twists and turns, the major of which is the absence of all Tens from the decks.
That’s right! Every card marked with the number Ten is removed from each deck put into the shoe before Spanish 21 deal begins.
There are still plenty of cards with a value of ten in Spanish 21 though, as all Jacks, Queens, and Kings are still worth exactly ten points.
At first sight, the idea of there being no Tens in the deck may seem unfavorable to Blackjack players, but you haven’t heard it all just yet.
Before you go on and judge the game, keep reading and find out all the Spanish 21 rules that actually turn the game in your favor.
Spanish 21 Rules and Regulations
It is time to go over all the Spanish 21 rules that differ from the classic game of Blackjack and explain how they favor the player or the casino.
For the purposes of this Spanish 21 rules rundown, I am going to assume you know how to play Blackjack, and if you don’t, I suggest you check out our detailed Blackjack guide.
Compared to classic Blackjack, Spanish 21 rules include the following:
- Late Surrender
- Double Down After Split
- Double Down After Hitting
- Always Win with 21 or Blackjack
- Extra Payouts for Particular Combos
The late surrender rule is the first to discuss here, as it allows the player to surrender their hand without playing it out.
Late surrender means you can only surrender once the dealer has already checked for Blackjack, but if you do surrender, you will get half your money back.
Of course, surrendering means you won’t be able to win any money in the hand, but you will also get to keep half of your bet in situations that are very unfavorable for you.
Doubling Down in Spanish 21
Next up, we have the Spanish 21 rule that allows you to double down after splitting, which can be a massive advantage and is not allowed in classic Blackjack.
Doubling down after splitting means you get to double down after splitting a hand like AA, where you have a very good chance of making two very strong hands.
What’s even more, you are allowed to re-split further, and double down on the re-splits as well, which can lead to multiple winning hands all at once.
Spanish 21 rules also allow you to double down after you have already hit, which is also not allowed at your typical Blackjack tables, where you are only allowed to double down after your first two cards are dealt.
Since you are allowed to double down after hitting, you will have hands where you start with a low score like 7 or 8, but still end up doubling down after being dealt a 4 or a 3 on the first hit.
Doubling down on 11 is a huge advantage for the player, and you will get to do this more in Spanish 21 than you could do in other forms of Blackjack.
In Spanish 21, there are no ties between the dealer and the player with a score of 21, as the player always takes the full payout if they can reach 21 or hit a Blackjack.
Finally, the following extra payouts are offered in Spanish 21 for special combinations:
- Win 3:2 for making 21 with 5 Cards
- Win 2:1 for making 21 with 6 Cards
- Win 3:1 for making 21 with 7 Cards
- Win 3:2 for making 21 with 6, 7, 8
- Win 3:2 for making 21 with 7, 7, 7
- Win 2:1 for making 21 with these combos in a suit
- Win 3:1 for making 21 with these combos in spades
- Win 50:1 for making 21 with 7, 7, 7 and Dealer has fourth 7
Some additional rules may apply depending on the casino you are playing at, including the depth of the shoe from which cards are being dealt, and whether the dealer must hit or stand when dealt a soft 17.
Irrespective of these slight differences depending on the casino, Spanish 21 comes with a number of unique rules that you will need to look out for and adjust to.
This means your entire basic strategy will shift quite a bit when playing Spanish Blackjack, so make sure to find the appropriate basic strategy cheat sheet and play in accordance with it, instead of the strategy you may have been used to thus far.
Match the Dealer in Spanish 21
Another interesting twist on the Blackjack rules in Spanish 21 is the “Match the Dealer” side bet, which you can put into play at your own leisure.
Like most side bets, this bet is not exactly a winning proposition, but it is definitely a very fun way to get even more from your Spanish 21 sessions.
If you decide to place some money on Match the Dealer bet, you will be betting that one or both of your starting cards match those of the dealer.
The payouts on this side bet are as follows:
- Both Suited Matches Pays 24:1
- Single Suited and Singe Off-Suited Match Pays 15:1
- Single Suited Match Pays 12:1
- Both Off-Suited Matches Pays 6:1
- Single Off-Suited Match Pays 3:1
While Match the Dealer does not result in a net positive for the player, it is one of the best ways to score a big win in any Blackjack game.
Getting dealt the exact same cards as the dealer will result in a payout of 24:1, and the smaller payouts are quite frequent and lucrative.
This is a great side bet to turn on when you are feeling extra lucky, and while it won’t decrease the house edge, it may very well help you turn a break even session into a significant win in just a few lucky hands.
House Edge and Odds in Spanish 21 Blackjack
Spanish 21 is still a variation of Blackjack, which means that, like in Blackjack, your RTP percentage and the house edge will depend on the way you play.
Like in all Blackjack versions, you will need to learn the optimal basic strategy in order to negate the house edge as much as possible.
In classic Blackjack, the house retains an edge of about 0.5% versus players who play optimally, while experts claim that you can reduce house edge to as low as 0.4% in Spanish 21 Blackjack.
This means that Spanish Blackjack is actually more favorable to play than your classic Blackjack game, which may sound a bit counterintuitive at first, considering the absence of Tens from the decks means you are less likely to make Blackjack.
However, the ability to double down at all times and re-split your pairs, as well as the additional payouts for certain hand combinations, all work in your favor.
At the end of the day, Spanish 21 odds and house edge are very similar to those of classic Blackjack, but the game offers slightly different payouts and gameplay.
If you are planning to play Spanish 21 either live or online, make sure to find the appropriate Spanish 21 strategy sheet beforehand, and either learn it by heart or always keep it close to you while playing.
Start Playing Spanish 21 Blackjack Today
Spanish 21 is easily one of the most interesting versions of the game of Blackjack you will find anywhere, and it offers fun twists on the basic rules that make gameplay more interactive and rewarding.
If you have grown tired of playing the same Blackjack version every day, and are looking to lower the house edge even further, learn the optimal Spanish 21 strategy today and start winning more than ever before.
What’s even more, you can now play Spanish 21 at some of the best online casinos in the world with amazing welcome bonuses and give yourself the best possible winning chances.
Find the best online casino to play Spanish 21 at right now and get involved in some exciting action of one of the most entertaining casino games out there.