Have you ever been looking for a blackjack table in a casino, and stumbled upon a game called Spanish Blackjack (or Spanish 21)? At first you might think it is a fad game, or something concocted by the house to make extra money compared to regular blackjack. To contrary, however, Spanish Blackjack is actually very advantageous to the player if the basic differences between it and standard blackjack are considered.
Typical Spanish Blackjack games are dealt from a 2,4, or 6 deck shoe; or a continuous shuffle machine. All the “pip 10″, or cards with the number 10 on them, are removed. As a result, you’re playing with what is known as a “Spanish” deck of cards. As with regular blackjack, all the other cards retain their usual value. Note, the Jack, Queen, King are still present and count for 10; Aces are 1 or 11.
Spanish Blackjack has some interesting twists and rule variants that are important to remember.
- Blackjack ALWAYS pays 3:2, even if the house has a natural
- A handing totaling 21 will always win for the player, and will not tie, or push, against the house
- Players may split up to 4 times
- Sometimes, players may double and “redouble” repeatedly, given a favorable hand. In other words, a hand valued at 8 facing a dealer 6 could warrant a double down; then, if the player gets a 3, making the hand 11, the player could double yet again or pass
- There are bonuses paid for achieving a 5, 6, or 7 card count of 21, although this is a relatively rare occurrence
- There are bonuses paid for 7-7-7 off suit, or 7-7-7 of spades. In this case, the 7-7-7 of Spades pays higher than a 7-7-7 composed of any suits
- The dealer may hit a soft 17 in some casinos, while at others the dealer will stand. Ask the dealer, or consult your online casino’s help section to see what applies for your venue
- Doubling down after splitting is permitted
- Players that split aces are permitted, at most casinos, to take more than 1 card after the split. This is a good advantage for a player, who, for example draws a 2 to his/her first Ace. In Spanish Blackjack, additional cards may be drawn to improve this hand
- The House edge for a Spanish blackjack game standing on all 17’s is greater than a game where the house hits a soft 17. Forcing the dealer to draw on a soft 17 increases the likelihood of busting
As you can see, a closer look at Spanish Blackjack shows that, overall, the game is SLIGHTLY more favorable to the player than the house. So, you might be hard pressed to find an open Spanish blackjack table at most casinos, especially if the casino’s customers are good blackjack players. In other casinos, you may find that people shy away from the game because of the various differences between it and regular blackjack. This is because most people learn regular blackjack first, and are more comfortable with the game.
To learn more about Spanish Blackjack, including exact house edge values, see this informative WikiPedia article: WikiPedia - Spanish 21 Additionally, there is a comparison between standing on a soft 17 versus hitting a soft 17, and how this can benefit the player.
If you’re looking for a fun twist on blackjack, or are an experienced blackjack player looking for a game variant with a little less house edge, try out Spanish Blackjack, or Spanish 21 today. Most online casinos offer the game, though it may be known under different names. Always consult your casino’s support section about its games before wagering.