In Spanish 21, the casino snuck out all the tens from the decks.
Now, if you know how to count cards in blackjack, you'll know this is not a good thing. However, it's not all the ten-value cards that have been removed; it's only the ten spot cards.To compensate for this, the players get a number of advantageous rule changes in comparison to regular blackjack.
For starters, you are allowed to surrender your hand late, which means that you can give up your hand at any time for the loss of half your wager. This is great news for the player; just as in Blackjack Surrender, this rule is highly advantageous for the players. If you calculate your odds of beating the dealer's hole card, you can minimize your losses by forfeiting the hand and still getting half your bet back.
Another great benefit of playing with Spanish 21 rules is that you are allowed to split aces and also re-split and double /re-double after splitting any pair. The late surrender rule still applies after splits and doublings; you might have a lot of money invested in one hand but if it goes straight to hell, it might be a good idea to get half your wager back.
Below you see the major rule changes that distinguish Spanish 21 from regular blackjack:
- Four ten-spot cards removed from every deck used. (Normally 6 to 8 decks are used).
- Dealer hits on 16 stands on 17
- Player Blackjack always win, a player 21 also always wins (even against a dealer blackjack)
- Double after a split is allowed
- Players may draw several cards after splitting Aces
- Bonus payouts for hands like 6-7-8, and 5-card 21's, sometimes called "Perfect Charlie" (2-3-4-5-7) and also for busted Perfect Charlies.
Besides the rule variations mentioned above, Spanish 21 usually has some bonus games and additional side bets attached to the regular game play. Perhaps the most recognized is the Match the Dealer side bet. This bet is won by the player if either one or both of the preliminary cards match the dealers face up card. As with most side bets, these type of wagers should be avoided in order to increase your chances of winning.
Spanish 21 Strategy Chart
If you study the chart and compare it with regular blackjack strategy you will notice a few differences, mainly due to the tens being discarded from the deck.
We strongly advise you to not draw for the bonus payouts, and you should never place any additional side bets if you have to pay extra to be eligible for them.
Notable also is that even though you have the option to surrender your hand, there are not many situations in which it is profitable to do so.
The under-representation of 10-value cards lowers the risk of busting a lot of hands; therefore it's often more profitable to draw another card in Spanish 21.
Players new to the game tend to overuse the surrender option, especially if they have a history of regular blackjack play.
But if you follow the basic strategy as shown on the card above, this is a very enjoyable game.