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Spanish 21 - Rules, Strategy & Tips on the Game without 10s

Apart from the classic version of Blackjack online, there are also countless other interesting variants stemming from the original counterpart. And Spanish 21 with its own particular set of rules is one such variant that deserves recognition and perhaps even a play, if you see fit! Here our guide goes through its rules, basic strategy and even points out a selection of online casinos where you can play the game.

What is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a table game which was first introduced at brick and mortar casinos in 1995. Essentially, the game is heavily based on its classic counterpart, Blackjack. And whilst many of the casino game’s rules are predominantly the same, the game has several exciting rules and twists of its own just like several other variants that you can typically find online such as Blackjack Surrender, the game’s British cousin Pontoon and many more.

Generally, the casino game is played using a custom table layout which bears much similarity to that of the classic game of Blackjack. It's played with 6-8 decks of cards. However, unlike other games it excludes all suited 10 cards. However, all the Jacks, Queens and Kings remain in the shoe. Hence, overall there are 25% of the 10-count cards are missing.

  Quick Facts about Spanish 21:

 

  •   The game is played with a 6-8 decks of cards of 48 cards each; 
  •   The decks of cards used in this variant don't contain any10 point cards; 
  •   The player’s 21 always beats the dealer’s 21; 
  •   The house edge in Spanish 21 can be typically reduce by 1% and falls in the range of 0.40% - 0.76% when basic strategy is applied.

Spanish 21 vs Blackjack

Although the classic table game, Blackjack, has been around for quite a long time, the Spanish 21 variant has only been around for the last decade. However, it has picked up at casinos both online and offline for one reason – its advantageous rules for the player. In order to comprehend how Spanish 21 works, a player definitely needs to have a basic understanding of how to play Blackjack in its classic form. When playing Spanish 21, you’ll notice the procedure is primarily synonymous to playing the classic version of Blackjack. During the initial stage of the game, you must place your bets in the betting spot. The dealer will then deal out the initial hand and you’ll then have to decide your next move. The maneuvers in Spanish 21 are namely the same – Hit, Stand, Split and Double.

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Spanish 21 Rules

As we’ve already mentioned in this article, in Spanish 21 the casino’s snuck out all the 10s from the deck. And although this might seem to be a huge disadvantage for players, the different rule changes in the game compensate for their lack of presence in the deck. Below we delve into how to play Spanish 21 in order to offer you some clarification about which rules you need to be aware of! 

  Quick rules for Spanish 21: 

 

  •   A player’s 21 always beats a dealer’s 21
  •   A dealer can hit of stand on a soft 17;
  •   Some casinos allow redoubling up to 3 times;
  •   Late surrender on the first two cards is allowed;
  •   Four ten-spot cards removed from every deck used. (Normally 6 to 8 decks are used);
  •   Dealer hits on 16 stands on 17;
  •   A player’s 21 also always wins (even against a dealer blackjack);
  •   A total of 21 never pushes against a dealer’s 21; 
  •   Double after a split is allowed;
  •   Players may draw several cards after splitting Aces;
  •   Spanish 21 has 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.

Hit, Stand & Split Rule

In this particular game, the rules regarding hitting, standing and splitting are the same as the classic table game's rules. Namely, you'll only be allowed to hit, stand or split at any time after you've placed your bet and the dealer has given out the initial hand. However, we do recommend taking a look at the Spanish 21 strategy sheet before you decide which move to make. 

Late Surrender Rule

Late surrender allows you 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.

Re-splitting Rule

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.

Match the Dealer Side Bet Rule

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 which is also found in classic Blackjack online games. This bet is won by the player if either one or both of the preliminary cards match the dealers face up card. However, as with most side bets, these type of wagers should be avoided in order to increase your chances of winning.

Super Bonus Rule

Spanish 21 is perhaps the only Blackjack online variant which offers a Super Bonus. And whilst the probability of actually hitting the Super Bonus is only about 1 in 668,382 in a six deck game and 1 in 549, 188 in a game with 8 decks, the thought of just having Lady Luck on your side whilst playing and hitting the Super Bonus is truly thrilling to say the least.

Spanish 21 Strategy

For numerous Blackjack veterans out there, Spanish 21 is considered to be one of the most profitable variations of the game. And naturally, the amount you can possibly win will only be lucrative provided that you follow the right strategy! Whilst we would typically recommend using our basic Blackjack strategy sheet, we highly recommend using the Spanish 21 strategy sheet found below instead which takes all the changes in rules into account. 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. Following it will help you lower the house edge and possibly help you walk out of the casino with your head held high and your pockets a bit heavier than they were in the first place.

Spanish 21 Strategy Chart

spanish 21

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.

Spanish 21 Tips

1. Learn the Proper Moves to Make with the Spanish 21 Strategy Chart

With its multiple changes in rules, Spanish 21 is a complex game to learn and will take some time. However, if you do manage to learn the strategy that goes with its rules, you can benefit profoundly. Thus, our experts always emphasis that you try to memorize as much as possible from the strategy chart pertaining to this particular varaint rather than the one belonging to its classic counterpart.  

2. Don’t Draw For the Bonus Payouts

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.

3. Don’t surrender too Often

Players who are new to the game of Blackjack often tend to overuse the surrender option, especially if they have a history of regular blackjack play. Yet, it’s not always wise to do so. In fact, there are very few situations in which it’s profitable to do so.

4. Drawing another Card in Spanish 21 won’t always make you bust

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.

5. Avoid the Match the Dealer Side Bet

Unlike other variants out there, Spanish 21 has an entertaining side bet that’s called Match the Dealer. Basically, the way to win this particular bet is by matching either of the initial cards in the hand you’ve been dealt out with the dealer’s face up-card. The good thing about this type of bet is that there are a variety of ways to win and it also has a large payout potential ranging from 4:1 to 18:1 depending on which cards you manage to match.

The downside to this type of bet however is that the house edge is far larger than that belonging to the rest of the game. In fact, the Match the Dealer bet carries a house edge of 3.99% and 3.06% for 8-deck games and 6-deck games respectively. So ultimately, if your main goal is having the best chance of winning, we recommend skipping out on this side bet.

Spanish 21 Payouts

If you’ve played the classic variant of Blackjack online before and you’re wondering how the Spanish 21 payouts compare, we highly recommend taking a look at the table below. Whilst looking through the table, you’ll manage to find the different payouts per hand acquired.

Hand

Payout

Insurance 2:1
Blackjack  3:2
5-Card Hand 3:2
6-Card Hand 2:1
7-Card Hand or Over 3:1
6-7-8 or 7-7-7 Hand of Mixed Suits 3:2
6-7-8 or 7-7-7 Hand of the Same Suit 2:1
6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of Spades 3:1
7-7-7 of the same suit vs. Dealer's 7 Face-up Card $1,000 to $5,000 

Match the Dealer Side Bet Payout 


Hand


Payout

2 Suited Matches 18:1
1 Suited & 1 Non-Suited Match 13:1
1 Suited Match 9:1
2 Non-Suited Matches 8:1

Play Real Money Spanish 21 Online From the Comfort Of Your Own Home

The classic table game of luck and chance, Blackjack online, is already quite entertaining in itself. But add a few more twists to the game and you’ve got an even more thrilling game! Better yet, it also has rules which favor the player and a house edge which is lower than that of Blackjack. So what’s not to like? Provided that you’d like to play it from the comfort of your own home rather than having to scour many the brick-and-mortar casino, you’ll be able to find Spanish 21 online at both Microgaming Casinos and RTG Casinos. However, what you’ll notice is that the two games have different names. Microgaming’s version, that’s normally available for European players, is called Spanish 21 and RTG’s version, which is available to US players, is known as Match Play 21.

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