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Spanish 21 is a version of blackjack that offers more fun options and can pay a little better. It is most noted for its 48-card deck that leaves out 10s. But the possibilities it provides may play in your favor if you play it right.
So, to sum up, why is Spanish 21 better than blackjack? Perhaps one of the biggest advantages it has over its siblings is the option to re-split and re-double whenever. Therefore, the rules are more customizable to your needs. Also, the flexibility attracts many former blackjack players. This is a blackjack variation that got its name because it is played with six or eight Spanish decks – a regular 52 card deck from which the four tens cards are taken out. Beside some of the common blackjack rules, such as number of decks, double after split and resplit Aces, Spanish 21 offers some exciting bonuses with good payouts.
The game turned up in Nevada casinos in the 1990s, but its history dates back centuries when Spaniards used the smaller deck. It remained popular for years before coming to the US.
Soon after it hit tables in Las Vegas and Reno, a company called Masque Publishing Inc. copyrighted the game and its name. That is why the game appears in many online casinos under names like Spanish Blackjack, Pirate 21, or even Pontoon.
These games have slight variations to the original Spanish 21, so it is essential to find the right game at the right casino. Our lineup of safe and trustworthy casinos has good Spanish 21 versions from top software providers.
Learn the rules, and you’ll have hours of real money play at sites with quick and reliable payouts.
The thing that stands out about Spanish 21 is that the deck has no 10s. The play is equal to the standard game until you get down to the options after the initial deal. This is where the special rules make up for the disadvantage of the missing 10s.
You can split more, surrender late, and get paid for 21, even if the dealer has 21.
If you can squeeze a 21 out of five or more cards, you are paid even more. Plus, matching cards pay a special bonus, and many tables have a Super Bonus side bet that pays jackpot prices if you hit 7s.
Some of these extras can vary from table to table. But they all add up to more fun, if a slightly different strategy, than regular blackjack.
Sure, a deck without 10s may not help you. But consider the things that you get in Spanish 21 that you don’t get with standard blackjack:
If you have 21, and the dealer has 21, you win.
You can surrender after you double down and get half of your bet back.
Re-splitting Aces is allowed, and you can double down after splitting.
You can double down on any number of cards.
More cards mean more money; not only does a five-card 21 pay extra, but six cards and 21 pays 2:1, and seven or more pays 3:1.
Then there are bonuses. Look for matching-card bonuses, and be sure to look for a Super Bonus side bet that pays $1,000 for your suited 7-7-7 and a dealer 7. If you wager more than $25, those 7s pay $5,000.
These diversions from the standard game add up to a better return to player (RTP) for Spanish 21. Unique online casino.
Your odds in Spanish 21 get better with more options. It is essential to understand the variations, plus whether or not the dealer can hit on soft 17. Look for games with at least most of the variations listed above.
The best Spanish 21 games have a house edge of just 0.4%, better than standard blackjack. With games in which the dealer always hits soft 17, the house edge increases to 0.75%.
A Match the Dealer side bet does not significantly change the house edge, and the Super Bonus simply offers a jackpot chance.
|Blackjack or 21||3:2|
|6-7-8 or 7-7-7 mixed suits||3:2|
|6-7-8 or 7-7-7 same suit||2:1|
|Match the dealer one card match||4:1 six decks, 4:1 eight decks|
|Suit and rank match the dealer||9:1 six decks, 12:1 eight decks|
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|3||Red Dog Casino||BONUS225% up to $12,250||# OF GAMES 184|
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Playing Spanish 21 is much like standard blackjack as far as the deal and order of play are concerned.
Each player bets and chooses whether to add a side bet.
The dealer deals each player an up card, the dealer hole card, and then another round with the dealer’s upcard last.
If the player has blackjack or matches the dealer card, the player is paid right away.
Then the dealer gives each player the option of a hit, stand, double down, split pairs, or surrender. This is where strategy comes in.
The dealer plays to each individual until the player stands or is paid.
You use some of the same strategy rules in Spanish 21 as regular blackjack, so a standard blackjack strategy is an excellent way to start. For instance, you double down on 11 and split A-A or 8-8 on the initial deal of either variation.
But watch out when you start taking extra cards. In Spanish 21, this is where you have to consider your chances of getting a bigger payout for getting to 21 on five or more cards.
For example, if the dealer shows 6 and you have four cards that add up to just 9, you use the option to double down. It gets even better if your total is 10 or 11. There, you double down on anything except a dealer’s 9 through Ace.
On soft hands like A-2, A-3, A-4, or A-5, don’t consider doubling down. Always hit because of the chance of winning that multi-card 21. In standard blackjack, you would double down in some of those situations.
And except for 6-6, you should almost always split paired cards in Spanish 21.
Just be on the alert for multiple cards with low totals.
A useful chart like the one below comes in handy.
A lot of splitting options
Doubling down after split
The payout for five or more cards
Special bonuses for matches and 7s
Smaller deck with no 10s
It takes time to learn a strategy
There are 48 cards to a deck – no 10s
Most casinos use six or eight decks
The dealer hits on 16 and stands on 17
Blackjack or 21 always wins and pays 3:2 regardless of what the dealer has
Insurance pays 2:1
Players may surrender and get half of the bet back if the dealer does not have blackjack
Players can surrender after doubling down and get the double portion back
A five-card 21 pays 3:2, a six-card 21 pays 2:1, and a 21 with seven or more cards pays 3:1.
A 21 composed of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3:2, of the same suit pays 2:1, and of spades pays 3:1.
A 7-7-7 suited against a dealers 7 wins a “super bonus” of $1000 for bets under $25 and $5000 for bets of $25 and over
Splitting or doubling down negates the “super bonus.”
Match the Dealer side bet offers a bonus for matching the dealer’s card; matching the rank pays 4:1 on a six-deck game, and 3:1 on an eight-deck game; matching rank and suit pays 9:1 on six decks and 12:1 on eight decks.
The payouts on the dealer match play vary widely, and you should be aware of the payout for the game you are playing. Even with a house advantage of about 3%, the Match the Dealer side bet is worth a play.
Naturally, the more decks there are, the higher the payout. Here are the top payouts we’ve found:
|Two suited matches||18:1|
|One non-suited and one suited match||13:1|
|Two non-suited matches||8:1|
|One suited match||9:1|
|One non-suited match||4:1|
|Two suited matches||24:1|
|One non-suited and one suited match||15:1|
|Two non-suited matches||6:1|
|One suited match||12:1|
|One non-suited match||3:1|