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Spanish 21 Blackjack Guide: Rules, Strategies & Expert Tips

Spanish 21

Spanish 21 is a variation of the standard game Blackjack with a few differences. This article concentrates on those differences and assumes you know the basic rules of Blackjack. This can be found in this separate article if you need a refresher.

Spanish 21 vs Blackjack

The main difference between Spanish 21 and most other forms of Blackjack is that it is played with a Spanish deck of cards that has 48 cards instead of the usual 52 – the deck is the same with all 10’s removed.

As a 10 is an important card in all forms of Blackjack, you would have thought that this gives a huge advantage to the House. You would be correct if that was the only change, however, a number of other features have been added in an attempt to offset this. Spanish 21 actually has a slightly better edge for the player than many forms of Blackjack.

Spanish 21 Rules

• Late Surrender is allowed, not just after your first 2 cards have been dealt

• You are able to Double after a Split

• You can re Split Aces

• A hand with 21 always wins even if the Dealer also gets 21

• Blackjack always wins even if the Dealer also gets Blackjack

• You can Double at any time after as many cards as you wish

• You can normally Hit and Double after Splitting Aces – this can vary so is worth checking

• You can Surrender after Doubling, known as Double Down rescue. You lose your initial stake which is effectively getting back half your total outlay for the initial stake and the Double

Variation of Rules

Spanish 21 does have some variables which differ depending on where you play so be sure you check these before you start playing.

• Either 6 decks or 8 decks of cards are used

• The dealer can sometimes Hit or Stand on soft 17 – a hand that includes an Ace meaning the Dealer has 7 or 17

• Some casinos will allow you to Double a hand up to 3 times

• Some casinos will not pay the bonus amounts after you Split a hand

Spanish 21 Blackjack table

Above is an example of the layout for a Spanish 21 table. This particular version sees the Dealer stand on all 17’s, other than this you will see it is very similar to a standard Blackjack table.

Spanish 21 Odds & Payouts

Payouts and odds can be slightly different from regular Blackjack.

• A 5-card 21 pays 3 to 2, a 6-card 21 pays 2 to 1 and 7-card or higher 21 pays 3 to 1. This bonus doesn’t count if you have previously Doubled

• A hand consisting of 6-7-8 or 7-7-7 of mixed suits pays 3 to 2, if suited it pays 2 to 1. Either of these hands with all Spades pays 3 to 1. Again, this doesn’t count if you have previously Doubled

• A suited 7-7-7 when the Dealer has a 7 face up pay $1,000 if your bet is between $5 and $24 and a whopping $5,000 Super Bonus if your bet was $25 or more. If you are playing live with other players, they will each receive a $50 ‘Envy Bonus’ if this comes in.

Spanish 21 Strategy

There are several variable rules for Spanish 21, which affect some of the decisions for an optimal strategy. The below Spanish 21 basic strategy is based on casinos that use 6 decks and the Dealer stands on a soft 17, which is the most common variation of the game.

Hard Hands – No Ace

Dealers Card
Your hand2345678910A

H = Hit D = Double D2 = Double except Hit with x or more cards
SR = Surrender S = Stand S2 = Stand except Hit with x or more cards

Due to the bonus if you get 21 with 4 or more cards, in some instances it is best to Hit and go for these, in the above chart the number next to an action denotes the minimum number of cards you need in order to Hit as opposed to Stand or Double

Soft Hands – With an Ace

Dealers Card
Your hand2345678910A

H = Hit D = Double D2 = Double except Hit with x or more cards
S = Stand S2 = Stand except Hit with x or more cards

Due to the bonus if you get 21 with 4 or more cards, in some instances it is best to Hit and go for these, in the above chart the number next to an action denotes the minimum number of cards you need in order to Hit as opposed to Stand or Double.


Dealers Card
Your hand2345678910A

H = Hit D = Double
S = Stand SP = Split SP* = Split except for Suited 7’s in which case Hit

Double Down Surrender when you have 12-16 Vs 8-A, 17 Vs A

Never Split 4’s, 5’s or 10’s

Spanish 21 Tips

There are many extra things to remember in Spanish 21 compared to standard Blackjack, remember the extra bonus payouts for getting 21 with 4 or more cards and getting 7-7-7 or 7-8-9. These don’t count if you were to Double though, so in situations where you feel you have a chance to hit these, ensure you follow the table above for the optimal chance of winning.

Don’t be afraid to Surrender – It is better to admit defeat and get some of your bet back in certain circumstances than continuing and losing it all when the odds are against you. Spanish 21 gives you the chance to Surrender at any time, ensure you make the most of it to stay ahead of the game.

Play for fun first if you want to learn the game properly – This is especially important when playing Spanish 21 as there are different features and rules than in standard Blackjack. We, therefore, recommend you play with free chips until you get the hang of this version when you have a better chance of finishing up.

Always play only with money you can afford to lose – this is the same for all casino games which should be fun – if you don’t enjoy it or are gambling with money you cannot afford to lose your mindset will not help the situation giving you a bigger chance of losing.

Blackjack References:

How to Count Cards
Blackjack For Real Money

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About the author

Jennifer Lynn
With a steadfast 14-year journey at our side, Jennifer Lynn is a seasoned Online Casino Reviewer, Gambling Expert, and Daily News Writer. A journalism graduate from Arizona State University, her insightful prowess is enriched by her professional poker background. Her comprehensive mastery spans all casino games and strategies, a beacon for players and industry insiders alike. Beyond her expert role, Jennifer Lynn finds balance through equestrian pursuits and yoga, embodying a holistic approach to life and leisure.



What is Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Spanish 21 is a variation on the game of blackjack, which is owned by Masque Publishing Inc. However, unlicensed and free-to-use games might be found at varying online casinos under different names. Such as Spanish Blackjack, Spanish 21 Blackjack, 21 Spanish, etc.


Why is it Called Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Some might think that the reason for the name is because the game has its origins in Spain. While nobody knows where blackjack comes from, a lot of people do consider Spain as the country of origin. However, that is not where the game gets the name. The name of the game comes from the fact that a 48-card Spanish deck is used to play.


Is Spanish 21 Different from Blackjack?

Spanish 21 is a variation of blackjack, so there aren’t many differences. However, there is one major difference. In blackjack, when either dealer or player make it to 21, they must push. This isn’t the case in Spanish 21. As in Spanish 21, reaching a score of 21 wins the game automatically.


Are There 10s in Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Another major difference that separates Spanish 21 from blackjack, is that the 10s are stripped out of the Spanish 21 deck. Naturally, this makes it a lot harder to reach the 21, and changes quite a few of the strategic tips of the game.


What Happens when Both Player and Dealer Reach 21 in Spanish 21?

If both player and dealer reach a 21 in Spanish 21, the player’s 21 is considered the winner. At that point the dealer pays out as if the player has won the pot. If multiple players are sitting on the table, and they all reach 21, then the pot is divided among them equally.


How Many Decks Are Used in a Standard Spanish 21 Blackjack Game?

While there is no definitive answer here, there is an average. Usually, casinos will use six decks with the 10s stripped away. However, some casinos might use less decks, or even only one deck. Other casinos might use more decks. Some have been known to use eight or even ten decks.


Does the House Have Advantage in Spanish 21 Blackjack?

Of course, as with any other casino game, Spanish 21 tends to favor the house. On average, a Spanish 21 game using six decks tends to favor the house by about 3%. This is close to the odds that a standard blackjack game has in favor of the house.


Is Spanish 21 Blackjack a Game of Luck or Skill?

The best answer we can give here, is that Spanish 21 is a game of both. Like all casino games, a certain degree of luck is involved. However, this is not always the case. There are certain basic strategies that can be studied and mastered. By doing this, you will be given an advantage when playing against the house.

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